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On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

– Peter Steiner

This famous quote by US cartoonist Peter Steiner sums up just how easy it is to hide behind a mask and conceal your true identity in the digital world. The boundaries between digital and physical reality are becoming increasingly blurred. Trust is becoming more and more important in our digital society — it is the basis for working productively together, in both our personal and professional lives. At the same time, the global expansion of networking increases the risk of targeted abuse: Cyber crime, data misuse and identity theft are painful realities that we have to deal with.

Swisscom’s Cyber Security Threat Radar 2024 shows that AI-based attacks will speed up this development. The growing danger online is also reflected in the figures from the Swiss National Cyber Security Center (NCSC): The total number of reports received by NCSC in 2023 was 30 % higher than 2022, at almost 50,000.


Identity, integrity and commitment: the pillars of explicit trust

In order to prevent a loss of trust in the digital world, it is essential to establish a trust layer for the internet, along with other security components. The interaction of implicit and explicit trust is key to this. Implicit trust includes cybersecurity measures to protect digital infrastructure and data from threats such as hacking, malware, phishing and theft. Explicit trust refers to actions that are deliberately taken to create and maintain trust, such as the release of verified information by the user or the signing and sealing of documents. In a digital world, transactional trust is vital. This term refers to trust in the context of a digital interaction or transaction between two or more parties. It is made up of the three pillars of identity, integrity and commitment, which are also used offline.

Identity: Who am I dealing with?

Digital identities are the backbone of a healthy digital society and are central to the future. Switzerland does not currently have a clear basis for identification in the digital world. Swisscom therefore wants the Swiss e-ID to be introduced as soon as possible. Swisscom is also running various digital identity projects, in particular the self-sovereign identity (SSI) approach. The aim is to establish comprehensible applications that will add value for our business and private customers and that will allow users to keep control of their data at all times.

Integrity: Is the information being transmitted genuine?

Integrity refers to the stability of information. This is also crucial for trust in digital transactions. Deep fakes are getting better and better, making it more diffi cult to recognize false information. Here, too, the decentralized SSI approach plays a key role. This will make it possible to issue digitally verifi able originals of documents such as certifi cates and testimonials, whose authenticity is assured.

Commitment: Is it formally binding?

Commitment refers to the ability of a digital expression of intent to be reliable and legal binding. Under Swiss and EU law, the qualifi ed electronic signature (QES) is the only digital equivalent to a handwritten signa- ture. Swisscom Sign offers a simple and secure way to use the QES. A QES ensures the integrity of a document by “sealing” it. Any later changes to the document will be identifi ed when the document is checked by a signa- ture validator. As well as saving time and costs, QES has many other advantages. More about Swisscom Sign in the infobox.


Swisscom: the driving force behind digital trust

New technologies such as ChatGPT are now part of society and are speeding up digitalization enormously. At the same time, they also challenge the credibility of information. Digital trust is essential in the networked world, as it is the only way to close the last gap in digital security. Without trust, discontinuities will remain, with negative consequences for customers and providers. Swisscom is trustworthy and secure, and wants to take responsibility in this area, playing a leading role in identifying the best possible way to meet the challenges facing society, the economy and the public sector. As an “innovator of trust”, Swisscom is commit- ted to innovative approaches and uses its expertise to bring integrated solutions to the market, increasing trust.