Understanding digital identity and good practices to secure it!

3 min read

Understanding digital identity and good practices to secure it!

A digital identity is an information about an individual, organization, or electronic device that exists online. Digital identity is well and truly established as one of the most significant technology trends of the digital era on the planet.

Unlike a paper based ID, digital Id can be authenticated and issued remotely over digital channels.  The outcome-based definition of digital ID, is regardless of the ID-issuing entity. It also applies regardless of the specific technology used to perform digital authentication, which could range from the use of biometric data to passwords, PINs, or smart devices and security tokens. 

When we talk about digital ID we always talk about “Good Digital ID”. A good digital identity is a set of validated digital attributes and credentials for the digital world, similar to a person’s identity for the real world.

Attributes of Good Digital Identity:

Verified and authenticated with a high degree of assurance: It should meet both government and private sector institutions standard for initial registration and subsequent acceptance for all important civic and economic uses.

High-assurance authentication maintains these same standards each time the digital ID is authenticated irrespective of the authentication technology used. 

Unique: An individual has only one identity within a system, and every system identity corresponds to only one individual. 

Established with consent: This is the very important attribute of the digital identity, it’s mandatory that the individual is knowingly registering the idea and is aware what all personal data can be captured by it.

Privacy protection: Establishing the consent does not mean that anyone or everyone can access the personal data of an individual. The privacy of data should be completely under the control of the individual. It should always be under the control of the user to decide who can have access to the data and to what extent.

Understanding risks associated with Digital Identity:

Digital ID, much like other technological innovations such as nuclear energy and GPS, can be used to create value or inflict harm. Without proper controls, digital ID system administrators with nefarious aims, would gain access to and control over data. 

History provides ugly examples of misuse of traditional identification programs, including tracking or persecuting ethnic and religious groups.

 Digital ID, if improperly designed, could be used in yet more targeted ways against the interests of individuals or groups by the government or the private sector.

Potential motivations could include financial profit from the collection and storage of personal data, political manipulation of an electorate, and social control of particular groups through surveillance and restriction of access to uses such as payments, travel, and social media.

  • Digital ID is inherently exposed to risks, present in digital technologies with large-scale population-level usage. Indeed, the connectivity and information sharing that creates the value of digital ID also contribute to potential dangers. Thoughtful system design with built-in privacy provisions like data minimization and proportionality, well-controlled processes, and robust governance, together with established rule of law, are essential to guard against such risks.
  • Along with the technological issues, there are some risks associated with digital ID which are there with conventional ID systems as well. These risks are human errors in organizing the data, understanding the use, and maintaining the credentials. Minimizing the manual maintenance opportunity can be one solution to it, the use of OCR technology which scans and technologically maintains the data helps in minimizing the risk.
  • Humans are a social animal by nature, as a result they tend to share their sensitive data with friends and relatives in their day to day life. Friends and relatives who might be helpful or harmless might turn the other way round at some point in life. In such cases there is a high need of technology where you can monitor and regulate who has access to your personal data and till what time limit. Technology should provide authority to the user to revoke access to the user’s personal data whenever required.

Good Practices to secure your Digital Identity:

Safe and Secure Wallet: Data is more valuable than oil, yet most of us are using haphazard systems and outdated technology to secure our most valuable asset. We are either storing them in our loosely maintained wallet, in our phone, or somewhere else in our safes.

The most valuable data in the most vulnerable places. In order to prevent the misuse of your ultra sensitive data, Cove protects each bit of it using AES 256Bit End-to-End Encryption and then stores them on ultra-secure networks and file systems protected by MFA and IFPS technology.

Zero Knowledge Storage: A zero knowledge system uses decentralized encryption with private keys for consumers. That is the only way to keep data privacy in check! We need to realize the value of our data and also that if we, at the very first step, will not provide open access to it, no one will be able to hack into our virtual selves!

With Cove you can easily share all popular types of data including text, pictures, documents, audio and video files completely encrypted – to other users, merchants, enterprises and institutions over unbreakable channels protected by Cove’s proprietary algorithms.

Your Identity Your Control: The internet is intertwined in every part of our lives – so much so that our digital identity has become a large part of who we are. Let’s take an example while checking on an airport, will you leave your passport at the ticket counter or will you just show it for verification and keep it back safely in your wallet.

Well, I think I know the answer, similarly in the case of digital identity we should be able to revoke access to our personal data whenever we want. Cove enables you to revoke (and re-authorize) file access anytime, even after the file has been shared.

Your Identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it with COVE Identity!!

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