Protecting Personally Identifiable Information

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Organizations have an obligation to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and often identify procedures for handling and retaining PII in data policies. If you’re planning to take the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of data policies and how they can help protect data and prevent data leakage.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. You need to transmit PII via email and you want to maintain its confidentiality. Of the following choices, what is the BEST solution?

A. Use hashes.

B. Encrypt it before sending.

C. Protect it with a digital signature.

D. Use RAID.

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SYO-501 Practice Test Questions Now Available

SYO-401 Practice Test Questions

Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

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Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

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Personally Identifiable Information

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is personal information that can be used to personally identify an individual. Some examples of PII are:

  • Full name
  • Birthday and birth place
  • Medical and health information
  • Street or email address information
  • Personal characteristics, such as biometric data
  • Any type of identification number, such as a Social Security number (SSN) or driver’s license number

In general, you need two or more pieces of information to make it PII. For example, “John Smith” is not PII by itself because it can’t be traced back to a specific person. However, when you connect the name with a birth date, an address, medical information, or other data, it is PII.

Protecting Personally Identifiable Information

When attackers gain PII, they often use it for financial gain at the expense of the individual. For example, attackers steal identities, access credit cards, and empty bank accounts. Whenever possible, organizations should minimize the use, collection, and retention of PII. If it’s not kept, it can’t be compromised. On the other hand, if a company collects PII and attackers compromise the data, the company is liable.

The number of security breach incidents resulting in the loss of PII continues to rise. For example, a Veterans Affairs (VA) employee copied a database onto his laptop that contained PII on over 26 million U.S. veterans. He took the laptop home and a burglar stole it. The VA then went through the painful and expensive process of notifying all of the people who were vulnerable to identity theft, and the affected individuals spent countless hours scouring their records for identity theft incidents. Even though police later recovered the laptop, the VA paid $20 million to settle a lawsuit in the case.

Chapter 5 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide mentioned several other instances, such as the attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network that compromised more than 77 million customer records, resulting in direct expense of over $171 million.

Each of these instances resulted in potential identity theft and the loss of goodwill and public trust of the company. Both customers and employees were negatively impacted, and the companies were forced to spend time and energy discussing the incident, and spend money trying to repair their reputations.

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Protecting PII

Organizations have an obligation to protect PII. There are many laws that mandate the protection of PII, including international laws, federal laws, and local regulations. Organizations often develop policies to identify how they handle, retain, and distribute PII, and these policies help ensure they are complying with relevant regulations. When a company doesn’t use a specific PII policy, it usually identifies methods used to protect PII in related data policies.

Many laws require a company to report data losses due to security breaches. If an attack results in the loss of customer PII data, the company is required to report it and notify affected individuals. As an example, Arizona enacted a security breach notification law that requires any company doing business in Arizona to notify customers of security breaches. Most states in the United States have similar laws, and similar international laws exist.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide

The 401 Version of the Study Guide

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

CompTIA Authorized Quality Content (CAQC)After a comprehensive review by ProCert Labs, the SY0-401 version has been certified as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) and covers every aspect of the SY0-401 exam.

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Each of the eleven chapters presents topics in an easy to understand manner and includes real-world examples of security principles in action.

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Over 400 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 100 question pre-test
  • A 100 question post-test
  • Practice test questions at the end of every chapter.

Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-401 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

Kindle edition also available.

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One of the common reasons data seems to fall into the wrong hands is that employees don’t understand the risks involved. They may not realize the value of the data on a laptop, or they may casually copy PII data onto a USB flash drive. As mentioned previously, data classification and labeling procedures help employees recognize the data’s value, and help protect sensitive data.

Training is also important. One of the goals of security professionals is to reinforce the risks of not protecting PII. When employees understand the risks, they are less likely to risk customer and employee data to identity theft.

Additionally, if employees need to transmit PII over a network, they can ensure it’s protected by using encryption. As mentioned previously in this book, encrypting data in transit provides strong protection against loss of confidentiality.

Remember this

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) includes information such as a full name, birth date, biometric data, and identifying numbers such as a SSN. Organizations have an obligation to protect PII and often identify procedures for handling and retaining PII in data policies.


Full Security+ Course

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Helping you Pass the First Time

Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Operational Security (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

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 Full Security+ Course Now Available


Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 273 Security+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • 280 Security+ acronyms flashcards to help you master the required acronyms
  • 204 Security+ Remember This slides

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over three hours hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. Over one hour and 15 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

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Q. You need to transmit PII via email and you want to maintain its confidentiality. Of the following choices, what is the BEST solution?

A. Use hashes.

B. Encrypt it before sending.

C. Protect it with a digital signature.

D. Use RAID.

Answer is B. You can maintain confidentiality of any data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) with encryption.

Hashes provide integrity, not confidentiality.

A digital signature provides authentication, non-repudiation, and integrity.

A redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) provides higher availability for a disk subsystem.

See Chapter 11 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on security policies.

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