We use the internet every day for a multitude of reasons — Email, social media, or even fact-checking something you said earlier in a conversation. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are popular websites we often find ourselves gravitating to whenever we’re bored, and with it, we assume we can see everything going on in the world. However, the internet as you know it only scratches the surface.
Just beneath the internet, or the “visible net”, lies the “invisible net”. The first layer of the invisible net is the Deep Web, which you’ve unknowingly interacted with. The Deep Web are indexes and databases of information, things you can’t pull up normally by just using a search engine. If you’ve had to enter a password to open your account information, for example, then you’ve interacted with the Deep Web.
But there’s one more layer below the deep web, and it’s worthy of your caution; the dark web.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a deeply buried part of the deep web, made with the intention of having limited access. No one ever interacts with the dark web by accident, requiring specific software, browsers, and vetting. Although the dark web was originally created to be a safe space for those rising against their totalitarian governments to organize, it has since become a hotbed of anonymous criminal activity and trading. This doesn’t mean anyone who uses the dark web has bad intentions, as there are many other uses for it besides illegal trade, but it is a prime tool for cybercrime.
It’s important to understand the dark web in the context of cybersecurity because if a threat actor manages to access your data and personal information, there’s a high chance they could encrypt and post it for sale on the dark web.
Why would criminals sell my data?
Everyone’s data, no matter how ordinary they feel they are, is expensive.
What someone could do with your personal data is limitless. They can open banks, apply for loans, apply for services like cable and electricity, and more, all in your name and social security. The impact will tank your credit and add events to your financial history you weren’t part of, making it difficult to apply for assets like cars and houses later down the road.
That’s what makes the personal data market so attractive to criminals; using an unsuspecting person as a stepping stone to reap the benefits of having an identity. Personal data is so in demand that people are willing to pay thousands, if not millions for it, usually via crypto so it can’t be tracked. Everyone is at risk to have theirs’ taken, if it’s not posted to the dark web already.
Is my data already posted on the dark web?
The trouble with the dark web is its anonymity and high difficulty of use. You can’t easily check if your data is posted there just by Googling or searching through databases. There are general preventative approaches that can lower the chances of a threat actor taking your data, applicable to both individuals and businesses:
- Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- Don’t ever store passwords in your browser. Use a password manager if you have too many to keep track of.
- Never use repeat passwords or short passwords. Randomize them if possible.
- Never click on suspicious links or open unmarked files if prompted.
If you put healthy cyber etiquette into practice, you can safeguard your data and make it too difficult or time consuming to dig much further for it. However, if you do suspect your data has been compromised and posted to the dark web, or just want peace of mind, we would recommend getting a dark web scan.
What is a dark web scan?
A dark web scan is a program that anonymously checks the dark web using specified criteria to validate whether your data exists there. If it is found, you’re alerted and advised on the best next steps. However, this is difficult for an individual or IT decision maker to do on their own; Dark web scans require in-depth software and data analysis skills.
A dark web scan could be your last bet to protect your identity, your money, and your future.
If you suspect your or your organization’s information has been posted to the dark web, contact us today to explore your options for a dark web scan and other advanced cybersecurity plans.