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Paid Content: What is the dark web?

(Experian)

You may have heard of the term “dark web,” but it can sometimes be difficult to understand what it really is and what it can do for you. It can help to look to the internet made of different levels, based on the available and common purposes. There are three levels-it is publicly available on the world wide web, the deep web and the dark web-and we’ll explain a bit more about here:

The Public On The Web

If you’re like most people, this is where you spend the majority of your time doing things such as online shopping, searching for information and sharing photos and videos on social media. However, this is only about 4% of the internet. Although this is not true identity thieves spend most of their time, there are things you can do to protect yourself online and keep your personal information in the wrong hands while you are surfing the web.

The Deep Web

The deep web is the next level of the Internet, which is about 90% of what’s actually online. These sites are not indexed by search engines, which means they won’t be displayed in search results. Just because the information is here, it does not mean that it is a bad or illegal, though. The deep web includes:

  • The internal sites
  • School intranets
  • Online databases
  • Member-only websites or pages behind paywalls

These sites can live in this space, because they are something the owners don’t want to be accessible to the public. Many deep web sites are legal, just purposely hidden. Sometimes you hear the deep web is referred to as a “bad”, but that is mostly because many people confuse the deep web with the dark web.

The Dark Web

In the lower part of the deep web is the dark web. The dark web is not a place, but rather a hidden network of websites. While it requires special resources, it is simply a matter of following the steps and getting certain systems, which provide a way for those looking to join the dark web and keep track of information such as the IP address hidden.

Visitors here make use of the anonymity software to mask the visitors’ true identity. When you visit a website on the world wide web, IP addresses to track online activities of your computer. But on the dark web, with the masking of the software has been activated, a computer will take a randomized path to the file destination, bouncing around a number of encrypted connections, in order to eventually mask both location and identity.

Why Is the Dark Web is So Popular with Criminals?

Because of the hidden nature and the use of special applications to help assure anonymity, it is not surprising that the dark web can be a haven for all sorts of illegal activity (including the trade in stolen personal information by means such as data breaches or hacks). This means that if you have ever been a victim of a security breach, it is a place where your sensitive information could live. According to the ITRC, data breaches in the United States in 2016, hit an all-time high of 1,093, representing an increase of 40% over the previous year.

Once exposed, this information can change hands again and again over time-especially if it’s a valuable combination of information, such as medical information, social security number, or an identification of the address with the account information) that is attractive to people who seek to acquire stolen data. On the dark web, people are looking for this information, you can get access to records that have live online and often inexpensive-such as bundles go for less than $10 per record. These bundles are often the so-called “Fullz” because they are the complete package for fraudsters: name, SSN, date of birth, account numbers, and other data that made them desirable, because they are rich enough for direct damage. Savvy cyber-thieves can also wait for some time before the data they buy, as a direct result of a breach, many people are more guarded and on the lookout for the red flags on the accounts, statements and their credit report.

Unfortunately, there are entire communities in the dark web, and even sites offer reviews about identity thieves that indicate that if someone is “good to do business with” in the meaning of their data is valuable (think of the Yelp reviews for criminals). These criminals can make a decent living by selling, buying and use of personal information.

How Can You Protect Yourself against the Dark Web?

People are often not have to worry about the dark web into something like a data breach happens and they notified their information was stolen. There is no fail-proof way to get your information from the dark web because hackers are always trying the latest new thing to your information and sell it to people who are looking to pay, but you can be vigilant about looking for the red flags that your identity is in someone else’s hands, including:

  • Monitor your accounts for any information that looks
  • Check your credit report regularly to see if the inquiries or new accounts listed that you don’t recognize
  • Use strong passwords and change them often
  • Consider using an online product to help you protect your identity and monitor your credit
  • Know how to respond immediately to suspicious activity on your credit report

Take the first step with a FAIRLY Dark Web e-Mail Scanning

By staying on top of potential problems, you can help minimize the impact if your personal information is not falling into the wrong hands. Receive FREE identity theft monitoring for the first 30 days.

See the original article on Experian.

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