Reducing Identity Theft: Mask and Redact

You just noticed a hefty charge to your credit card from someone having a shopping spree on the other side of the country. How on earth did they get your information? I mean, you took a black box and masked off all your credit card information on that PDF that was requested by your employer. Even if they hacked your email, they still wouldn’t be able to see it, or so you thought.

Think again.

Data masking and data redaction are the only way to be sure that your sensitive information cannot be recovered by an expert identity thief. Both practices make your data secure, each with a slightly different goal in mind.

Data masking is the art of removing all your sensitive data, but still maintaining its original structure and format so your information remains useful for processes like testing or training. Redaction completely removes your sensitive data with tools like encryption, pixel by pixel deletion and black out zones. Once this data is redacted, it cannot be reversed. Both make sense in different situations.

Worried about that reservation you booked over the phone?

Most likely, your credit card number was masked, making it impossible for the operator to steal your information. Instead of seeing your whole number, they may only see the last four digits in something like this, XXXX XXXX XXXX 1234. Data masking is most useful for production testing environments. The data goes through many changes so no one can make a comparison back to the original data from the production environment. The process happens in such a way that ensures identity and sensitive information will be protected.

Data redaction removes personally identifiable information (PII). Data redaction is performed on sensitive information in documents such as social security numbers, email addresses, member IDs and any other data that would allow you to locate or identify someone. It not only removes the text from the document, it removes any underlying metadata associated with that text. Redaction of data offers compliance with many industry standards and regulations such as HIPAA. 

Next time you go to send that PDF to your employer that you drew a black box over, don’t. Make sure you mask or redact your data first. It’s the only sure way to prevent data privacy breaches and stop someone from stealing your credit card information and spending hundreds of dollars at a Walmart out in Plano.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW EXTRACT SYSTEMS CAN HELP YOU WITH DATA REDACTION AND DATA MASKING, WITH 99% ACCURACY AND ZERO DATA PRIVACY, VISIT US AT:  http://www.extractsystems.com/automated-data-redaction-software/

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KARI SIEGENTHALER

Kari Siegenthaler is a Marketing Specialist for the Marketing Department at Extract. Kari attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications and convergent media at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Wearing the “hat of all trades,” she has an unusual, hybrid ability to write narratives, creatively craft meaningful messages, and design graphically compelling images. Kari is passionate about effective communication and developing strategy plans that allow Extract to succeed and excel way beyond their goals.