What Is the Dark Web? How to Check If Your Information Is Living in the Dark

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managed IT services San JoseAre you worried about privacy and the security of your information and data?

There is a place on the internet where important and personal information goes. That place is what people refer to as the dark web.

What is the dark web and how does one access it? Below, we have a guide on how to access the dark web so you can find out if your information is there or not. Keep reading to find out how you can prevent your data from getting accessed and brought into the dark web.

1. What Is the Dark Web and How Does It Work?

The dark web is infamous as a center of criminal activity on the internet. On the dark web, the activity cannot get tracked and users remain anonymous. It is the main reason why it has become a hotbed of illicit online activity.

It is full of information and illicit items for sale. On the dark web, you will find credit card numbers, hacked accounts, counterfeit money, and more. In 2019, 620 million accounts and 127 million records went on sale on the dark web.

However, that is not all that the dark web offers. It also has a legitimate side, wherein you can join a chess club and do other things. In countries ruled under regimes that censor social media, residents use the dark web to publicize the truth about their governments.

Note that accessing the dark web is not an illegal act. However, one cannot get into the dark web via regular browsers and search engines. Special browsers, like TOR, can help unveil the dark web and grant you access.

Deep Web vs. Dark Web

What is the dark web and how does it differ from the deep web? To give you a little background, the World Wide Web has three layers. To give you a good picture of it, imagine an iceberg.

The tip of this iceberg above the water’s surface is the “surface web”, the part of the internet everybody can access. Below the water, the middle part of the iceberg is what we refer to as the “deep web”. This part is a much larger and more compartmentalized network.

The deep web is full of private places that not everyone can access. For example, only you can access your little space on the deep web by signing in with your username and password. Also, the deep web is a place where databases get stored.

At the deeper, darker end of the iceberg is the “dark web”. It is a subnetwork in the deep web that is more hidden and more exclusive. It is where whistle-blowers, law enforcement agencies, and criminals work with shielded identities.

2. How Does Your Data Get on the Dark Web?

Nobody wants to put their information on the dark web. If your data is on the dark web, it means someone stole it from you. You got hacked, used malware, or got scammed.

It is also possible that you discarded important files in your trash and thieves went through it. Have you entered a suspicious website in the past? If you did, there is a chance any data you typed in got stolen or copied.

Stay protected from malicious app downloads by being cautious with what you download. Be careful when you enter unsecured sites. Also, it is always a good idea to always check all your mail and email for actions you did not do.

3. What Does It Mean If Your Information Is on the Dark Web?

If your information goes on sale within the dark web, you are at risk of identity fraud. Whoever buys your information can use it to access your account and use it to buy items online. The bill goes to your address and you are left wondering how you ended up buying these items.

The cost of identity theft is over $107 billion in the U.S. The real owners of the accounts are not the only people affected by identity theft. Influencers, digital marketers, and other online contacts of the victims also get affected.

If you manage an online business or website, you know how important analytics are. Fake or stolen identities can tilt the demographics or location analytics. You may end up optimizing SEO or changing marketing tactics to cater to the wrong audiences.

4. How to Get on the Dark Web

Monitoring tools can help you keep track of your personal information. They will ping you to let you know of your latest account activities. Some monitoring tools scan the dark web and then let you know if they find your information there.

If you want dark web access, you need to have a TOR browser. TOR or The Onion Router is a free open-source dark web search engine and browser. If your only goal is to find out if your data is on the dark web, use monitoring tools like CreditWise instead.

5. How to Keep Your Data out of the Dark Web?

Be wary of the online places you visit and of the programs you download. It is always a good idea to use measures to give you both data security and privacy. If you have personal information in commercial and public records, remove them or correct them best you can.

Be careful about sharing your information online. If your account gets hacked, the hackers can use or sell on the dark web the information you shared. It is also a good idea to always check your credit and bank records for any suspicious activity.

6. What to Do If Your Information Is on the Dark Web?

If your monitoring tool gives back a report that your information got leaked in the dark web, it is still not too late. The actions you take will depend on what type of information got stolen. For example, if your phone number got stolen, contact your service provider.

For every account with a password, it is always a good idea to change your passwords as soon as you can. Do this for all your accounts that use the same password. In apps like Facebook, you can log out of all other devices after you change your password.

Social Security numbers are the most dangerous type of information that can get stolen from you. They can use it to commit serious fraud. If stolen, alert the Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service right away.

Keep Yourself Protected From the Dark Web

What is the dark web? When you break it down, it is the side of the Internet invisible from search engines. There are good uses of it but the dark web also poses an ocean of criminal activity, such as identity fraud.

Identity fraud can do a lot of damage to your personal and work life. It can drain you of your money from the credit you did not use. This reality is why securing your personal information is essential.

If you want to learn more about keeping your data safe, check out our blog or let us know.

Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.