Identity Finder Unearths Secrets Hidden in PCs, Macs

I got interesting results on the other two Windows-based systems. On the Acer, Identity Finder found Firefox passwords and not much else. However, on the eMachines desktop, which is my primary home machine, Identity Finder discovered eight instances of credit card numbers (much to my consternation), 23 instances of Social Security numbers, all belonging to me or my spouse, 105 unencrypted passwords stored by Firefox, and eight bank account numbers, all of which were false positives.

Identity Finder -- Mac Edition

The Mac Edition has the same basic look and feel as the Windows editions but lacks many of its older, more established sibling's features. Feinman says the company has spent more time developing its Windows version because of its focus on business users. "The Mac version trails the Windows version by about a year," he says.

So, what's different? While the Mac Edition supports searches for the same identity data types, the AnyFind option is available for fewer of them. There's no summary window to tally the total number of items discovered in each category, and results can't be filtered. More important, searches don't include any e-mail or browser data, you can't redact sensitive data from discovered files, and it can only search the local disk -- no external or networked disk drives.

The current Mac 2.1 client also isn't a full partner in the Enterprise edition: It can report search results to the central console, but you can't remotely schedule or start searches like you can with Windows clients.

That will change with Mac Edition 3.0, which the company says will ship later this month. The new edition adds the missing summary status window and allows the Enterprise edition console to set policies and schedule tasks on Mac clients. Identity Finder hopes to have a new version that supports searches of Apple Mail and the upcoming Outlook client for the Mac later this year.

I tested both Version 2.1 and a beta version of 3.0 on a MacBook Pro. On its first run, Version 2.1 crashed about one minute into the search. I relaunched the program and ran several more searches without any problems. The beta of Version 3.0 installed and ran without any significant issues.

When applied against the same data set I used to test the Windows version, Identity Finder Mac Edition returned the same results, with one rather large exception: It missed some 50 unencrypted passwords stored by the Firefox browser. (You can close this security hole yourself by going to the Security tab in the Preferences dialog and unchecking the option enabling Firefox to remember passwords, or by checking the "Use a master password" box, thus encrypting your passwords.)

Product mentioned in this article

(1 items)

  • Identity Finder

    This data-shredding software is effective at finding and protecting personal information on a PC, but it's expensive.

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