What is Dark Web Monitoring and How Does It Work?

    What is Dark Web Monitoring and How Does It Work?

    Reports of identity theft and fraud have skyrocketed over the last decade, and with it, the huge losses incurred by American consumers and employees who have fallen victim. At the same time, the so-called “dark web”, venue for much of this criminal activity, lurks silently beneath the internet. With the above in mind, we wanted to turn our attention to a service our readers may have seen advertised by cybersecurity companies: “dark web monitoring”. What is it? Read on the low-down. 

    What Is the Dark Web? 

    The dark web is the hidden part of the internet. It makes up approximately 5% of internet content, and is part of a much larger area known as the deep web, which conversely makes up a huge 90% of the internet. The dark web, which can only be accessed via specific browsers, is a series of websites that require specific authorization to enter. Dark websites allow users unparalleled anonymity due to encryption software such as the Tor (short for The Onion Router) browser. Unlike the surface web, the dark web does not use information available on search engines like Google or Bing; instead, it utilizes content from individual sources: forums, email, social media, and company databases. These features are why the dark web is an enticing place to do business for criminals. 

    3 Parts of the Web - surface web, deep web and dark web
    3 Parts of the Web. Source: Tulane University  

    What Is Dark Web Monitoring? 

    Dark web monitoring is a cybersecurity service that involves scanning the dark web for your sensitive information and PII. It’s a central element in identity theft protection, in that it allows you to proactively respond to leaked data before damage is done. Dark web monitoring works by scanning many thousands of websites every day for evidence of your information — if this is found, you’ll be alerted. Examples of the kinds of websites that the scanner will search include marketplaces, forums, and chat rooms.  

    Trend Micro’s ID Security, which currently offers a one-month free trial, offers precisely this service. Its dark web monitoring tool will scan the dark web for your personal information, including up to 5 email addresses, 5 bank account numbers, and 10 credit card numbers. If your data is ever leaked, you’ll know about it instantly. Give it a go today and enjoy 24/7 comprehensive personal data monitoring. 

    Should You Be Worried About the Dark Web? 

    The dark web is not illegal, and accessing it is completely lawful. Nonetheless, the dark web does have a well-earned reputation for illegal content and activity taking place within it. For example, it is the go-to place for cybercriminals to buy and sell stolen credentials, such as credit card numbers, email addresses, passwords, and Social Security numbers. 

    Aside from identity theft, it is also a venue for many other criminal ventures, including: 

    • The buying and selling of illegal drugs,  
    • Malware trading, 
    • Weapons dealing, 
    • Counterfeit goods,  
    • Prostitution, 
    • Human trafficking, 
    • Money laundering, 
    • And illegal pornography. 

    In summary, the dark web is not illegal — but most activities that people use it for are illegal.  

    Why You Need Dark Web Monitoring Services

    We are all to some extent at risk from the dangers of the dark web — regardless of whether we use it or not. Aside from the abundance of viruses, trojans, and ransomware due to lax security provisions, the dark web is the go-to marketplace for stolen credentials and PII. Last year, the FBI estimated that losses from cybercrime reached almost $7 billion — much of this takes place on the dark web. Your data is of great value and at great risk: dark web monitoring will reduce that risk. 

    Protecting Your Identity and Personal Info 

    Compromised personal data can have serious consequences, including identity theft, financial fraud, and job losses. The best thing you can do is a) have reliable cybersecurity protection, and b) ensure you will find out ASAP in the event of being affected. We would encourage readers to head over to our new FREE ID Protection platform, which has been designed to meet these challenges.  

    Trend Micro Free ID Protection_ID Panda

    With ID Protection, you can: 

    1. Check to see if your data (email, number, password, social media) has been exposed in a leak, 
    2. Secure your social media accounts with our Social Media Account Monitoring tool, with which you’ll receive a personal report, 
    3. Receive the strongest tough-to-hack password suggestions from our advanced AI. 
    Trend Micro Free ID Protection_ID Panda_Email Check.jpg

    All this for free — why not give it a go today? As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a secure 2023!  

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    • By David Williams | June 23, 2023