Thomas Jefferson University

Main menu:

Locate SSN or Credit Card Numbers

The following scanning tools are available for university community members to use to help locate possible files containing SSN and/or credit card numbers.

The Office of the CIO suggests using Find_SSN Find_SSN is an open source tool developed by Virginia Tech. It will do a file search for data that matches the known patterns of Social Security numbers. Find_SSN searches designated locations (e.g. My Documents or a specific folder) and returns the results of files it believes have SSNs

Macintosh & Unix Discovery Tools

University members who use Macintosh or Linux based computers are encouraged to use the version of Cornell's Spider designed for those two operating systems. Details on obtaining those software versions can be found here (OS X version) or here (Linux version).

Spider is not the most user friendly tool so once again it is recommended you read the documentation and support forums before installing or running it on university owned computers.

Using and Installing Virginia Tech's Find_SSN

Use of this tool...

  • Is at your own risk. Potential users are highly encouraged to carefully read the following documentation. Note, your department may have internal procedures and policies regarding the use of scanning tools.
  • Does not guarantee that SSN or credit card numbers are not on the machine in a format or file that the tool cannot read or cannot access.
  • Does not offer an exception to the existing data handling guidelines concerning SSN or credit card numbers.

Print the Complete Find_SSN Directions:

Using and Installing Virginia Tech's Find SSN

Scanning Tools for DNAs:


Department Network Administrators may want to evaluate the use of Senf. Senf is a fast, portable tool (written in Java, runnable just about everywhere) for finding sensitive numbers. Use this tool to identify files on your system that may have Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Credit Card Numbers (CCNs). You can download Senf from its homepage here.


Department Network Administrators may want to evaluate use of Spider. Spider is an open source tool created by Cornell University and freely released to the public that will scour data repositories, like hard drives and removable media, to detect the presence of certain combinations of text or numbers. The program is configured to look specifically for Social Security Numbers and Credit Card Numbers that might be contained inside files stored on a computer. Using and Installing Cornell University's Spider

Print the Complete Spider Directions: