Have you ever thought about your digital identity? Or do you even know you have a digital identity? This article will explain the importance of digital identities and protect them from entities looking to misuse them.
Everything you do contributes to your digital identity. For instance, Google continuously investigates your online activities to improve ad personalization. However, other factors like public records also shape your identity.
What is a Digital Identity?
Digital identity is a compilation of data points that collectively build your digital persona. This information can be anything, from financial records to health records and personal details. In other words, it can be anything available to users online. Of course, specific digital profiles about netizens are more secretive. For instance, you might not know what assumptions about your identity Google or Facebook have made.
How is Digital Identity Built?
There are three ways in which your digital identity is created, and these are:
- Direct Interactions. The first way is when you directly provide information about yourself to a website or an organization. For instance, when you create a profile on Facebook or any other social media platform, you provide your personal information.
- Indirect Interactions. The second way is when you indirectly provide information about yourself. It happens when you visit a website, and that website drops a cookie on your device. A cookie is basically a small file in text format that stores information about your visit to that website. So, the next time you visit the same website, the cookies will send all the data stored in it to the website. Thus, this way, the website knows more about you than what you have shared with them.
- Third-party Collection. The third and final way is when your data is collected by companies who then sell it to other companies for marketing purposes. For example, suppose you have ever given your contact details to any company to enter a contest or receive a discount. In that case, that company can sell your contact details to other companies to earn money.
What Makes Your Digital Identity Vulnerable?
A person’s digital identity is vulnerable not because of how it is created and formed but how we use technology to share our data. These factors can play an essential role in making your identity vulnerable:
- Using Same Passwords. When you use the same password for multiple accounts, it becomes easier for attackers to hack into all your accounts. Suppose your email account gets hacked, it will be easy for the hacker to gain access to services linked to it.
- Opening Unsecured Websites. It is not safe to open a website from an unknown source, especially if you are visiting the website for the first time. Hackers can track your online activity and use it against you. Especially the websites without SSL certificates are dangerous in this regard.
- Using Public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not safe to use. When you connect to public Wi-Fi, it becomes easier for hackers to snoop on your internet traffic. Most of the hackers target public Wi-Fi to steal users’ data.
- Sharing Sensitive Information with Strangers. It is one of the dangerous activities that most of us do unknowingly. We must avoid sharing information at all costs because you never know who is genuine and fake on the internet.
How Can You Secure Your Digital Identity?
There are some ways that can secure your digital identity. The most important thing is to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself.
You must use strong passwords for all your accounts. A strong password must have a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, do not use the same password more than once. Each account should have a unique combination. If not, a single leaked password could open doors to multiple accounts.
Two-factor authentication adds a strong layer of safety to your account. When you enable two-factor authentication, you will be asked to provide a one-time code every time you log in to your account. This unique code is usually sent to your mobile phone. It can also be delivered via a special 2FA application. For security reasons, we recommend using apps instead of receiving SMS messages (they are vulnerable to spoofing).
Use Encrypted Connection
You can use a free Virtual Private Network to encrypt your connection every time you go online.This change protects your identity from being compromised by unsafe websites and networks. After all, once the information you submit online gets scrambled, it is nearly impossible to decrypt it. Thus, no one can find out what exactly you do online, not even your Internet Service Provider. Furthermore, a VPN hides your IP address, meaning that web entities will no longer be able to track your location.
Now that you know what your digital identity means and how it can make you vulnerable in the online world, you must do your best to ensure that your digital identity is secure. The above-mentioned precautionary steps can help you in doing that effectively.