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RE: Risk of using SS#s (last 4 digits) for authentication
From: "David Greenstein" <dgreenst () tir com>
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 14:45:21 -0800

How legal is the use of the SSN for authentication. My understanding
is that the SSN is to be used by state and federal government only
Please, any legal expert, help us to understand the issue
Thank you

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Lawton [mailto:jblii () hotmail com]
Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 8:00 AM
To: security-basics () security-focus com
Subject: Risk of using SS#s (last 4 digits) for authentication

We are currently considerring the limited use of employee's Social Security
numbers to authenticate them when they request a password reset from the
Help Desk.  We have chosen two items (in total) for authenticating them:
their employee # and the last 4 digits of their SS#.  Only the last 4 digits
would be stored in the Help Desk app, and these would be viewable only by
Help Desk technicians.  They would only be able to see them by selecting a
specific toolbar button (the SS# screen would not visible at all times).

We are concerned with the privacy issue potential if we use any part of a
SS# but are unaware of any legal precedent, standard or guideline either
supporting or against this use.  Does anyone have knowledge they can share,
or know of web resources that might be useful to research this issue?

We are a corporation of roughly 1200 specializig in healthcare, and HIPAA
privacy/security regs, NCQA and URAC acredidations must be taken into

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or information.


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