Understanding the Deep Web and the Dark Web
How do you monitor the Dark Web for your stolen data? Often people confuse the Dark Web and the Deep Web. The two are often used in conversation interchangeably. Should you monitor the Dark Web for your stolen data? Perhaps, but let’s understand what the Dark Web is, as opposed to the Deep Web.
The Deep Web
The parts of the World Wide Web (WWW) that are not indexed in public search engines make up the Deep Web. The indexing of these sites, or lack of indexing, is sometimes intentional and sometimes an oversight by developers. These sites are accessed using IP addresses or a direct link. For the most part, the content on the Deep Web is not malicious and not meant to harm anyone, and is usually legal.
An example of stuff that makes up the Deep Web may include:
- Private or paid membership sites,
- content that is fee-based,
- web pages belonging to a corporation,
- and medical records accessed by doctors and hospital personnel.
That’s a small example of the content on the Deep Web. It is estimated that more than 95% of the Internet is made up of Deep Web content.
The Dark Web
There are a few differences with The Dark Web, it is difficult to monitor the Dark Web for stolen data and hard to get your stolen data off the dark web. The Dark Web is accessed differently, using an anonymizing browser called Tor.
Like content on the Deep Web this part of the Internet is not indexed in regular public search engines. The Dark Web can be looked at as a sub-set of the Deep Web. The content on the Dark Web is hidden intentionally.
The amount of content on the Dark Web is much less than on the Deep Web as a whole. The Dark Web makes up about 5% of the total Internet. It is necessary to monitor the Dark Wek on a regular basis for your sensitive information.
The Dark Web has been known to be used for criminal activities by novice and very advanced criminals and hackers. Half of the websites on the Dark Web host illicit or illegal material. It’s a marketplace for your stolen data. You can buy stolen passwords on the Dark Web. Should we monitor the Dark Web for our stolen data?
Websites on the Dark Web can only be accessed with the Tor browser, which can be downloaded for free at https://www.torproject.org.
Are Your Passwords For Sale on the Dark Web?
After the Equifax breach, I noticed some of my information had made it to the Dark Web. I monitor the Dark Web for my information, and so should you. I have found two of my passwords on the Dark Web. The information from the Equifax data breach I found two months before Equifax notified me that my data, including email and password, had been compromised.
I wasn’t surprised when I found my passwords on the Dark Web. Now the issue was to fix the problem. Dark Web monitoring is the only way to know, in a prompt manner, when your private information and passwords are on the Dark Web for sale. Two times in the past when I was performing Dark Web monitoring I found my passwords on the Dark Web for sale. I had been PWNED!
Here are some basic facts about the present dangers:
- Last year, more than 47% of adults were a victim of a hack or a breach that exposed their personal information.
- There are more than 30,000 websites that are hacked each day.
- There are more than 10,000,000,000 (ten billion) stolen passwords and usernames, and emails on the Dark Web.
Most people are aware that reusing passwords is a bad habit. However, more than two-thirds continue to use the same password or a variation of that password. Even on important online banking accounts, they continue this poor password management. That’s no way to prevent cybercrimes against yourself. Use a password manager and protect yourself from cybercrimes.
What Does it Mean to Have Your Password PWNED?
When you have had your password PWNED it simply means that the password is associated with an account that has been breached. If you want to do a little research to see if one of your passwords has been PWNED there is a free service that was created by Troy Hunt. Discussed later in more detail here.
The term PWNED also relates to gaming competition online where one player wins the game and messages back to the loser ‘You’ve been PWNED‘. The intended message was ‘You’ve been OWNED’. Obviously, the sender hit the ‘P’ key instead of the ‘O’ key. And, there’s another way to interpret the word. You’ve been PWNED, as your password being sold, like something being sold at a Pawn Shop.
What is dark web monitoring?
Dark web monitoring is the process of searching for and keeping track of personal information found on a portion of the internet not accessible via normal means.EXPERIAN
You should occasionally scan the dark web for your personal information. There are free tools you can use (next section) to monitor the Dark Web for email addresses and passwords. Some password managers have the capability built-in, like the Free Dashlane Password Manager.
Dashlane is an industry leader in security. It automatically alerts you about hacks and breaches that affect you and your privacy. It also makes suggestions and recommendations of actions to take. Get the Free Dashlane Password Manager Here. You will learn how to take action.
Tools to monitor your data on the Dark Web
There are both free tools and paid services that can scan and monitor the Dark Web for your private and sensitive details. Some of them are a one-time scan. It’s better than doing nothing, but you find a service you like and pay the fee for thorough scans and constant monitoring.
Here are a few free tools to use:
Experian — They offer a free Dark Web “Triple Scan“. It’s a one-time scan that will check for your Emails, phone numbers, and social security number, on the Dark Web.
BreachWatch — They offer a free data breach scan and maintain a Zero-Knowledge security policy. You can try it here.
Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor — This free service can help you find your data through a scanning and monitoring process. You can get Email alerts when your information is part of a known data breach.
Google’s Password Checkup — Like Dashlane, this feature is part of Google’s password manager service.
Dashlane Password Manager — Yeah, there’s a free version. You only need to upgrade to the paid version if you want to use it on more than one device. Dashlane Password Manager has an excellent Dark Web Scanner you can use to monitor your data on the Dark Web. The feature is available on the free version.
Often people confuse the Dark Web and the Deep Web. The parts of the World Wide Web that are not indexed in public search engines make up the Deep Web. For the most part, the content on the Deep Web is not malicious and not meant to harm anyone, and is usually legal.
There are a few differences with The Dark Web, it is difficult to monitor the Dark Web for stolen data and hard to get your stolen data off the dark web. The Dark Web has been known to be used for criminal activities by novice and very advanced criminals and hackers. Half of the websites on the Dark Web host illicit or illegal material.
You can buy stolen passwords on the Dark Web. That’s why you should monitor the Dark Web for your stolen data. Last year, more than 47% of adults were a victim of a hack or a breach that exposed their personal information. There are more than 10,000,000,000 stolen passwords and usernames, and emails on the Dark Web.
Read more: Protect yourself from online Identity theft
Read more: Understanding the Deep Web and the Dark Web