Updated: Aug 16
Digital identity is all the available online information about an “external agent,” aka, an individual person, an organization, or an electronic device. Everyone who uses the internet has a digital identity.
So what makes up your digital identity? A digital identity is split into two categories, a digital attribute and a digital activity. An attribute is what sets you apart from the next person on the internet and a digital activity is what you do online.
Here is a table that should help you tell the difference:
Login Credentials (Username & Passwords.)
Likes, Comments and Shares on Social Sites
Photos on Facebook, Instagram etc.
Biometrics (Fingerprints and Eye Scan)
Government issued ID Card or Document ( Passport, Driver’s license etc)
ID Numbers (SSN, Driver’s license)
Date of Birth
Geotagging & Downloading Apps
It is important that you recognize that even though you are browsing incognito, there are still data leaks and gaps that can leave you open to attack. So many internet service providers are able to view the sites users visit and it is vital that you use a VPN to protect your network and online activity.
There are cybersecurity risks that could render you open to cyber attacks. Some of these include doppelganger and sometimes, identity theft. This is when someone who looks like you poses to be you as a means to commit crime or do nefarious activities. An example of this is Richard Anthony Jones. Jones spent 17 years in jail for a crime he says he didn’t commit. He was only released when the picture of the real criminal, someone who looked just like him surfaced.
You can, however, protect yourself by understanding how digital information is exposed. Some of these include:
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Network: Connecting to a public Wi-Fi is dangerous as people use this to obtain information from unsuspecting victims. But if you really have use the internet and can't avoid public Wi-Fi, then make sure you use a VPN.
Unsecured Websites: A lot of scams happen because netizens aren't checking to make sure they are on the right website. Scammers and hackers use spoof websites to confuse users into thinking they are on the right website. Install a security network so it warns you to avoid fake websites in the future.
Location Sharing: Turn off location sharing to avoid your phone pinging your location whenever you post on social media. Only use location services when you want to use Maps or Uber.
Avoid Strangers Online: Yes, social media is a way to connect with people but unfortunately, it is also a way to get scammed and have your information leaked. Only add people you really know as friends and make sure they are who they say they are to avoid being cat-fished.
Weak & Reused Passwords: One major way tons of people get hacked is because they reuse the same old and generic passwords for a lot of their social media accounts or online banking. Password managers like Google Passwords, LastPass and more can help you generate strong and different passwords for your accounts and you don't have to remember all of them because the apps will autofill them in when you want them to.
Other schemes like email phishing should be avoided. Do not click on any unknown links sent to you via email as this can be used to lock your computer and gain access to your confidential files.
How To Protect Yourself
Shred, Shred, Shred.
Power Up your Passwords.
Lock your Phone.
Stay Alert, Don’t Be fooled by Scammers
Don’t get hooked by Phishing Frauds.
Install Protection. e.g. VPN, Antivirus
Get Frequent Credit Reports.
Only us reputable sites when making transactions that involve personal info.
Use Search Engines that respect privacy
Start protecting yourself today using the steps listed above and ensure your digital identity is not stolen and sold on the dark web.