Context-Based Identity Management

Context-based identity management is another security layer to consider if you are looking to improve the security of your organization’s systems/data and protect yourself from cyber intrusions. Many organizations use biodata to manage identities and secure systems. With the evolution of cyber attacks and intrusion tools, old identity management practices are slowly becoming outdated and unable to handle cyber threats as attacks targeting organizations are increasing and becoming sophisticated. Don’t be stuck in the world of fixed data user management.

Context-Based Identity Management

In 2021 alone, some organizations in the United States of America suffered various major attacks including Colonial pipeline, one of the largest gas and pipeline companies, and JBS Meat Processing and Supply Company. According to various news outlets, JBS had to pay $11 million in a ransomware attack.

Context-Based Identity Management

In most cybersecurity breaches, there is always the problem of fraudulent entry or unauthorized access to a computer systems through various means that may include identity theft. Context-based identity management is the process of collecting identity related data to create an extended identity for a person which can be used for a variety of purposes in identity management.

Although most companies are improving their cybersecurity capabilities to face evolving cyber threats, cybercriminals are evolving at an even faster rate. This is where context-based identity management comes in. essentially, instead of having to authenticate identities using the old methods of username and password, we can use more complex authentication systems such as context-based authentication.

What Is Context-Based Authentication?

Context-based authentication is not a new concept, however, it may not be deployed in many organizations. It involves using extended user data to verify identity and grant access. If you are a regular user of your computer browser application, you have probably come across this technology where your search engine results and websites are customized for you. For instance, you probably have noticed that each time you try to make a purchase, there is a particular list of customized products for you. Now, most browsers and mobile applications have been ‘fitted’ with artificial intelligence capabilities that can learn about:

• Your preferences
• Sites that you visit frequently
• The physical locations that you frequent – hotels, schools, residences, and many more.
• Credit and debit card usage
• Travel
• Type of mobile phones and computers that you use
• The IP addresses and locations of your frequently used devices
• Frequently contacted persons
• Music preferences
• Purchase behavior

These user data can be used for a variety of marketing and identity management purposes including improved authentication.

Privacy Implications

As context-based information involves the collection of many personal information, privacy advocates consider context-based data private information and great risk to privacy and personal freedoms. However, context-based information makes each person unique and different. In addition, with the policies and data protection regulations that have been placed, the data collection requires permission from the users. This ensures that privacy is not infringed, and the information collected is relevant and used for intended purpose.

How Does It Work?

Apart from protecting your organization, context-based data also gives you information about your clients and how they conduct business online. Many successful organizations attribute their success to a better understanding of their customers. Currently, the fact that the world is a global village is accentuated because almost everybody owns either a mobile phone or a computer. In the past, these devices did not carry much functionality.

Considering changing tides and the increased need for security and better business performance, personal devices have been fitted with technology that protects users while at the same time learns about their personal preferences and activities. Basically, in the course of using these device, the following data might be collected:

• Address of your device – mostly the IP address
• Geographical location
• Personal info such as age and gender
• Device usage history
• Purchases and sales history
• Transaction history
• Calls and messaging history
• Language of communication

Data Mining

Data mining is the science of collecting data related to a particular identity. Currently, data mining practices have evolved to include artificial intelligence machines that use algorithms to collect and group data. Currently, data mining is widely used in various institutions such as:

• Insurance organizations
• Banking institutions
• Communication organizations
• Credit card organizations
• Government institutions

Artificial Intelligence

Essentially, artificial intelligence is the art of getting machines to think and act like humans. Like with a human child, artificial intelligence requires extensive training and learning process to work well. Currently, this technology has been included in most of the devices and applications that we use. In practice, artificial intelligence can be used to learn and evaluate patterns in our daily life. Consequently, this creates a personalized database for each person which can serve many purposes.

Context-Based Identity Management and AI

In effective identity management, collecting and using all the relevant information about a particular person is important in order to verify and understand the person. Artificial intelligence helps with speedy analysis and simulation of human behavior through the accumulated data. In essence, as AI learns about a particular person, it creates an expanded identity that can be used to identify and manage that person. AI uses certain differentiating factors relevant to the personal behavior and information which can also be used for identity management.

Why Is Context-Based Identity Management with Artificial Intelligence Important?

Protecting systems, data, and users against identity theft, fraud, and intrusions is critical in maintaining the credibility of your organization. The cost of protection against cyberattacks is often less than the cumulative cost of major attacks that result in lengthy investigations, non-compliance fines, and lawsuits.

The benefits of context-based identity management include:

• Evaluation of a user transaction against the created identity. For instance, AI may evaluate how often the client transacts and from where, travel habits, and the amount of money involved in the transaction. If the particular transaction is not in line with the normal transaction behavior, it is declined.
• Protected login and data manipulation. With AI, your systems can detect an intrusion by evaluating the IP addresses, the recognized device’s MAC addresses, the device’s physical location, and device use history. For instance, if you live in the US and have logged in to an account, another attempted login in Dubai or Japan will raise red flags and prevent the login.
• Data protection. In this age, data privacy has become exceedingly important. Data protection ensures the credibility of information and the security of all persons involved. In addition, it gives parties involved privacy and security.
• Protection against identity theft. With context-based identity management, stealing a person’s username and password will no longer work. Typically, this has been the longest-serving loophole that gives any person the ability to intrude someone else’s life. Essentially, even a person without much hacking knowledge can use the username and password to mess things up.

Cyber threats are evolving with each passing hour. However, with another layer of security to protect identities in your organization, you can better secure systems and data. Context-based identity management may not be the holy grail for staving off cyber-attacks, however, it gives your systems the ability to withstand certain types of cyber-attacks.

The Takeaway

Context-based user management is the next generation of identity and access management which leverages big data and artificial intelligence to better secure systems. If you are already using multi-factor authentication, adding context-based identity management will make your system’s security more robust.