Social Security numbers ineffective at authenticating ID

In response to "Poor data hygiene is common," it is long past the time when Social Security numbers can be protected as private. Social Security numbers are not an effective authenticator for proving an identity. The numbers have been so widely used for such a long time that any realistic expectation of being private is gone. (Besides, it is my understanding the numbers were instituted as an identifier, not as an authenticator.)

So, the use of Social Security numbers as an identifier such as the index into a database is not a problem that needs to be solved. The problem today is the use of Social Security numbers as any part of an authentication of a claimed identity. Knowing an individual's Social Security number is simply not an acceptable part of the authentication process. Desiring otherwise is, I suggest, a fantasy because this is not unlike trying to close the proverbial barn door after the animals have all escaped.

Gary Stoneburner

Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    secure network (bluebay/Shutterstock.com)

    Federal CISO floats potential for new supply chain regs

    The federal government's top IT security chief and canvassed industry for feedback on how to shape new rules of the road for federal acquisition and procurement.

  • People
    DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, shown here at her Nov. 8, 2017, confirmation hearing. DHS Photo by Jetta Disco

    DHS chief Nielsen resigns

    Kirstjen Nielsen, the first Homeland Security secretary with a background in cybersecurity, is being replaced on an acting basis by the Customs and Border Protection chief. Her last day is April 10.

  • Management
    workflow (Urupong Phunkoed/Shutterstock.com)

    House Dems oppose White House reorg plan

    The White House's proposal to reorganize and shutter the Office of Personnel Management hit a major snag, with House Oversight Democrats opposing any funding of the plan.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.