The Dark Web & Protecting Your Information

October 25th, 2021 by admin

A web containing multiple devices with cartoon-stylized silhouettes of people with a spider at the center representing the dark web

The Dark Web is an item of public fascination and horror. We hear about criminal activities, black markets, and rebellion taking place all around us in the same data streams we operate in, with complete and potentially impenetrable anonymity.

The Dark Web gets its name from how it is accessed. Unlike the world wide web which is registered, searchable and published. It technically operates on encrypted networks and is only accessible using an encrypted web browser. Encryption is a cipher and the modern standard for this cipher would take the fastest (for the job) supercomputer 2.29 decillion years to crack. Then it's encrypted multiple times through different methods and voila. It is the Dark Web because it is physically impossible to see the information that its operators don't share with you.  

The name quickly took on a more nefarious subtext, because what goes on in a cyberspace that is largely impervious to the law and the social contract, can be dark indeed. No one knows everything that takes place in the deepest reaches of the internet. But some known uses include the transaction of illicit substances, identity theft transactions, information access that is banned in more restrictive countries, unregulated forums, and copyright piracy. 

As disturbing as this level of anonymity is, some of the same methods can be utilized to protect ourselves from bad actors. If you're concerned with your data being breached, hacked, or traded on the Dark Web, here are some practical and affordable steps you can take today: 

1. Monitor for Compromises

Dark Web Monitoring will alert you if your passwords, credit cards, or other personal information has appeared in any black markets. Bad actors usually have a large number of targets and it takes them time between posting the data, the purchase, and then their malicious action with it. For this reason, it's definitely possible to get alerted, change your passwords and avoid or mitigate the damage.

You can see how it works by checking which of your passwords have already been compromised using this free tool: Don't type your passwords into unknown websites, but haveibeenpwned (despite it's ridiculous name) is actually a very well known and trusted tool for seeing what passwords have hit the deep web markets.

2. Avoid Reusing Passwords

  It's easy and convenient, and that's precisely why you shouldn't do it. Access to your home, belongings, and private information should not be convenient. The art of security is in creating a specially designed hurdle that the key holder can easily jump over while being incredibly difficult for an intruder to overcome. No form of security has ever walked that line so perfectly that it was completely fail-proof. So we make compromises to either convenience or to security based on the respective environment. 

In the current cyber landscape, to have a good chance at keeping our data safe, we need to change the locks. Update your passwords with consistency, maintain as many unique passwords as you can. Realize that all accounts that are using the same password, will be compromised together.  

3. Try a Password Manager

A password manager is a genius idea that is still working out some of the kinks in the convenience department. It allows a single highly secure password to unlock the gate to near-perfectly secure passwords to each of your accounts and securely automates logins for you.  A reasonable amount of convenience is maintained, and a highly significant level of security is achieved. If your passwords end up on the Dark Web while properly using a manager, chances are the password has been changed automatically before it ever got there. 

If you're able to implement any of these it will help keep your data off the lawless corners of the internet, or at least minimize the damage. Now, go have a wonderful and yellow October (or else), eat a pumpkin or something, remember who you are… but don't say it to people on the internet! 

Posted in: Protection, Security