How To Proceed On Finding Your Information On Dark Web?
- Alex Smith
Updated on: 15/02/2023
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Finding your information online is not any new incident. However, this is much scary as to what the data available online could mean. There are chances of data exploitation. This could also mean that you might have experienced stolen money from your bank account. The real issue is what the hackers do after exploiting your stolen information. Probably they will sell your information at a great deal on the dark web. Hackers can sell a variety of information on dark web. This includes your email id, password, credit card details, debit card details, SSN, and various other data linked to these sources.
Essential Points To Note:
- Hackers find ways to hack your crucial data to exploit in one or more ways.
- Your leaked information can end up on one or more websites on the dark web.
- It is important to conduct frequent dark web scan that exposes if any of your crucial data is on the darknet.
- If you find your information on dark web, you must take necessary steps to prevent further data leaks or causing more harm to yourself.So, how to make sure that you are not a victim of identity theft and fraud? Identity theft can be curbed though. If you find your information on dark web, what should be your next steps? Well, we will explain all of these in this article. But before that, it is essential to know what is the dark web and how it works. Here we will answer your question about what does the dark web contain?
Table of Contents
- What Is Dark Web? How Does It Work?
- What does the dark web look like? what does the dark web contain? How does the dark web and the deep web different?
- How To Find My Information On Dark Web?
- What To Do If I Find My Information On The Dark Web?
- To Sum Up…
What Is Dark Web? How Does It Work?
The dark web, as the name suggests, it is the hidden web. When you are browsing the internet or finding data from the web, checking websites or reading articles, or making purchases, you are using the “Surface Web”. The surface web is also known by other names, such as ‘Clearnet’ or ‘Clear Web’. Clearnet is just 5% of the entire web. The remaining 95% comprises the deep web (Deepnet/deepweb) and dark web (darknet/darkweb). Of the heavy layer of 95%, just a small portion of 5% is the dark web. The other huge portion is the deep web.
What does the dark web look like? What does the dark web contain? How does the dark web and the deep web different?
Often the deep web and the dark web are confused and thus used interdependently. What people fail to understand is the activities in these segments make these two different. The deep web, comprising 90% of the internet, is any content that you cannot access without some form of authentication such as a username and password. These generally offer data privacy to government bodies, schools, colleges, and various companies. Some of the other things that are inclusive of this layer of the web are:
- Your email
- Your social media accounts
- Private company databases
- Your online banking accounts
- Research and academic content
- Gated content
The third layer or the dark web is a place where you cannot get through using Google or any usual browser. On the counterpart, you will require any specialized browser such as TOR (The Onion Router). This permits you to access the .onion websites (the websites on the darknet possess .onion extensions).
The Tor browser can easily be downloaded from the Tor Project where your traffic is routed through the Tor network becoming anonymized to a point. This makes it difficult to trace your location or your IP address. Additionally, a trusted VPN is used mostly as the privacy of the Tor browser is not completely dependable. This also helps to conceal your location and IP address.
How is it possible? Well, your traffic via the Tor browser moves through or ‘bounces’ via several random nodes till it reaches its destination. Owing to these features, the dark web is especially important for those who crave anonymity. That said, the dark web also often invites cyber criminals who tend to buy or sell your data. Security vulnerabilities can also help hackers to extract your personal information and take advantage of that. Now you know what is the dark web and how does it work.
How To Find My Information On Dark Web?
We have already mentioned what is the dark web and how does it work. As already stated that dark web is a hidden part of the internet where usual browsers cannot take you. We have already discussed what does the dark web look like? So, how do you find out is your information on the dark web?
There are obviously dark web scan options on the internet that will help you to find out if your info on dark web is available. AI in cybersecurity is also aiding to curb such situations. Here are some of the most common dark web scan tools. Let us have a look at them.
1. Have I Been Pwned?
“Have I Been Pwned?” is a website that is often recommended for a dark web scan. If you have been asking “is my email compromised?” or “is my information on the dark web?”, this is where you will get the answer. The word “pwned” is a video gaming term that is used to mean ‘defeat an opponent or rival’. The name of the website is apt for people whose personal information might have been compromised.
The website lets you find out if your email has been breached or if your info on dark web is available. The smooth and easy user interface with a huge search field on the home page makes it easier to put your email id or phone number and check. Additionally, it also helps you to find out if your password has been bypassed and is up on the darknet.
2. Alert Logic
Alert Logic offers an account takeover prevention system that helps companies to prevent hackers from taking over their client’s accounts. This service usually compiles a list of the compromised accounts of a client and sends you a monthly report of the accounts that are at risk. However, you will have to book a demo if you would like to use their managed detection and response (MDR) services. Dark web scan is just a part of these services for public clouds, Software as a service (or SaaS), on-premises, and hybrid environments.
3. Echosec Beacon
Echosec Beacon is another dark web monitoring service that tells you if your financial or personal data have been sold on the darknet. This primarily works similarly to a search engine. On their website, you will have to enter your details that you feel can be compromised such as name, email id, or SSN. After receiving the request, the website will return proper details by searching through the host of the dark web markets and the social websites where your data seems to appear.
These are just a few of the most popular dark web monitoring tools that help you to get the answer to “is my information on the dark web”. You can also explore other dark web scanning tools or darknet scanners such as:
What To Do If I Find My Information On The Dark Web?
Assume that you find your data on the dark web following a proper dark web scan. What should be your next steps? Here are some tips on what you need to make a priority:
1. Run A Virus Scan On Your Computer
If any of your personal data or financial data is on the darknet, changing a password will not be enough. If there are viruses or malware on your system and they extract credentials, you will again lose your new credentials and data with it. You will again have to worry about whether my information was found on the dark web.
Thus, it is essential to find out if your computer is infected with malware that alerts the hacker of your changes. If malware such as ransomware resides in your system, then you might be a victim of double extortion ransomware attacks. Take necessary steps to remove the malware or virus as soon as you detect it.
2. Change Passwords Immediately
After you are done removing the malware or virus from your system, you need to proceed with changing the passwords of all of your accounts. Check if you have reused the same password on other accounts as well. Ensure each account has its individual unique password. Never use the same password for all of your accounts. Additionally, make sure to follow the key best practices for choosing a password. Check out the passwords dos and donts.
3. Avoid Data Brokers & People Search Sites
The main motive of the data brokers and the people search sites is to share your information online. They even share your email addresses. The people search sites and data broking sites these days are solely used by black hat hackers and scammers. These sites help them to create and hold huge databases of the victims for targeting them.
4. Secure Your Accounts With Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
In order to signup for any website, a lot of the websites permit you to directly signup with your Google, Facebook, or email accounts. This is because the procedure is much more convenient and does not require too many steps. However, the issue with this is that if a scammer or hacker has access to any of these accounts, they are likely to exploit the other accounts associated with them.
That said, there are prevention measures as well. This includes the usage of multi-factor authentication (MFA) or Two Factor Authentication (2FA). This step adds an additional step such as an SMS, a code, or a token to verify the login attempt. If they are unaware of the secret code, SMS, or token for the authentication, they will not be able to log in to your accounts.
The bad news in this aspect is that the hackers have found a new method to bypass the 2FA or MFA seamlessly. If you are knowledgeable about phishing whereabouts and how to prevent them, you can still save your info on dark web storage. Additionally, you must check out various ways to prevent data breaches.
5. Segregate Unimportant Profiles
The more online accounts you have, the more you are prone to have your accounts breached. Therefore, you are required to prioritize your accounts depending on their actual importance. If you signup for any account just for once, you can use Tempmail or a similar service or have a separate email. This specific email must be used for the least-priority accounts. Use different email accounts for your personal and financial data. You may also go ahead and choose a secure email service provider such as Protonmail, Private Mail, Mailbox.org, Zoho Mail, Posteo, etc. Never use these to signup for other low-priority or other online accounts. If you are employed, you should follow the cyber safety rules at work to prevent accidental data leaks.
If you feel that you have undergone a huge loss and that requires the involvement of some legality, you should opt for digital forensics from a top cybersecurity agency.
To Sum Up…
My information was found on the dark web. What to do now? You can easily be a victim of data theft or identity theft at any time if you are not aware of what is the dark web and how does it work. This is the reason you need to learn how to find out if you have your information on dark web. What you should do in this scenario is what you have to learn next. Cybersecurity awareness is thus necessary.
Thankfully, there are various online cyber threat intelligence services. These help you to scan and search the dark web to find out if your information on dark web is up for sale. Once you find out about a compromised account, you should follow the tips shared here to prevent further account breaches and data loss.