Device identity

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What is device identity?

Device identity is the unique string of numbers and letters used to identify a mobile device, such as a mobile phone or tablet. The device ID is stored on the device.

How is device identity used in banking?

Device identity enables financial institutions to recognize, track, and collate anonymous information about their customers and their devices. Some solutions include cookies or device fingerprinting, but more modern solutions focus more on supporting customer privacy.

The device identity of a device is comparable to humans having fingerprints, each device has a distinct ID. Once the customer’s device is registered with their bank or credit union, the institution binds or securely link that device to that specific customer before the customer performs any transactions on any of their digital and payment channels. Essentially, the customer’s device becomes a trusted possession factor for verifying their identity.

What types of fraud are associated with device identity?

The types of fraud that can be connected to device identity include:

  • Identity theft: When a fraudster gets hold of a customer’s personal information and uses the details to impersonate them with fraud scams.
  • Synthetic identity theft: This refers to instances when a fraudster creates a fake identity by combining real and fake information.
  • ID spoofing: When financial criminals mask a device’s ID making it appear as though the device was already identified and authenticated.
  • Account takeover fraud: When a fraudster gains unauthorized access to a customer’s bank accounts.
  • Social engineering attacks: These could include phishing, vishing, whaling, baiting or smishing attacks.

How banks can secure device identity

Banks can protect customers from fraud related to device identity by implementing solutions such as:

  • Mobile authentication: Authentication solutions that secure mobile devices.
  • Biometric authentication: Verifying a customer’s identity via their unique fingerprint or facial features, for example.
  • Payment authentication: Measures which add security to digital payments such as 3-D Secure.

Additional resources:


Device identity | Identity theft | Account takeover (ATO) fraud