Have you ever asked yourself the following question: what is dark web monitoring? For the majority of people, the answer is a resolute no. Most people haven’t heard of the dark web, let alone what dark web monitoring might mean. However, it turns out that the dark web is gaining popularity at a high level as we speak. For this reason, millions are already curious about what happens to their data if it is stolen. The fact is, a lot of stolen data appears on the dark web for sale, which might well already include your email addresses or sensitive data about your organization. This is why we must “monitor” our data on the dark web with some special tools!
The issue with stolen information is that it might be made public and provide a significant risk. For instance, fraudsters frequently threaten businesses with the publication of their data if a ransom is not paid. This information can be utilized in identity theft, financial fraud, and other much worse types of crimes because of the way it was shared. Searching through forums and databases is part of monitoring the dark web to find information that has been disclosed about you, your friends, or your family.
What is This Dark Web Monitoring? What is the Dark Web?
What is the dark web, first and foremost? The “dark web” is a collection of anonymous websites with the “.onion” extension that can only be accessed with specialist browsers like the Tor browser (The Onion Router, mainly, although other browsers do exist for different platforms).
The military-grade anonymity of the dark web, which began as an academic project decades ago just like the internet itself, makes it a favorable location for severely illegal operations including the sale of illegal drugs and the production of illicit pornography, among others. Additionally, it is used by hackers and cybercriminals to share and market a variety of personal data on individuals that they have obtained through fraud or hacking.
Regarding the monitoring component, black web monitoring searches forums and websites on the dark web for this type of disclosed material that is very often hoovered from millions of innocent individuals. When this kind of data is found by a dark web monitoring tool, the tool can notify users to take appropriate action to preserve their security and privacy.
Why Do You Need Dark Web Monitoring Anyway?
The types of personal information that dark web monitoring programs can gather include the following:
- Financial records (bank account numbers and credit card statements)
- Unique identifiers for individuals
- Telephone numbers
- Information about credit or debit cards
- Identity information and health information
- Email usernames and passwords
Even yet, this list does not include all of the data that hackers can access or steal. For instance, thieves on the dark web may use your social security number to file bogus tax returns or inquiries, or claims relating to health insurance or your credit card details for illicit purposes. This makes having black web monitoring at your disposal, in addition to the plethora of other technologies, you will learn about below, quite essential in this day and age.
Therefore, to combat dark web exploits and exposures involving you or anyone you know, remember that you will need to pay attention to your general cyber-hygiene as well as use a few cybersecurity tools daily to additionally sanitize your incoming and outgoing internet traffic.
The key essential tools you need to think about acquiring are a virtual private network (VPN), an antivirus, disposable email accounts (burner), and a password manager. Of course, you’ll want to use the paid versions of these tools rather than the free ones that you should steer clear of. Finally, you’ll need a dark web monitoring tool, such as Norton Lifelock. A tool like Norton Lifelock is specially crafted for dark web monitoring and comes with customer support should you need it.
Remember that premium VPNs, such as NordVPN and others, also have some dark web monitoring capabilities built-in. However, this should be used in conjunction with something more comprehensive, such as Lifelock, and should not be a substitute for specialized dark web monitoring software.
Simply put, the primary goal of dark web monitoring tools is to compare the user’s personal information to stolen or hijacked data found in dark web databases. With so much stolen data about millions of people out there, which you can easily check with an online tool such as “Have I Been Pwned”, it is vital that you monitor the dark web for information about you.
Tools for monitoring the dark web have also advanced significantly over the years, and there are now numerous excellent options that have all the bells and whistles, just as there are with all other modern-day software. This is because today’s best dark web monitoring tools are mostly automated and easy to use, which means they provide interactive alerts and constantly scan the dark web for information related to what you provide the tool.
Although technically possible, creating your dark web monitoring program or manually monitoring the dark web is extremely impractical. The idea might have entered your head several times, however, remember that such a thing is also not advisable to begin exploring the dark web if you have no prior experience. After all, it is a very dangerous place that novice users should not play around with.
In conclusion, there are thousands of places on the dark web where people can buy or sell their personal information, many of which are obfuscated or do not appear even in dark web search engines. As a result, you should continue to use a current dark web monitoring program, such as Norton Lifelock to find out if there is information about you floating around. Who knows, you might discover an old email address or old stolen credit card information out there (hopefully not!).
Stay safe out there on the dark web, and remember that you have the right to browse it in a safe, responsible manner!