Digital identity is the online identity or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device. It is formed both by the user’s data present in the 2.0 world and by their actions (opinions, photos, navigation, etc.), but also by the publications that others have made about him. These users can also project more than one digital identity across multiple communities. In terms of digital identity management, the key areas of interest are security and privacy.
Digital identity is the internet equivalent of the true identity of a person or entity (such as a business agency or government) when used for identification in connections or transactions of computers, mobile phones, or other personal devices. It brings together both offline information data of the user, such as their name, physical address, etc., as well as the image they project with their online activity.
Digital identity has taken on special relevance in recent years in the search for employment, for example. Therefore, it is necessary to be very careful with what is published on social networks and the opinions that are thrown into cyberspace without contemplating the possible consequences.
Digital identity vs. real identity
Identity 2.0 does not necessarily have to correspond to the real identity of an individual or corporation, but it does affect its reputation and the image that other users build on it.
Trusting the link between a real identity and a digital identity requires first of all that someone validates it or, in other words, proves that a user is who they say they are. Once established, the use of a digital identity involves some form of authentication, a way to prove that you are a person really when using digital connections such as the internet.
Characteristics of digital identity
Like its human counterpart, a digital identity is composed of data characteristics or attributes, such as:
- Username and password.
- Online search activities, such as electronic transactions.
- Date of birth.
- Medical history.
- Purchase history.
The digital identity is linked to one or more digital identifiers, which are usually the email address, a URL or the domain name, along with the password chosen by the user.
Secure identification systems are evolving to fight against cyberfraud and it is already common for mobile terminals to have unlocking by fingerprint or facial image.
In Spain, a new payment services regulation known as PSD2 (Payment Service Directive)came into force on September 14, 2019, which requires two-step authentication to access digital banking. In this way, now in addition to the password it is necessary to have the mobile at hand to enter a specific key or use biometric security measures.
Because identity theft is growing on the web, digital authentication and identity validation measures are critical to ensuring web security and network infrastructure in the public and private sectors.
Loopholes about digital identity are often used by people who seek to discredit a character or brand with malicious information posted on social media. That is the task of the so-called Internet trolls. These are difficult users to identify because they usually use one or more fake profiles to try to create a reputation crisis for a company or sometimes only in order to make a company uncomfortable.
Trolls are not only dedicated to boycotting others from anonymity, but sometimes impersonate the digital identity of a user to give greater credibility to their publications.
Keys to take care of our identity 2.0
Today the image projected by an entity or an individual on the internet is almost more important than their real identity. Therefore, there are a number of recommendations of the digital strategy to follow to take care of the reputation, especially when it comes to an organism or a famous person.
- First of all, it is very important to observe the basic security and data protection measures on the internet. The goal will be to block access to personal data, but also to prevent identity theft.
- Limit the information offered on social networks in order to, as we have mentioned, our opinions may not be an obstacle at the time of accessing a job or making any type of request.
- Use netiquette rules when reviewing or participating in any type of debate on the Web. This point is closely related to the previous one: a recruiter can detect with a few simple steps if a person does not have the ability to address others properly.
- Periodically monitor what is said about oneself in order to face and tackle reputation crises. This is mainly aimed at brands and public figures. The logical thing is that they have professionals who do this work and help them prevent and combat unpleasant situations caused by poor communication to the public.
- Do not use public networks or unprotected wi-fi networks. If necessary, avoid entering compromised pages, such as online banking or our email.
- Always use strong passwords and change them regularly. The ideal, according to experts, is to vary them every three or four months.
- Search for our name on social media to see if someone misuses it to make malicious posts or connect with our contacts for advertising purposes.
Many Internet users are not aware that Google stores all their actions through the search engine (including queries on maps or reproductions of videos on Youtube) in a section called My activity.
Although this information is not public and requires the user to register to access it, it should be reviewed periodically and check that it has the appropriate privacy principles to avoid scares.