Most people have heard of the dark web, but unless you have a specific browser, you probably haven’t ever taken a look throughout it. These are websites and files you simply can’t access with Google or other popular browsers. They remain hidden and inaccessible from browsing unless you’re willing to access the proper tools to Find Out If My Info.
One popular browser for the dark web is a software called Tor. This anonymous browsing platform allows access to popular domains and websites and holds private “onion sites.” These websites will use the Tor browser to cloak their location, only allowing access through the specific network.
Legitimate uses for the Dark Web
While many people associate the dark web with illegal purposes, there are occasional reasons for using the service that isn’t nefarious. These include access to social media networks in areas that restrict the use, evading government censorship, and preventing Government influence of news.
Illegal uses for the Dark Web
Most often, the dark web is associated with criminal activities. This includes identity theft, the sale of drugs, and weapon purchasing. The anonymous nature makes tracking online usage virtually impossible, making it the perfect place for those with malicious intentions. It’s almost impossible to scan manually to find out whether your information is accessible on the dark web. There are trillions of site addresses on the dark web (only counting the Tor onion sites.
Finding Your Information Online
One of the easiest ways to find out if your information is available online is with a background check. These sites will include a dark web scan, which will scan these sites for your personal information. This information includes your details, accounts, passwords, or financial accounts. If your details are found on the dark web, the background screening will show the results in your report.
Once found, you can contact your financial institutions to determine how bad the compromise has been (it may be available online but not yet purchased from a thief). Securing your account with a new card, password, and account number may be required to ensure nothing is taken in the future. Always choose a secure password for your accounts whenever possible. Typically, this involves closing out the old account and opening a new account.
Other Methods of Scanning Account Compromise
If you’re trying to keep your personal information off of the dark web, prevention is always better than trying to limit the damage. Try to be mindful of your information online (and offline). Many credit card companies and bank accounts will offer free dark web scans with the report. These scans are often attached to specific accounts, as opposed to a generic scan. If your details show online, your financial institution will contact you.
Fixing the compromise will depend on the severity of the account compromise found with your card. This might include changing your account password, updating the account details, or suspending transactions online. While online identity theft is more common than stealing information offline, it does happen. To keep your data safe, here are a few tips to remember.
What information is typically stolen?
Your personal information online probably doesn’t fetch as much as you think it does. For thieves, securing any identifying details (like name, address, phone number, and SSN) can be used to open new accounts. Your financial accounts are also potential targets when looking to make a few dollars. Thieves will purchase bank, credit, or other financial accounts to illegally use the products online. Membership accounts like Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu are also common targets for easy access. Users will put these accounts on the dark web for purchase, hoping the users won’t recognize an additional user logging in. Benefit or insurance information can also be shared online, with many receiving medical benefits for pennies on the dollar.
Always Shred Your Information Before Recycling It
Anytime you’ve received paper documentation of accounts, shredding the paperwork is an essential step in protecting your information. This includes any current accounts, utilities, credit cards, or pending offers you receive in the mail. Never leave these details available in garbage cans or recycling bins. Take care to shred all documentation and disperse any leftover paperwork in multiple garbage bags.
Be Careful Purchasing Products and Filling Out Forms
With phishing attempts trying to collect your information, remain diligent about your personal information online. Always enter the company website into your browser (rather than following links or filling forms through email). Never open emails you don’t recognize. Most reputable companies won’t ask you to confirm your account information through email. If an account is compromised, you’ll receive communication through direct mail. If you’re concerned, contact the company directly through phone or online account.
Only Buy from Reputable Companies
Most reputable online websites will have SSL servers to keep your data safe and secure while making purchases. The SSL ensures that your credit card number, personal details (like name, address, and phone number), and account details remain hidden behind a wall of encryption. Encryption changes any details of the transactions into a series of numbers that are incomprehensible to anyone trying to view the file.