MC256841 – Updates to U.S. Social Security Number sensitive information type definition for improved accuracy

Information Protection

check before: 2021-05-31


Information Protection - Office 365


World tenant, Online


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To improve the accuracy of the "U.S. Social Security Number" (SSN) sensitive information type, we are making the following changes to its definition: 1. Three discreet confidence levels (High, Medium, and Low) depending on the level of accuracy. The three levels indicate the likelihood of a true positive considering the following: When the SSN was issued. SSNs issued pre-2011 had relatively strong definition due to additional checks. Whether the SSN are formatted (ddd dd dddd or ddd-dd-dddd) or unformatted (ddddddddd). Whether a keyword is found in proximity to the SSN. 2. An additional pattern which does not require mandatory keywords in proximity to reduce false negatives. The current definition requires keywords like "SSN" or "Social Security Number" in proximity to the actual number, which can sometimes lead to valid numbers not being detected (i.e. in an Excel spreadsheet where the supporting keyword is present only in the header row). 3. Added intelligence to detect high volume SSNs in tabular data, like an Excel spreadsheet where keyword is present only in the header of the table. Use "High confidence" or "Medium confidence" in your policy for this. Please note that this requires at least one instance to be detected with a keyword in proximity. See details of current definition vs. new definition below.

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