If you are mindful about using the internet and do not have any social media accounts, you might be forgiven for assuming that you don’t have a digital identity. In reality, anyone who uses the internet will have a digital identity. Understanding what a digital identity is and how to protect it is key to keeping yourself safe online.
What is a Digital Identity?
Your digital identity is made up of all available data and information that is related to an individual. Your digital identity is made up of information that is gathered from two categories, your digital activities, and your digital attributes.
Digital attributes are any personally identifiable information that is accessible online. Examples of digital attributes include your medical history, date of birth, bank details, email address, biometrics, government identification information, and log-in details.
Digital activities are data gathered from online behavioral patterns, such as the way you search the internet and interact with content on social media. Examples of digital activities data include purchase history, search queries, downloads, location tracking, likes, comments, and shares on social media platforms.
Why You Need to Protect Your Digital Identity
Once you understand more about what a digital identity is, it becomes pretty clear that this is not information that you would willingly choose to share with anyone. If your digital identity falls into the wrong hands, you risk your privacy being infringed and being a victim of a cybercrime.
When your digital identity is compromised, you are at risk of falling victim to different attacks. For example, hackers can steal your digital identity to commit fraud, hold your personal data to ransom, or use your payment methods without realizing it. It is also likely that your digital identity will be sold and transferred, allowing other people to gain access to your personal information.
How to Protect Your Digital Identity
Everyone that uses the internet will have a digital identity, so you must understand how to best protect it.
- Use Strong Passwords
You should create a unique password for every new account. All of your passwords should be strong, containing a mixture of letters, numbers, characters in capitals and lowercase letters. Make sure to change your passwords at least a few times a year to keep them secure.
- Use a VPN
Using a VPN is another great way to add an additional level of protection when using the internet. Using a VPN is vital for anyone who uses public WIFI that does not have end-to-end encryption.
- Use Antivirus Software
You must have reliable antivirus software on your digital devices to offer an additional level of protection.
- Keep Your Devices Updated
When a new software update is launched, you should not wait to install the upgrade. New software launches are often created to fix problems and increase security levels.
- Be Mindful if What You Interact with Online
You should be mindful of what you interact with online, especially when clicking on links and downloading anything. Cyber-attackers often disguise malicious software in seemingly harmless content.