The dark web is something that has come up a lot in recent years; however it has actually been around for some time now. Its rise in popularity by the mainstream population is likely due to dramatizations in the media, such as through the exposing of hackers who ‘lurk on the dark web’, huge drug marketplaces namely the Silk Road which garnered international attention when it was taken down, to all kinds of nasty things that you could not find on the ‘clear net’ (normal Internet).
The truth is the dark web does contain some things that you would definitely not be able to find on the clear net, and whose legality would be questioned. However, it is a rather dull and boring place, and if you are looking for some of the dramatizations you see on the Internet, you are likely to find nothing interesting. The dark web is more reminiscent of the Internet when it first came out, simple web pages and graphics with no holds barred content.
On the dark web, there is a lucrative business in the stealing and selling of data, whether that be individual data such as credit card information and so on, or corporation data which can be used for insider trading and ease of access to their systems. These are all obviously quite valuable and also sensitive bits of data which you definitely would not like to end up in the hands of someone with bad intentions. For these reasons, dark web monitoring tools have become increasingly popular, in order to identify, analyze and inform about whether or not your information has been compromised and is currently floating around on the dark web.
Here is everything you need to know about the dark web and dark web monitoring:
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a name for parts of the Internet which cannot be accessed by a regular Internet browser. Rather, a browser named the Tor browser, created by the Tor project, is used to access these sites. The Tor browser was created as a way to ensure anonymity for all users against government agencies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and whoever else might be watching.
The Tor browser works in a way that makes it very difficult to track what someone is doing online. It does this by directing traffic between different ‘nodes’ which are in different locations, before exiting at the last node. This makes it very difficult for anyone to see what they are doing, as the traffic is being relocated a few times rather than going directly to the source. The Tor browser does not use regular .com websites; rather it uses .onion sites which are the only sites it can access. The dark web is used primarily for criminal purposes, but also by those looking to get around government monitoring, especially in more oppressed countries.
Why are people worried about their data?
In the modern age, cyber-crime is at an all-time high, and blackhat hackers are constantly looking for ways to breach systems to steal data in order to profit.
The dark web provides an area for this stolen data to be sought after, traded and purchased for their own reasons. There are many marketplaces available on the dark web which offer stolen credit card information for people to use at ATMs to withdraw cash, stolen information for applications such as Uber, Facebook, Instagram and so on, and also corporation data which could provide an advantageous position for traders (insider trading) as well as information to breach their systems. Although cyber security is getting stronger and stronger every year, blackhat hackers will constantly be monitoring for ways to breach systems, and there will always be a vulnerability or a bug to exploit in order to breach a system. Therefore, there will always be times when data is leaked and stolen, and there will always be a market for it too. Because of the constant danger of systems breaches, demand for cyber security is sky high, as the implications of leaked data can be devastating for corporations and individuals, both financially and in terms of more information being stolen.
What is dark web monitoring and why should you use it?
As previously mentioned, the threat of system breaches and stolen and leaked data is constant, and corporations and individuals are constantly looking for ways to upgrade their cyber security to prevent this. As per UTMStack dark web monitoring involves the use of tools that constantly monitor, identify and inform an individual or corporation if their compromised data has made it to the dark web, and is possibly on the market for purchase or trading. By being informed your data has been compromised, you will be able to take the necessary actions to prevent the data from being usable, and also to implement further measures in order to identify and prevent the breach from happening again.
The type of information usually stolen are names, phone numbers, email addresses, credit card information, corporation data as well as traffic data.
This is the type of information that you definitely do not want people with bad intentions getting a hold of. For example, you use your dark web monitoring tools to scour through the dark web, and it informs you that your credit card information (and the information that comes with it) and your email address and passwords have been found on the dark web. Knowing this could end badly, you call your bank and notify them of this, and you cancel your credit card and get a new one with new information. You also update your email address password, or create a new and unique one with a complex password.
This renders the information that was stolen and placed on the dark web useless, and people with bad intentions can no longer use it. Furthermore, you can identify the breach and implement measures to prevent it from happening again, thus strengthening your cyber security. As you can see, dark web monitoring tools can be especially useful for just about anyone with any form of online presence, and especially for corporations who can be severely impacted by data breaches. Identification of stolen data and information, updating of this information and future prevention of breaches through implemented measures is the best way to combat cyber-crime, and these tools can help you to do so.
In summary, the dark web is not something new, but it has only garnered attention to itself in the past recent years due to an increase in cyber-crime involving system breaches and stolen data and information. This information can be widely traded and purchased online, and thus dark web monitoring tools are especially useful to identify this and prevent it from happening again.
Data and information are valuable assets in the modern age, and should be treated as such; thereby the investment into cyber security tools such as dark web monitoring software is an investment into the security of yourself and your corporation. The dark web is not something to be feared, but to be researched thoroughly in order to keep up to date on the protections needed to keep your data and information safe.