Differences Between Identification, Authentication and Verification

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the world saw an increase in another form of security concern—a cyber one. 

Reports show that cyber-attacks increased by over 600% during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world continues to shift to online solutions for business and commerce, criminals are moving towards digital scams and fraud rackets to exploit others for the sake of personal gain. 

The number of fraudsters performing identity theft, phishing, hacking, and other forms of cyber-attacks has significantly increased in the last decade. Accordingly, people are looking for ways to avoid and even eliminate any digital threats to online business operations. 

What’s the Best Course of Action against Identity Theft?

In 2020, there were 1.4 million identity theft complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission, up from 651,000 in 2019. This rise of cases has become a cause of alarm given that it’s resulted in millions of dollars in loss every year.

Stopping online fraud through heightened online security is a pain point more companies try to address. But many people don’t know where to begin. The first step to curbing online fraud is knowing what options you have. Nowadays, cybersecurity software is the best form of action to keep threats at bay. There are many forms of solutions to help avoid threats to company information. One of the most effective ways is to add identity validation protocols to add extra layers of protection to privileged information.  

Identification, Verification, and Authentication Defined

There are generally three ways that companies and individuals can curb identity theft through identity validation efforts— identification, verification, and authentication. Let’s look into each one in greater detail.

What is Identification?

Most simply, identification is the process of asking someone the question, “who are you?” Let’s say someone named John Doe. Software that identifies someone will probably provide a few fields to ask for John’s first and last name— “John” and “Doe”— without really asking for any other information to verify further. 

While being the first step to the verification process, it’s not adequate on its own. Take, for instance, the case of online transactions. If payment gateways simply ask people to identify themselves when taking money out of an account, we’d all lose money at an alarming rate every day. Identification provides identification without unique verification through passcodes, confirmation questions, and so on. Other steps are necessary to make the securing process more effective.

What is Verification?

If identification asks the question “who are you?” validation will be the next step where a system asks someone to prove that they are who they say they are. Understanding identification vs verification is a crucial element to gaining more knowledge of the security process. 

Most systems will ask for validation by asking for contact details like email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses. This form of verification is easily one of the most common ones. But today, there are dozens of ways that hackers can break into an account protected by personal information. In response, security software has added other layers of verification. 

The credit bureau, for instance, adds more knowledge-based verification by asking questions that only a user might know. But with the prevalence of information now available via the dark web, this type of information can also be mined by fraudsters. That’s why there’s another layer of identity validation.

What is Authentication?

If identification is asking someone to identify themselves and verification asks them to prove that with additional information, authentication takes it up a notch by asking loggers to provide authenticating information before providing virtual entry. 

Knowing the disparity of identification vs authentication is understanding the difference between providing one’s name and getting someone to enter authentication information. This form of authentication information can come in simple forms like asking for someone’s password or pin. 

Authentication has become more stringent, however, now that there are ways to hack someone’s password. Some of these ways include confirming a gadget being used, using captchas to verify that you aren’t a bot, or using face or fingerprint scanning software.

Benefits of Better Online Security

There is a vast difference between identification and authentication. And while users and people want more frictionless experiences online, adding a few steps could be worth the hassle, especially if systems add them to protect privileged information like financial records, company trade secrets, access to data, and so on. 

The benefits of identity verification and authentication don’t just extend to the individuals that they protect, but to the organizations they serve. When companies protect their staff, they’re protecting the company too. So it makes sense for companies to invest in the right systems. 

To find out what security systems you might need, check out this identity management software list.

The global market for security tools will most likely grow another 8.5% and hit a value of $170.4 billion in 2022. And for a good reason. Cybersecurity is a form of insurance policy that greatly lowers the risk of losing more to a lack of security. When companies protect their digital assets, they protect great interests and provide layers of security to safeguard company growth for many years to come.