Just as in the physical world, in the digital realm, each person (or user) must be identified differently from another. That’s why today we want to talk about digital identity.
This article will discuss the data we leave behind with our online presence, what online identity means, and how we can protect it. Are you ready to discover who we are on the web? Let’s get started!
What is online identity? Here are some examples
Digital identity (also known as identity 2.0) is the online identification of a person through different digital platforms and media.
In other words, it is the collection of information and data that has been published about us all over the internet: it can include information such as names, photographs, email addresses, and profiles on social networks, among others.
In reality, the concept of digital identity is not recent: it is widely defined, and there is no standard definition. In the 1960s, the first online information systems began to be developed, and that’s when the first identification and authentication systems were used to access databases and online services.
In the subsequent decade, with the emergence of ARPANET, the precursor to the internet, standard protocols began to be developed for this type of authentication.
Then, with the rise of the internet, digital identity became increasingly important to enable secure access to online resources and services.
Today, it has become a fundamental part of our daily lives because it allows us to access various online services and resources, from banking to social networks and e-commerce.
Some examples of digital identity include:
- A Facebook or Instagram profile that contains personal information and photos of a person.
- An email account that is used for communication and receiving information.
- An account on an e-commerce platform, such as Amazon or Etsy contains shipping address information and payment methods for a person.
- Banking transactions in your bank’s app.
- Biometric data that we use to access any platform.
- An electronic signature is used to verify a document’s authenticity or online transaction.
Main Characteristics of Digital Identity
The main characteristics of digital identity are as follows:
- It is virtual: Digital identity does not exist in the physical world but is found on digital platforms and online media.
- It is persistent: Digital identity information is stored in a database and can be accessed anytime.
- It is controllable: Individuals typically have control over their personal information and can edit or delete data found on the internet. Consistent protection is crucial, and we will discuss this in the following paragraphs.
- It is easily accessible: Digital identity information can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
- It is interconnected: Digital identity is linked to various online services and platforms that may also have connections between them.
- It is dynamic: This information can change and be updated over time.
- It can be shared: Information can be consciously or, unfortunately, involuntarily shared with other users.
- It can have legal and bureaucratic purposes: It can be used for authentication and authorization, accessing services or content, or conducting transactions.
Difference Between Digital Identity and Online Reputation
Unfortunately, there is much confusion on this matter: talking about digital identity differs from talking about online reputation. These are two terms that refer to quite different concepts.
As we have already explained, digital identity is the online version of a person’s physical identity. It encompasses a vast amount of data that goes far beyond our names, surnames, and email addresses.
On the other hand, online reputation refers to the image or perception that exists of a person or company on the internet: we are not only talking about the information that the person or company shares online but also the opinions, comments, and reviews of other users all over the internet.
In summary, digital identity encompasses all types of personal information about a person found on the internet, while online reputation relates to the image or perception of that person online. Both are important, although they serve different purposes.
How Can We Protect Our Digital Identity?
There are several measures we can take to protect our digital identity:
- Use strong and unique passwords for each online account. In 2023, according to a NordPass study, the top 10 passwords used in Spain were straightforward to detect (“password,” “123456,” “123456789,” “guest,” “qwerty” are the top 5 examples). This is exactly what we need to avoid.
- Use two-factor authentication (2FA) to add a layer of security to our accounts.
- Keep our security software up to date, including our operating system and antivirus programs.
- Be cautious when clicking on unknown or suspicious links in emails or text messages. Beware of spoofing and phishing!
- Do not share personal or financial information online unless necessary.
- Configure the privacy settings of our social media accounts and ensure that access to information is limited to trusted individuals.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to the internet in public places.
- Do not store personal information on devices that are not our property.
- Ensure that our devices are encrypted and we have a data backup.
How do you verify the digital identity of your customers through biometrics?
Identity verification through biometrics refers to using an individual’s unique physical or behavioral characteristics to confirm their identity: this is what we work on at Silt.
Some examples of standard biometric identity verification methods include:
- Fingerprint recognition: scanning an individual’s fingerprint to confirm their identity.
- Facial recognition: using a camera to capture an image of an individual’s face and comparing it to a previously stored image in an identity verification system.
- Iris recognition: scanning an individual’s iris to confirm their identity.
- Voice recognition: recording an individual’s voice to confirm their identity.
- Fingerprint recognition: scanning an individual’s fingerprints to confirm their identity.
- Signature verification: using an individual’s signature to confirm their identity.
Do you have questions on this topic or want to protect the digital identities of your employees? Contact us!