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With almost weekly news reports of data breaches and other related online crimes, you probably have come across the term the Dark Web before, but perhaps you don’t know what it means exactly, or how the activities which go on there can affect your business or yourself personally even if you never visit one of its sites.

What is the Dark Web?

Today, almost everyone is online. The internet is no longer just an amusing distraction for those who have the time and skills to access it, but it has grown to become an essential part of modern life. Yet the truth is that most people use, or even have access to, only a very small percentage of the web. The websites you can reach using browsers like Internet Explorer or Safari makes up just about a tenth of the total number of sites which exist. So, what makes up the other 90 percent of the web? Well, much of it is taken up by the Dark Web which is also known as the invisible web. In order to access the Dark Web, users need to use special programs, such as Tor, and Tor-based browsers, like Gram.

Much, but not all activity on the dark web is illegal. One of the most common illicit activities taking place on the Dark Web is the sale of private information. For just a few dollars, cybercriminals can purchase personal details such as pairs of usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical histories, and just about anything else which someone with malicious intents may find useful. The origins of many identify thefts and cases of banking fraud start with the sale of this information.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Business?

Thinking about any of your secure information falling into the hands of criminals is scary. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Find out if you or your company’s information is on the dark web by using software to monitor the Dark Web. Making regular scans of the dark web for your information is a critical way of preemptively protecting yourself before it is too late.
  • Take actions if you find your personal information for sale on the Dark Web by contacting your banking institutions, changing personal login information, and subscribing to a credit monitoring service to alert you to any strange activities.
  • Be smart online by being aware of phishing scams, using unique and complicated passwords for each site you use, and staying away from certain types of sites on the ‘normal’ web, and by avoiding the Dark Web yourself.

Protecting yourself and your business from online crime is your responsibility, but you don‘t have to do it alone — cybersecurity professionals can help.

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