October 27, 2017 | The Hill

Scrapping Social Security Numbers Won't Be Enough to Protect Our Identities

1 min

Jeremy Grant published an op-ed titled "Scrapping Social Security Numbers Won't Be Enough to Protect Our Identities," in The Hill on October 27, 2017. Here is an excerpt:

My Twitter handle is @JGrantinDC. My email address is similar. I’m not telling you so that you can contact me, but rather to make a point: both are publicly available "identifiers" for me in the modern age.

The fact that someone knows my identifier doesn't put them in a position to take over my Twitter or email accounts. To do that, they need to obtain my "authenticator”"— in this case, the password plus second factor that I use to protect each account. Those are details that I will not publish here.

The difference between identifiers and authenticators is getting a lot of attention these past few weeks, as industry and government leaders, along with security and privacy experts, have called for the country to come up with something to replace the Social Security Number (SSN), in the wake of the Equifax breach.