No doubt you have heard of the dark web
Movies, books, and news articles tell you that the dark web is a hotbed of crime. For the majority of North Americans and Canadians, that is the extent of what most people understand about the dark web.
Did you know the dark web is where stolen identity information is often sold, bought and traded? Identity theft is increasing each year and much of it can be sourced back to the dark web and data breaches. In light of this trend, it is important for you to understand dark web marketplaces, what is traded or sold on them and how dark web identity protection can help keep your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) safe from prying eyes.
Let us shed some light on the dark web
The internet is essentially broken up into three separate categories: surface web, deep web and dark web.
- Surface web: This is the part of the internet with which you are probably most familiar. Pages that live on the surface web are indexed by search engines, such as Google and Bing, and are easily accessible. For example, when you perform a search on the health benefits of your favorite food, you are using the surface web to look up that information.
- Deep web: The deep web, also known as the invisible web or hidden web, is not as scary as it sounds. The name indicates that these pages are not indexed by search engines so you won’t be able to find them on Google or Bing. Online banking accounts, secure online portals for healthcare or secure academic webpages are examples of pages you can access on the deep web. The deep web is 4,000-5,000 times larger than the surface web.
- Dark web: The dark web can only be accessed through certain web browsers, like Tor or I2P. These browsers are designed specifically for anonymity, which is how users can perform different activities on the dark web. Whereas surface and deep web URLs end with “.com,” “.org,” etc., dark web page URLs on Tor end in “.onion” to show that they are hidden sites, unable to be accessed without a special web browser like The Onion Router (TOR). The dark web is used for many different purposes. Some people use it for legitimate entertainment, such as joining a chess club or becoming a member of BlackBook (the dark web’s version of Facebook). Others go on the dark web for privacy in countries where government eavesdropping is common, or where certain activities are banned (e.g. reading the Holy Bible). And some simply use it because they want complete privacy and do not want any of their data tracked by websites, Google, etc.
However, most online illegal activity is conducted on the dark web as well—such as identity theft. People use the dark web to trade, sell and buy controlled or illegal items. Stolen identity information is often posted for sale on the dark web in numerous marketplaces, creating the perfect haven for criminals looking to engage in dark web identity theft. The types of information most commonly sold on the dark web include usernames, passwords and Social Security numbers.
If criminals have this data or other PII, they can access your online bank accounts, health records and other sensitive information. Then they can steal your money, fraudulently obtain health care services in your name and conduct other illegal activity using your identity. A stolen identity, in its digital form, can be altered or copied so quickly that it is difficult to find once it is made available on the dark web—making dark web identity monitoring difficult for the inexperienced.
Nothing is 100% guaranteed to keep your personal information safe from identity theft but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be monitoring it. Early detection is key to mitigating financial loss and reducing the time to restore your identity if it is stolen. Dark web identity protection is also an early indicator of other types of identity theft, so it is one of the most critical elements of your PII to monitor.
IDShield is dedicated to helping monitor your personal information on the dark web
IDShield provides identity theft monitoring and aggregates that data for you from many different sources, including the dark web. The dark web is confusing, and it is inadvisable to explore it if you don’t know what you are doing. Even if you know how to access the dark web, it is practically impossible to keep track of everything that happens on the dark web to keep track of your own data. It is unreasonable for one person to be expected to monitor all the dark websites, forums and chat rooms where cybercriminals buy, sell and trade stolen personal information. Simply set up your IDShield monitoring and let us do the work for you.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see www.idshield.com. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice or assistance. If you are a LegalShield member, you should contact your Provider Law Firm.