What is a Digital ID?
A Digital ID, sometimes called a digital certificate, is a file on your computer that identifies who
you are. Some software applications use this file to prove your identity to another person or computer.
Here are two common examples:
A Digital ID typically contains the following information:
- When you bank online, your bank must be sure that you are the correct person to get account information. Like a driver's license or passport, a Digital ID confirms your identity to the online bank.
- When you send important e-mail to someone, your e-mail application can use your Digital ID to "digitally" sign the e-mail message. A digital signature does two things: it lets the recipient know the e-mail is from you, and it tells them the e-mail was not tampered with from the time you sent it to the time they received it.
- Your public key (for more information see What is a Digital ID key pair?)
- Your name and e-mail address
- Expiration date of the public key
- Name of the company (the Certification Authority, or CA) who issued your Digital ID
- Serial number of the Digital ID
- Digital signature of the CA