The Dark Web: What You Need to Know
Many people don’t realize that the Internet was built with layers below the surface, and the deepest of all has become a favorite spot for shadowy criminals—the Dark Web.
So, what is the Dark Web, and why should you care about it?
Most of our internet browsing takes place on or near the surface, with the help of search engines like Google and Yahoo. They lead us to publicly accessible websites with names that often end in dot-com, dot-org and dot-gov.
Some of our Web activity takes place a bit farther down. This may be for content in a personal account you must log onto—content that is not indexed by search engines, such as your financial data, medical records and legal documents. This more private layer of the internet is called the Deep Web.
Finally, there is a truly secluded level of the internet that was designed to give users total anonymity. The government built it decades ago so that intelligence officials could share sensitive information without fear of eavesdroppers. Users and their location cannot be traced.
This is the Dark Web. While it has legal uses, and some non-criminal forums and blogs prefer to operate in secrecy, it’s no surprise that the Dark Web is fertile ground for an array of illicit markets. This includes trafficking in personal identification data, such as financial account numbers, Social Security numbers, user names, email addresses and even medical records. Identity thieves can purchase packets of personal data to be used in identity theft.
Information hacked in data breaches can find a home on the Dark Web. This is one more reason to take steps to guard your data and protect yourself from fraud.
- Always be discreet about sharing personal data.
- Regularly change passwords.
- If you suspect your identity has been hacked, place an alert on your credit file with one of the major credit reporting agencies—or take the next step and place a freeze on your credit.
But even these prudent measures cannot guarantee protection in today’s world of cybercrime. A tech solution can provide a stronger answer to a tech threat. A service such as EverSafe will monitor the Dark Web for financial mischief involving your name, in addition to analyzing daily transactions in all your financial accounts, and sending out alerts if anything looks amiss.