Every person in this world have a unique identity. Identity in a perspective that unique features or characteristics used to identify an individual. In a normal physical world, the details may be physical too such as the identity card issued by some local authority. The century we are currently living in is known as cyber focused. Each and everything tends to be digital in modern era, so our identities too.
What is Digital Identity?
Everyone connected to internet have a digital identity. As we all know that internet is a global network of interconnected devices. Each device in this network must be identified by some unique identity and that is known as the IP address of the device. IP addresses in internet can be tracked to devices. That is one form of digital identity. As we are aware of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. These services are actively being used by millions of users worldwide. While we connect through these services we have to provide some personal information that is stored in the service providers database. They require the information to identify the unique user account.
Most of the giants in internet explain in their privacy policies that the information collected will not be used to identify an individual. But the hackers and cyber crooks have no privacy policies as they are spying and devising sophisticated ways to steal this information. You may wonder that what kind of information the internet oriented service have about you? the answer to the question is simple as they know pretty much everything about an individual. Web analytics can track a user behavior such as liking or disliking of a particular person by analyzing their search history or by simply looking at social media profiles.
What is Digital Identity Theft?
As we have explained that we are putting more and more personal information on internet our unique personality can be completely described using that information. Hackers and cyber criminals can go to any extent to obtain such information. For example, if your credit card details are hacked in a data breach you will be vulnerable to identity theft. The hacker can obtain related information from open internet such as social media accounts. They will be able to know your date of birth, physical address, and political taste. Hackers and cyber criminals can do a great damage now provided that they have collected all that information about you. The criminal may call your bank and impersonate you. There is no need to explain the damage that can cause to you.
That was one picture of identity theft. Identity theft may occur in many ways but digital identity theft us is one in which fraudsters steal personally identifiable information to commit crimes. There are many ways the cyber criminals can steal your digital identity. Here are few examples;
- Phishing is one of the most popular tactics used by cyber crooks to steal digital identities. A spoofed website may trick users to provide authentication information that will then be used to impersonate the original person. You can read more about phishing in our recent article at TheOpenSecurity
- Browser hijacking is another tool used by the criminals. Web browsers store critical information about user sessions such as cookies and passwords. These details can be stolen by hijacking web browsers.
- Weak passwords can be cracked easily and criminals can gain access to the real accounts. If you are using same password for multiple websites, a breach of single service will cause you great damage as you will be locked out of your accounts.
- Infostealers are malicious programs used by criminals to capture keystrokes or login credentials. Once, an attacker successfully gathered the misinformation it can be used in any way.
How to protect your Digital Identity?
As we have established the importance of digital identity and the damage caused by the theft of digital identity, we will provide you with the tips to secure your digital identities.
- Use unique and strong passwords. It is difficult to remember multiple passwords. We recommend using a password manager to securely store your passwords and access them on the go. If you are not sure which password manager to choose you can find the best password manager here.
- Always clear your browser cookies and use two factor authentication for logins where available.
- Avoid shady websites.
- The best way to protect digital identity is to get specialized digital identity protection service. However, it may not be financially viable for many users to pay separately for security software and for identity protection. The good news for you is that McAfee total security provides you with digital identity protection along with leading antivirus and firewall protection. They will monitor dark web for any signs of the breach and will guide you if your information has been compromised. You can find a good deal for McAfee here.