According to the NIST SP 800-63-3, digital identity is “the online persona of a subject.” Unlike personal identity, an individual can convey multiple digital identities across various networks and communities. In other words, one person can have one digital identity for their work email and another for a social media account.
Given the possibility of multiple digital identities, correctly proving an individual is who they say they are on an online service or network is not as easy as glancing at a face and a name tag. Ensuring that only the authentic user is given access may require identity proofing. The identity proofing process relies upon various factors, such as the presentation of identity documents issued by another provider, biographic information, biometric information, and knowledge of personally relevant information or events.
As the process for identity proofing is done both online and remotely, it is used in conjunction with identity federation and strong authentication to protect an individual’s digital identity. Identity federation is the process of securely exchanging identity and security information between an identity provider (IdP) and an online service or network. Identity federation relies on strong authentication like FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (FIDO U2F) to protect against phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and session hijacking.
Using a centralized digital identity through a FIDO U2F-enabled IdP like Digidentity is an economical and effective alternative to securing and authenticating multiple digital identities independently. An effective example of this is GOV.UK Verify, a secure online verification service Yubico piloted with Digidentity and the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2016. This is the first government service in the world to support FIDO U2F. The GOV.UK Verify project was later lauded and awarded “Best Innovation in eGovernment/eCitizen” at the European Identity and Cloud Conference 2016 Awards.
The success of GOV.UK Verify marked an important milestone both for individual users and governments looking to leverage identity data as a way of securing online government services while safeguarding privacy. Today, using Digidentity federated authentication services and FIDO U2F with the YubiKey, UK citizens can conveniently access a number of government services online with the utmost security and privacy. Beyond government services, Digidentity also provides IdP services to insurers, financial institutions, and organizations.
By creating a robust identity ecosystem combining identity proofing, identity federation, and strong authentication with FIDO U2F, Yubico and Digidentity keep our commitment to protecting and preserving the digital identities of millions of individuals across the globe.
Yubico is proud to highlight Digidentity as part of an ongoing YubiKey ecosystem awareness program. Visit our Featured Solutions page to learn more about all the products and services that support the YubiKey.