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SSN Scanning Tools


Social Security Scanning ToolsAs part of the SSN Remediation activity occurring across the Purdue system, the following tools are provided for users of Purdue resources to use as part of their toolkit when working to ensure that SSNs are properly handled in their area.

Use of any of these tools does not guarantee that SSNs are not on the machine in a format or file that the tool cannot read or cannot access. Use of these tools do not offer an exception to the existing data handling guidelines concerning SSNs.

Please note that neither the organizations that provide these tools, nor ITaP provide support for the tools listed here. Use is at your own risk, and potential users should read the documentation provided with each tool carefully and completely before use.

Purdue tools

Windows SSNSearch


  1. Create a folder at a shared location, make this location world readable but not writeable.
  2. Create a subfolder called Lockbox. Make this world writeable, but only readable by domain admins.
  3. Place the grep program file, dlls and the batch files in the SSSearch folder.
  4. Tell your users which batch file to run. The FindAllSSNs.bat works very well on most machine types.
  5. Read the output files in the Lockbox directory and work with your users to remove those files.

The bat will scan C: and D: if present. Adjust to your needs. There are certain Unicode file types that cannot be searched. These files return an error to the log file. The files which are binary, but in which the data itself is not stored in Unicode, like .XLS and .DOC files, will still scan, and the log file will record that there are matches, but will not list the matches. For text files, the individual matches will be listed in the log file. You may have to adjust the exclusion file based on the applications and filetypes you have on your machines. Note that if you add an exclusion, do so both in lowercase and upper case as the grep utility is case sensitive.

DCS batch scanning tool

Department of Biological Sciences scanning tool

Other tools

Cornell University provides Spider for both Windows and Linux, as well as a beta for Mac OS X.