The need for providing proper identification is as old as the first knock-knock joke. For centuries, European aristocrats used signet rings and sealing wax to affix a coat of arms to important documents, proving their identity and the document’s authenticity. Likewise, today’s practice of using notaries to witness the signing of a variety of legal documents, thus making sure they’re legit, dates back hundreds of years as well. When you add in all the personal forms of identification—driver’s license, Social Security number—it’s safe to say that proving who we are, and verifying others are who they claim to be, is truly serious business.
Why is it, then, that so many of us know someone who’s been duped online? Whether that someone was victim of catfishing, a Nigerian 419 scam, or another form of digital duplicity, it’s hard to believe people still aren’t as vigilant as they should be.
Hopefully, you and your IT colleagues have set the bar a little higher. Over the years, a number of authentication methods and protocols have helped us prove and verify identities with confidence. Here, we’ll pay homage to a handful of tried-and-true techniques, examine the current state of affairs, and explore future solutions.