Wondering how to find out if my information is on the dark web? With our guide, we help you locate your details and remove them, protecting your online privacy.
There are vast possibilities for people that are into the dark side of internet usage – the Dark Web itself. For people that are trading and selling data, this is a place where they can do that freely.
Criminals use a plethora of hacking forums and websites where they are trying to learn the black trades of the internet and trade or buy credit card accounts, personal information, bank statements, social security numbers, and many more sensitive data.
When it comes to getting your own details, internet criminals are trying to collect your data from various phishing scams and data breaches. There are way too many options for them to trick you and press you to share your personal data, not knowing that you are a victim of a fraudulent activity
Every user on the internet should be careful and not share bank accounts, financial information, and credit card numbers and avoid saving passwords on Google Chrome. This stolen personal information has its own price on the web and these cybercriminals are trying to benefit from it.
To get a better grasp of what is the dark web, internet gurus separated the internet into three layers:
- Surface Web
This is the web that all people are using and everybody is already acknowledged of. This is where everything legally is happening and most websites are hosted. Social media platforms, news outlet websites, e-commerce, and all the variations of the websites we know are here and this is the safest place on the internet when in comparison to the other two layers.
- Deep Web
The deep web hosts the sites that are invisible to the casual user and this is where most of the websites that require invitation or login are hosted. Many confidential data details like photos and videos that are in possession of certain websites are hidden on the deep web. This is considered the middle layer of the net and this is where bank statements, credit reports, and social security administration are hidden.
- Dark Web
This is the area that falls under the deep web and it is only accessible with special browsers and authorization. All the content that is shared and hosted on the dark web is not indexed and cannot be found with the regular search engines. This is the place where illegal stuff is going on and where you can set up a private network, called a darknet.
But how does everything work? How these people are actually getting and selling our data? Stay with us and understand how the dark web works and how can all of us be exposed to such scams and identity theft cases.
How does the dark web work?
The dark web is the space of the internet that is not easily accessible. This is where most of the illegal stuff is happening and you will need to use a specific browser to surf this area of the internet. Once you enter the dark web, you will need to know how to navigate it and locate what you are after.
To protect its users, the dark web browsers are using many layers of encryption and are providing the customers with very high anonymity – suitable for trading or selling forbidden products and services.
To access the dark web, you will need to use the Tor browser which actually is one of the largest browsers for such use and most people are going with this one when they access this side of the internet.
Tor ( The Onion Router) redirects the data via multiple encrypted layers and it helps to lose track of the actual location. Most of the websites where you will be able to find your misused data end with the extension .onion
When it comes to using the Tor browser, everybody can use it and access the dark web, since it is free and you can download it on your computer. The thing is that the US government and the state department are behind this browser, making it legal to be used by everyone.
To summarize the usage of the dark web, we can freely say that there are only several legit businesses and companies that are using it and aside from that it is mostly used for any unusual activity – mostly criminal.
How do dark web scans work?
Scanning dark web sites is not a simple process. This is called dark web monitoring and when companies that are hosting certain darknet are releasing a data breach or dumping data that goes public, this is an opportunity to stroll through this data and check if you can find something useful.
The term data dump refers to releasing usernames and passwords to certain webs that require login on all three layers of the internet. Besides the credentials, there are also dumps from credit bureaus, online health records, medical records, driver’s licenses, and social security numbers that various identity thieves gathered all around.
Once these details are used, they are dumped and when no longer needed can be posted on the dark forums where are finally sold to any interested party. The dark web scan refers to checking these leaked details that are found on the dark web.
So if some tool or service provider is scanning the dark web on your request, in case they find your details, they will let you know that you’ve been found on any of those databases.
Do not be fooled that they will be able to scour the whole dark web. They are only checking the web lists that they are aware of and any public leaks they have access to. There is no possibility to scan the whole dark part of the internet.
What should I do if my info is on the dark web?
Before we continue with some steps that you can do in order to take action about your data found on the dark web, we want to suggest some guides to protect your data before the leak happens.
For starters, try to use some password manager service or tool that will protect your credentials from possible data breaches. If your data is secure, then you should not worry about unwanted exposure. Also, for additional protection, activate two-factor authentication on the login pages where this option is available.
The next point that you need to avoid is to connect to any public wi-fi networks. No matter if you are using Tor or any regular search engine like Google, you will have your details exposed. Since these networks are open, there is a possibility for a hacker to enter your device using the network – and if this happens, your data is available to them.
Unfortunately, besides contacting the dark webmasters and request removing your data from their websites, there is nothing much you can do if your details are already publicly available on the dark internet.
You will not be able to post fraud alerts or monitor the entire dark web. But do not fret, there are some additional steps you can take in order to prevent any potential misuse of your details. Here is what you can do:
- Place a credit freeze in order to avoid hackers opening credit in your name and misusing your bank account.
- Obtain free credit reports and check if there are any fraudulent charges. The credit report will show your status regularly since if you are a victim of identity theft, this might help you restore your credit standings. This is a free service that you can use if you find your data exposed.
- When it comes to suspicious activity on your social security number, you can create a mySocial Security account and claim your number with your name to avoid anyone else creating an account in your name. Also, you can report this to any Social Security office physically.
- In terms of protecting your account passwords, try to generate new passwords and have a habit of changing passwords regularly. Have secure email accounts that you are going to use as backup emails to recover passwords.
- If you locate your driver’s license details on the dark web, the one thing that you can do is to report that to the Department of Motor Vehicles with the details that your license is compromised.
- A passport number can also are traded online. Report this to the closest police station, no matter the country you are residing in.
To be truthful, sensitive information is traded online daily, and many other online accounts suffer from identity data theft. The entire dark web is full of such details and this is the place where online privacy is damaged the most.
The world wide web and the normal web browsers are in focus for attack since they have the most users with minimal experience, being careless with using their credit card number and sharing sensitive info. If you do this, you are exposing yourself to being attacked and having your data traded or sold.
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