In the last year, you’ve probably heard nightmares of the dark web and the illegal activities that take place on it. Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. The dark web is a perilous place where hackers can buy and sell your personal information, like social security numbers, health records, and credit card numbers.
What Is the Dark Web?
Think of it like an iceberg. Only a small portion of the entire iceberg is visible above water while the rest lies beneath. This is the same for the World Wide Web. What you see is not all that is out there. It’s actually made up of three components:
- The Surface Web – these websites and pages can be accessed through search engines or by typing an address into a browser. For example, biztechnologysolutions.com and techtarget.com are both part of the surface web.
- The Deep Web – this is everything else on the Internet not found by search engines. Your Amazon account and private Facebook profile are both on the deep web. Nobody can find them as they’re not being indexed by search engines.
- The Dark Web – it exists within the deep web since it’s not accessible by everyday search engines like Google and Bing. Instead, users must download special software that masks IP addresses and leaves visitors anonymous.
The anonymity is what makes it so powerful. It gives a voice to the afraid, like whistleblowers and citizens from countries with strict censorship policies, but also allows hackers to roam free without any surveillance, making it unbelievably dangerous.
How to Protect Your Information from the Dark Web
Since your personal information is such a hot commodity, you must have proper security protections in place to prevent data from ending up in the wrong hands.
Here’s 5 ways to keep your personal information away from hackers and off the dark web:
- Enable two-step authentication on all online accounts even social media. In addition to entering your password, you’ll also want the site to send a code to your phone or email verifying it’s you.
- Monitor your credit consistently and set up alerts to notify of any new inquiries or accounts.
- Practice safe and secure password management. This means changing your password every 30 to 90 days and using a different password for every account.
- Have a plan in place for when your information gets breached. You should always assume that it could happen to you. Then, immediately execute your plan when it does happen. This might include freezing your accounts and alerting authorities.
- Run a Dark Web Scan to see if your information is already out there. This can be done for both your personal and business information.