You've probably heard, read about, or experienced data leaks and breaches. However, you may not know where the information goes after the cyber incident. Well, this article aims to enlighten you; thus, you'll get all the answers to the questions you've been asking yourself.
Ideally, when a data breach occurs, it ends up in a network of unknown (anonymized) websites known as the Dark web. Knowing that you can't access these sites using the regular browsers you usually use is essential. It would be best to have a browser specially made for dark websites if you want to explore those lines.
Once your organization or personal data has been compromised and is on the dark web, the perpetrators put it up for sale for their selfish gain. Besides making it accessible for buyers, they may also post the data on open forms. Thus, your private information becomes public and accessible to everyone. It can be super risky since there's a high chance of experiencing identity theft and financial fraud.
To know if your information has been leaked, it's essential to get dark web monitoring from experts. It, ideally, is the process of searching databases and forums on the dark web to ascertain whether there's any leaked information.
Before you do that, though, here's all that you need to know about dark web monitoring:
The Type Of Data That Dark Web Monitoring Software Search For
As earlier indicated, dark web monitoring tools search for compromised data and information on the dark web. Examples of such crucial information include:
- Financial statements and records like bank account numbers
- Phone numbers
- Debit and credit card details
- ID numbers
- Medical records
- Social security numbers
- Email addresses plus their passwords
Other business-related risks that dark web monitoring can pick include:
- Criminal chatrooms
- Peer-to-peer leaks
- Third-party breaches
- Brand misuse
- Domain spoofing
- Accidental leaks
If critical data is exposed, whether personal or for a business, it can cause significant damage. For example, fraudsters can use your bank account number and password to withdraw all money in your account.
Also, they may use your credit card credentials to do illegal transactions, thus putting you at risk of criminal charges. There are many other potential consequences of a data breach, but the good thing is that dark web monitoring helps minimize the chances of undergoing these threats.
How The Data Gets To The Dark Web
If a data breach occurred, a cybercriminal took the data without your permission. Here are some ways which make it possible for your data to get compromised:
- Weak Wi-Fi: When you connect your devices to a Wi-Fi network whose passwords aren't protected, anyone can see all you're doing on the connected device. Thus, it becomes easy for them to leak critical information.
- Data breach: This is a scenario where hackers hack into your system and steal your information.
- Offline data: If you don't carefully place or dispose of paper statements or bills with your name and address, they may be the first step towards your security getting compromised.
- Weak Online Security: A hacker can intercept your data if you've visited an unencrypted website. They do this by integrating a meddler-in-the-middle attack whereby the perpetrator places themselves between the application and the user to get information.
Once the cybercriminals have used the above methods to get information like the name, bank account details, and address, they package them in data sets known as 'fullz.' They then sell this data depending on the market demand and the value of the victim's assets. It doesn't only apply to an individual but also to an organization.
The Reason Why You Need To Use Data Monitoring Tools
You can't entirely trust the internet because many people have malicious motives. Thus, you must be frontline to protect your personal and organization's data and identity through dark web monitoring. It will help reduce the chances of fraudsters getting access to your information.
The monitoring tools enable you to identify and recover all the compromised data like logins, trade secrets, and proprietary intelligence. They also notify your business if there's an impending attack or if it has already happened.
So, ideally, dark web monitoring helps you detect risks beforehand and helps you put strategies in place to combat the threat before it adversely affects your business.
You Can't Do Dark Web Monitoring On Your Own
As much as it's possible to create your monitoring program, it's not as easy as it sounds. It's almost impractical since the leaked data can be found on one of the many websites that sell the information.
Thus, you'll need a lot of computational power to scan the web pages, which isn't easy. That is why you need to outsource experts or a monitoring tool to help you through the process.
A monitoring tool like 'Have I Been Pwned' can help you get on-time notifications and alerts and constantly check your information's security.
It's essential, however, to put in mind that these dark web monitoring tools can use websites and openly available forums. For this reason, if the cybercriminal has posted the stolen data on the dark web or a private site, the tools won't be able to detect that. However, dark web monitoring tools are better and more efficient than most security tools since they're thorough and reliable.
Measures To Take If You Find Your Content On The Dark Web
You can try your best to incorporate dark web monitoring, but that doesn't guarantee that your information will be 100% secure. There's a high probability that your data can get compromised and leaked online. Thus when you find yourself in such a situation, here's what to do:
There are many ill things that fraudsters can do with your leaked debit or credit card details, like, for instance, taking a loan and withdrawing cash. Thus, when the data monitoring tool notifies you that they suspect your bank or credit card details have been leaked, it's essential to call the concerned financial providers to block them. You'd also want to freeze all the credit lines that you're using.
Moreover, it would be best that you keep checking your bank account to confirm if any transaction that you haven't done has taken place. If you notice a transaction you didn't perform, it would be best to contact your bank or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their website. It will help reduce any chances of losing money or your identity. And, in case it happens, you'll easily track these people.
If cyber criminals get your phone number, they can easily do identity theft or financial fraud. At this juncture, it would be wise if you changed your phone number. This will help prevent future scams and all other effects of data leakage.
Sometimes it may be challenging to change your number since you use it for personal and business use. In this case, you must be alert and watchful to see whether you can see anything suspicious, like text messages from unidentified people. Also, avoiding picking up calls or responding to unknown numbers would be best. A caller ID like True caller can help you in such a situation.
The type of password that has been leaked determines the measure you'll take. For instance, if it's a password to a site like Netflix, data leakage isn't a problem. However, it would be best to change those logins, especially if you've used the same password for another site. Ensure that you create a unique password that will enhance your security.
Essentially, it's essential that you immediately act on your dark web monitoring tools to detect any cybercriminal activity happening.
How To Conceal Your Information From The Dark Web
An adage does, prevention is better than cure. Hence, you'd want to protect your information from getting stolen or leaking as the first thing. It's, of course, not a guarantee that your data will be entirely safe, but that will minimize the chances of your data getting compromised. Some of the ways to achieve this security include:
Using A Virtual Private Network (VPN):
A VPN helps in protecting your network connection when using a public network. It means that prying individuals, especially those with ill intentions, won't be able to observe your activities. Therefore, it's essential to use a renowned VPN brand when visiting dangerous or dark web pages for better network security.
Use A Password Manager To Create And Manage Passwords:
Using a strong password is one of the most effective ways to keep off hackers from successfully conducting a data breach. Therefore, you'd want to create a complex and lengthy password that no one can easily guess.
The problem, however, with creating such a password is remembering it. For that reason, you can try using a password manager to help you build strong passwords and keep them in a protected and encrypted database. It will help reduce your chances of being susceptible to data leakages.
Dark web monitoring involves searching forums and databases to ascertain whether business or personal information has been leaked. You need to know the following about data web monitoring: its importance, whether you can do it alone, ways to conceal information from the dark web, and types of data to search for. It will help you gain a more enlightening understanding of cybersecurity's importance.