While many businesses – both large and small – are doing business at least partially online, which makes things extremely easy and convenient, what business owners do not understand is that when their customers must digitally verify their identities, they are actually doing more harm than good. Even with encrypted servers, SSL certificates, and other security measures in place, it is still not safe.
Keyloggers are one of the many dangers of digital ID verification. A keylogger is a tiny, malicious program or line of code that runs in the background while an individual is online. They are not easy to detect and are designed to grab sensitive information, such as birthdates, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. These numbers are then sent to the person or entity that designed the keylogger, allowing said person or entity to steal an individual’s information and use it for their own purposes.
Phishers are more dangerous than a keylogger, as a phisher is an individual who will trawl a website that does commerce online, stealing peoples’ personal information. What a phisher gathers is names, addresses, bank account information, credit card information and other sensitive data; they will use the information they obtain for personal use, including stealing an innocent party’s identity.
Hackers and phishers basically go hand in hand, with the exception that a hacker will hijack entire databases where customer information is stored. They are known to embezzle money from customers’ bank accounts, credit and debit cards in increments that are small enough to escape the innocent customer’s information- until it is too late for the customer to do much about it.
Browser hijackers, while they can be noticed easier than a phisher, hacker, or keylogger, are no less dangerous. These are extremely malicious programs that will replicate a website almost perfectly so that customers think they are entering their identifying information on a company’s website, but they are actually transmitting it to a person or entity that will steal and use that person’s information. Some browser hijackers even install trojans and other nefarious code that will continue to hijack whatever a person types on their browser – not only search terms but banking information, passwords, pin numbers and other personal data.
There are many reasons for malicious lines of code, programs, and individuals to steal the information that, years ago, they would not have been able to access. The main reason behind online identity theft is because even now, personal information can be sold online for large sums of money. Identity thieves and peddlers are able to make large sums of money from the information they sell- and innocent people are harmed in the process.
While it is important for online businesses to verify their customers’ identities, there are many ways they can do it that does not compromise sensitive information. The danger of digital id verification is rampant and will only continue to grow over the coming years. Online businesses, regardless of their size, must be made aware of the fact that they are doing far more harm than good by having people verify their identities online.
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