Rediscovering Identity Finder

The little-known security utility sniffs out data crumbs of your bank accounts, passwords, and mother's maiden name strewn throughout your system.

Identity Finder

Ask yourself this: Should a hacker leap over your firewall and duck your antivirus to successfully deliver a rootkit and poke around your system, what would the thieving perp find?

Unless you've painstakingly encrypted every instance of your driver's license, bank account, and mother's maiden name there's a good chance your privacy jig could be up were someone to apply the right kind of malicious script. Identity Finder seeks out, and shreds or encrypts personal data sprinkled throughout your computer files, Web tracks, e-mail, and registry. Ahem. That is, if you're a registered, paying customer.

If you're not, Identity Finder will constantly point to your deficiency with nag screens galore and crossed-out circles where interface functions should be ("Demo users--No outlet!"). Until you pony up the cash, Identity Finder won't let you undo your data show-and-tell, or even supply the location of those files which are overly inviting. However, even if scanning with the trial version is all you do, you'll get an idea of how often you hang on to sensitive data that's best hidden or removed.

Identity Finder Wizard
Identity Finder sniffs out credit card, bank account, and social security numbers for cards issued in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.

Be careful, though. As earlier CNET reviews of Identity Finder noted, the application isn't password protected, so anyone in the know can easily produce a list of your log-ons. Apart from that defect, the program is well worth a try, particularly for prospective buyers.

This is now a sweeter proposition for residents of Queen Elizabeth lands--Identity Finder recently added support for data types specific to the UK, Australia, and Canada.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.