Waiting in the Shadows: What is the Dark Web?

As long as the internet has been around, it has always had multiple layers to it and most people don’t even know what these layers have in them. The dark internet is one of those layers and for many years it’s been a place where only a few have dared to go. But more and more law enforcement personnel in cybercrime task forces have started peeling back the layers of this part of the internet, and what they’ve found is not pretty. If you’ve watched certain cable news channels, you may have seen ads about a dark web scan that you can have done and the reasons you should. But it’s also helpful to know more about this area of cyberspace and how you can prevent it from affecting you.

Waiting in the Shadows: What is the Dark Web

Common Activities On The Dark Side Of The Web

One way to think of the dark internet is like a black market just as there is for illegal weapons dealers, animal poachers, and jewelry thieves, though in this case, it’s primarily where identity thieves hideout. Other activities that have taken place on the dark internet over the years include uploading and downloading pirated software and media, distribution of child pornography, cryptocurrency trading and other illegal activities. There are many ways hackers and cyber criminals get to this dark area, but a browser that has been used a lot for it is TOR, a browser that was originally made to be used by the US Navy but then went open source and has become a gateway browser to the dark internet. There have been a few people who have used the anonymous corners of the internet for personal protection at times when they’ve published stories that exposed wrongdoings at certain corporations or in foreign countries, but for the most part, those are not places you should go.

How Information Ends Up On The Dark Internet

Sometimes people don’t realize just how much information they’ve filled out on social media and have displayed publicly, and identity thieves can see it and use it for themselves or sell it on dark internet markets. That’s why the FTC cautions people about what they put on their social media profile pages. Identity thieves also can get your information through phishing emails that give you false alerts and direct you to false pages to give out information like your SSN or credit card number. Other times it comes from dumpster diving and finding old documents or from data breaches such as the eBay or PayPal hacks that have taken place over the years.

Taking Action When Your Identity Has Been Compromised On The Internet

Identity theft will always exist and you should always be prepared to take action when it happens to you. The scan on the dark internet can alert you to when it’s happened, and checking your annual credit report can also let you know about irregularities with your information. But it is best to take down all the information you can about the incident, file a police report and in some extreme cases put a freeze on your credit. The key is to make sure you don’t panic and act as quickly to do this as possible.

In conclusion, while the dark internet will always exist and identity theft and selling of information on it will never be completely shut down, discoveries are being made about it that is allowing tech experts and law enforcement to better educate the public about it. You can never be too careful with what you do online, and just as it’s wise to protect all your physical financial assets, you should also invest in quality online threat prevention and encryption software. But ultimately, just using common sense practices like password changing and not accessing sensitive information on public networks can prevent major damage.