Browse Definitions:
Definition

digital identity

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A digital identity is the body of information about an individual, organization or electronic device that exists online.

Unique identifiers and use patterns make it possible to detect individuals or their devices. This information is often used by website owners and advertisers to identify and track users for personalization and to serve them targeted content and advertising.

A digital identity arises organically from the use of personal information on the web and from the shadow data created by the individual’s actions online. A digital identity may be a pseudonymous profile linked to the device’s IP address, for example, or a randomly-generated unique ID. Digital identities are seen as contextual in nature since a user gives selective information when providing authentication information.

Examples of data points that can help form a digital identity include:

  • Username and password
  • Purchasing behavior or history
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Online search activities, such as electronic transactions
  • Medical history

Because a profile often includes aspects of a person’s actual identity, digital identities come with privacy and security risks, including identity theft. Pseudonymous profiles can also yield an individual’s identity through cross-site data analysis. While passports and licenses identify users in real life, the inclusion of such personally identifying information (PII) online may pose more risks than benefits for the user. Several authentication and authorization systems have been explored, but there is still no standardized and verified system to identify digital identities.

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About digital identity

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close