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The Secret Side of Online Identity: Benefits and Risks

The notion of 'online identity' is something that people naturally integrate into their daily lives nowadays. But how well do you grasp this concept, with its good and bad? SelfKey strives to offer a comprehensive resource for individuals seeking knowledge and understanding about the realm of 'online identity'. Through education and raising awareness, SelfKey aims to emphasize the significance of effective online identity management.
25 5 月 2023
SelfKey
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Summary

In the present, the vast majority of individuals are familiar with modern technology, the internet, and the notion of online identity

Even though digitization may have not reached every corner of the world yet, most people are no strangers to these concepts. Especially among the younger generation, many have already established a digital presence and have been active online for years.

The integration of the digital realm into people's lives has unlocked immense opportunities for education, communication, and work. Technological advancements continue to push boundaries each year, with innovations like the metaverse and its captivating shared virtual spaces.

However, it’s important for individuals to grasp the concept of online identity, recognizing both its advantages and the potential risks it entails. Among these risks, identity theft stands out as one of the most impactful.

Considering the long-lasting and potentially devastating consequences of identity theft, it’s very important for people to educate themselves on the matter. Additionally, it’s crucial to raise awareness about this issue. Doing so can greatly empower individuals and help them protect their online identities from cyberattacks.

In this article, we will thoroughly discuss the concept of online identity and how it works, with the good and the bad. Additionally, we will discuss how SelfKey may enhance security and privacy for individuals operating in the digital realm.

Highlights

  • What is Online Identity?
  • How Online Identity Works
  • The Benefits of Having an Online Identity
  • Online Identity Risks and Challenges
  • How SelfKey May Improve your Online Identity Management
  • Conclusions

What is Online Identity?

A brief definition

The concept of online identity refers to a persona which people establish for themselves on the internet. Also called internet identity, online personality, or internet persona, it may be used in online communities and websites. It can also be a way of intentionally showing and representing oneself.

Although some people choose to use their real names online, some internet users prefer to be anonymous. They identify themselves by means of pseudonyms, which reveal varying amounts of personally identifiable information. 

Additionally, an online identity may even be determined by a user's relationship to a certain social group they are a part of online. 

Online Identity vs Digital Identity

Even though online identity and digital identity are often found in the same context, there is a notable distinction between them. The difference between online identity and digital identity lies in their scope and focus.

Online identity specifically pertains to the persona and representation of a person in the online realm. It encompasses the social identity an individual establishes in online communities, websites, and social media platforms.

It includes elements such as:

  • Usernames and profiles.
  • Personal information.
  • Digital footprints.

All in all, it is the perception others have of the individual based on their online presence.

Digital identity, on the other hand, is a broader concept that encompasses the information and attributes associated with any entity, not limited to individuals. It extends beyond just personal online presence and encompasses a wider range of entities and their attributes. 

This includes organizational identities, system identities, device identities, and more. It focuses on how entities are identified, authenticated, and represented in the digital domain.

In simple terms, online identity refers to how a person appears and acts online, while digital identity is a broader concept that includes representing any entity in the digital world, such as people, organizations, apps, and devices.

Digital Footprints

While navigating the internet, it's important to remember that our online actions can have lasting effects on specific websites. These effects are referred to as digital footprints.

Digital footprints are the marks or records of our online activities and interactions that remain after using digital devices and platforms. They can include different types of data, like personal information, online behaviors, communications, and contributions.

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Web Browsing History
  • Online Purchases
  • Email Communication
  • Online Profiles and Accounts

Social Media Posts

Any content shared on social media platforms, including photos, videos, comments, and likes, contributes to a person's digital footprint. These posts can provide insights into their interests, opinions, and activities.

Web Browsing History

Every website visited and the search queries made leave a digital trace in the form of browsing history. It can include information about the types of websites visited, articles read, products searched for, and online services used.

Online Purchases

When making online purchases, individuals leave a digital footprint through transaction records. This can include payment information, shipping addresses, and product preferences. This data can be collected and analyzed to understand consumer behavior and tailor personalized advertisements.

Email Communication

Emails sent and received, including attachments, provide a digital trail of personal and professional conversations. The content of these emails can reveal information about relationships, affiliations, and communication patterns.

Online Profiles and Accounts

The creation and maintenance of online profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn, dating websites, or gaming communities contribute to a person's digital footprint. These profiles often contain personal information, employment history, educational background, and connections. And they form a digital representation of an individual's identity.

It's important to note that digital footprints can have implications for privacy, security, and reputation management. The data accumulated over time can be used for various purposes, including targeted advertising, data analysis, and even potential misuse. 

Because of this, it’s vital that individuals take extra caution when browsing the internet, especially when sharing private information. Even websites that appear trustworthy may be at risk of data breaches. 

How Online Identity Works

On a daily basis, individuals rely on their online identities to access various applications. Certain websites play a pivotal role in everyday work, communication, and education. However, there are also online domains that serve as sources of entertainment or offer delightful distractions.

Here are a few examples in which people make use of their online identities: 

  • Social Media
  • Online Gaming
  • Professional Networks
  • Online Communities and Forums
  • E-commerce and Online Shopping

Now, let's take a moment to briefly discuss them.

Social Media

On platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, online identity is built through the creation of profiles. This may also include sharing personal information, posting content, and engaging with others. For example, a person's online identity on Instagram might include their username, profile picture, bio, and the photos or videos they share. 

Online Gaming

In the realm of online gaming, players often create unique usernames, avatars, and profiles that represent their gaming persona. Their online identity in this context is influenced by their gaming achievements, playstyle, interactions with other players, and reputation within the gaming community. 

Professional Networks

Platforms like LinkedIn focus on professional networking and career development. Online identity on LinkedIn is shaped by an individual's professional experience. This can include work experience, education, skills, recommendations, and professional achievements. It allows professionals to establish their expertise, connect with colleagues, and showcase their qualifications.

Online Communities and Forums

Though online communities and forums centered around specific interests or hobbies, individuals have the opportunity to participate in discussions, ask questions, and share knowledge. Online identity within these communities is built based on the content contributed, expertise demonstrated, and the respect gained from other community members. 

E-commerce and Online Shopping

When engaging in online shopping, individuals create accounts and profiles on e-commerce platforms. Online identity in this context involves personal information, purchase history, reviews, and ratings given to products or sellers. It influences the trustworthiness and credibility of an individual as a buyer or seller. 

In each of these contexts, online identity is constructed through the information individuals share, their online activities, and the interactions they have with others. It plays a role in shaping how others perceive them and how they navigate various online spaces.

The Benefits of Having an Online Identity

Because the wide majority of the world has already adopted modern technology, having an online identity has become a necessity. However, there are a multitude of benefits which come with having an online identity, namely:

  • Expanded Reach and Influence
  • Professional Opportunities
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Personal Branding
  • Access to Resources and Information

Expanded Reach and Influence

Having an online identity allows individuals to extend their reach beyond physical boundaries. It provides a platform to share ideas, expertise, and creativity with a global audience. And this may potentially lead to increased influence and impact.

Professional Opportunities

An online identity can open doors to various professional opportunities. It allows individuals to showcase their skills, accomplishments, and qualifications to potential employers, clients, or collaborators. It acts as a digital resume, making it easier for others to discover and connect with them.

Networking and Collaboration

An online identity facilitates networking and collaboration by connecting individuals with like-minded people, professionals in their field, or communities of interest. It provides a platform to engage in meaningful discussions, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects, fostering valuable connections and relationships.

Personal Branding

Online identity enables individuals to shape and manage their personal brand effectively. They can curate their online presence to reflect their values, expertise, and unique qualities. This branding can help individuals stand out, establish credibility, and create a positive perception among peers, potential clients, or collaborators.

Access to Resources and Information

Having an online identity grants individuals access to a vast array of resources, information, and opportunities available on the internet. It allows them to tap into online communities, educational platforms, industry-specific websites, and research databases. This empowers them to stay informed, learn, and grow in their personal and professional pursuits.

Online Identity Risks and Challenges

As with any innovation, having an online identity does not come without risks. It’s important for people to be aware of these negative aspects and to take precautions to avoid becoming victims. Even more, it’s equally important to spread awareness and educate as many people as possible about these matters.

If proper security measures would be in place, the following situations could be prevented:

  • Identity Theft
  • Phishing and Social Engineering
  • Online Reputation Damage
  • Data Breaches and Privacy Breaches

Identity Theft

Online identity theft occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to personal information and uses it for fraudulent purposes. For example, a hacker might gain access to an individual's online banking account and use their identity to make unauthorized transactions or steal funds.

Phishing and Social Engineering

Phishing is a tactic used by cybercriminals to deceive individuals into sharing sensitive information such as passwords or credit card details by disguising themselves as a trustworthy entity. For example, a person may receive an email appearing to be from their bank, asking them to click on a link and provide login credentials. Hackers may use these credentials to gain unauthorized access to the victim's accounts.

Online Reputation Damage

In the digital age, a person's online reputation can have significant consequences. Negative or inappropriate content shared online, whether by oneself or others, can harm one's personal or professional reputation. For instance, a controversial tweet or a compromising photo shared online without consent can damage an individual's reputation and have long-lasting consequences.

Data Breaches and Privacy Breaches

Data breaches occur when sensitive information is accessed, stolen, or exposed due to security vulnerabilities in online systems. This can lead to the compromise of personal information, such as names, addresses, social security numbers, or financial data. An example is when a major retail company experiences a breach, resulting in the theft of customer credit card information from their database.

These risks and challenges highlight the importance of maintaining strong online security practices, being cautious with personal information sharing, and being vigilant about potential threats to online identity.

How SelfKey May Improve your Online Identity Management

As online identities have become an integral part of daily life, it is crucial to prioritize privacy and security. Insufficient security measures or a lack of awareness regarding online safety can have long-lasting consequences for unsuspecting individuals.

Given this, SelfKey aims to contribute to a safer digital future through the development of decentralized solutions. Decentralization has the potential to address numerous issues related to poor security in centralized systems. 

One decentralized solution which SelfKey proposes, and which may prevent data breaches in the future is SelfKey iD.

SelfKey iD

Designed with privacy and security in mind, SelfKey iD may be the best solution for online identity management. Individuals who operate in the online world may be in charge of their private data, and this may prevent identity theft. 

Because SelfKey iD uses AI-Powered Proof of Individuality, unlawful access to a user’s private account may become considerably challenging. Artificial Intelligence is capable of detecting AI-generated images which bad players may use to try and compromise one’s online account. 

And, with recurring selfie checks, SelfKey iD aims to add an extra layer of security by continuously making sure that the user is who they claim to be. This way, security is enhanced and access to one’s private account is limited only to the user.

The goal is to enable individuals to operate in the online world confidently, so that people may enjoy the benefits of modern technology in a secure and safe manner. 

Conclusions

The advent of modern technology has presented us with abundant opportunities for personal growth and advancement. 

Utilizing online platforms and leveraging AI-powered tools offer numerous benefits in our day-to-day lives. Having an online identity has revolutionized the way we navigate challenges that were once formidable obstacles, such as remote work, distance learning, and long-distance communication.

To continue harnessing the potential of these remarkable opportunities, it is crucial that we take the necessary precautions to safeguard our online identities. The first step is to be well-informed and actively share knowledge and spread awareness.

SelfKey strives to compile as much relevant information regarding digital identities, online identities, as well as privacy and security news in its blog. The more informed you are, the better the chances to prevent online security risks.

By prioritizing digital security, SelfKey strives to empower individuals to embrace technology without sacrificing the safety of their digital identity.

Stay up to date with SelfKey on Discord, Telegram, and Subscribe to the official SelfKey Newsletter to receive new information!

Note: 

We believe the information is correct as of the date stated, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. We reserve the right not to update or modify it in the future. Please verify all information independently.

By engaging with SelfKey, you acknowledge and agree to the applicable terms and any associated risks. We recommend consulting with legal and financial professionals before participating in the SelfKey ecosystem and related transactions.

This communication is for informational purposes only. It is not legal or investment advice or service. We do not intend to offer, solicit, or recommend investment advisory services or buy, sell, or hold digital assets. We do not solicit or offer to buy or sell any financial instrument. 

This document may contain statements regarding future events based on current expectations. However, some risks and uncertainties could cause results to differ. The views expressed here were based on the information that may change if new information becomes available.

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