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What is The Dark Web – And Why Should I Care?

You’re happily humming along on the internet, thinking you’ve got a pretty good understanding.  Navigating your way around Google, Facebook, Amazon, and news sites is easy.  But, did you know that you’re actually only visiting four percent of the internet?

There’s a whole world  hiding beyond these safe surface-level sites, known as the Dark Web, and it’s a much less hospitable place.

What exactly is the Dark Web?

Websites on the Dark Web aren’t found on search engines or via traditional web browsers.  That’s because their location and identity hides through encryption tools such as TOR.

TOR was originally created to protect military communication.  But now it has a much broader utilization for both Dark Web purposes and highly secure communication.  You typically have to access Dark Web sites utilizing TOR.

People create sites on the Dark Web in order to hide where they’re operating from, as well as to remain anonymous.  TOR hides all IP address information, identifying information, as well as data transfers.  Over half of the sites on the Dark Web hide criminal activities.

Why Do People Use the Dark Web?

One of the most prevalent uses of the Dark Web is buying and selling illegal goods, such as recreational drugs, weapons, fake identities, and organs.  The proliferation of cryptocurrencies—like Bitcoin—has facilitated these sales.  People living within totalitarian societies that restrict communication also take to the Dark Web to share their thoughts freely.

The most dangerous use of the Dark Web for businesses is the exchange of credentials (usernames and passwords) and identities.  An individual’s stolen credentials can typically sell on the Dark Web for as low as $1.  Hackers utilize these purchased credentials to:

·     Gain access to important financial information and steal identities (access to a Bank of America account holding $50,000 can be purchased for $500).

·     Access accounts for further phishing attacks.

·     Threaten people with exposure of sensitive information.

·     Compromise other accounts using the same passwords and perpetuate the sale of personal Information.

What can you do about it?

The average citizen will never have a reason to access the Dark Web.  But their credentials could easily be floating around, endangering their offline livelihoods.

Once your credentials are released on the Dark Web, there is precious little you can do to have them removed.  At the very least, however, you should know when your information is compromised.  That way, you can immediately change your passwords and activate two-factor authentication.

We recommend utilizing a full Dark Web monitoring service that alerts you if credentials appear on the Dark Web.  These services constantly scan the Dark Web for your information and alert you whenever something suspicious appears.

These alerts don’t necessarily mean a breach has occurred, but they are heads up that something bad may be coming.  Then you should create a plan of attack before any damage happens.  Granted, there will be your fair share of false positives, but we firmly believe in operating in the better safe than sorry camp.

If you’re concerned about your information on the Dark Web, contact us. We’ll be happy to do an initial scan and then put a plan in place to ensure your network and information is secure from future attacks.