Like the dim-lit side alleys of a busy city, the dark web is a place few of us ever visit! According to Cyfima, a cybersecurity firm that provides a dark web monitoring service, "Over 94% of the world's information resides in the deep and dark webs."
A good portion of that information is stolen data, including credit card details, bank account numbers, social security numbers, emails, contact numbers, full names, physical addresses, and other data criminals use.
Many people want to know if or what personal information exists online, so they can take preventative measures to protect themselves. But, who has the time or desire to explore the dark web to find out?
Criminals sell credentials from data breaches on the dark web! A secure password manager like TeamPassword ensures you never reuse credentials, protecting you from credential stuffing and other cyber attacks. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today!
What is the Dark Web?
If you're unfamiliar with the dark web, the intro to this article must sound like a confusing comic book plot! The dark web is a part of the internet that requires specific software, browsers, configurations, or authorization to access its web pages and networks.
Using dark web browsers like Tor (The Onion Router), users browse and communicate anonymously. This anonymity makes the dark web a popular place for criminals selling everything from stolen personal data to hacking services, ransomware, drugs, and human trafficking!
Criminals use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to provide criminals with secure and anonymous transactions—making it easy to buy and sell services just like how you would on legitimate eCommerce websites.
One of the most commonly traded dark web commodities is personal information stolen from data breaches. Attackers can use these details for identity theft, phishing scams, and other cybercrimes.
What Kind of Information is Available on the Dark Web?
If you can't find what you're looking for on the dark web, you can hire someone through hacker forums to get it for you!
You can buy everything from private email addresses to trade and state secrets. Most cybercriminals are interested in the information they can use to conduct cyberattacks to steal or extort money from victims (individuals & businesses), including:
- Databases (names, emails, contact details)
- Personal identification numbers (SSNs, passport numbers, etc.)
- Financial information
- Medical records
- Academic records
- Intellectual property
If companies and individuals know this information is freely available online, they can take preventative action to thwart attacks. For example, changing account credentials or discontinue using a compromised email address.
Dark web monitoring is how you can keep track of any leaked personal or company information and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your business.
What is Dark Web Monitoring?
Dark web monitoring is the process of scanning dark websites and forums for any stolen company and personal data. Cybersecurity firms offer dark web monitoring as a service, using sophisticated automation tools, including scanners, crawlers, and scrapers to find stolen credentials.
Some firms even have access to secret underground criminal communities where stolen data is sold months or years before ending up on open dark web forums.
While most dark web monitoring provides services at the enterprise level, there are affordable solutions for individuals. For example: have i been pwned—a free service that lets you search a massive database of credentials stolen from data breaches.
Some cybersecurity firms provide dark web monitoring for families, so parents are alerted if their children's data ends up on these shady forums.
Why is Dark Web Monitoring Necessary?
Most cybersecurity focuses on creating a perimeter around a company's IT infrastructure and password management—a defensive strategy!
Dark web monitoring is an offensive cybersecurity strategy. If a business knows what data is compromised, its IT or cybersecurity department can take action to prevent attacks.
For example, if a company suspects its employee's credentials are compromised, the IT department can reconfigure login procedures and change everyone's credentials.
IT personal might also run extra diagnostics looking for unusual behavior to ensure criminals have already breached the company's networks.
What Data can Dark Web Monitoring Find?
Dark web monitoring services can scan for any information or keywords. Common data might include:
- Personal identification numbers (SSNs, passport numbers, etc.)
- Email addresses
- Medical identification numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Phone numbers
- Driver's license
- Bank card numbers
- Retail/membership card numbers
Retail/membership numbers might seem irrelevant, but criminals can use them in creative ways, like identity theft scams or contacting the call center to phish for more of your personal information.
5 Tips to Keep Your Personal Information Safe
While we have little or no effect on personal information stolen from data breaches, there are proactive measures you can take to protect yourself from attackers.
Here are our 5 tips to keep your personal information safe.
Limit What You Share
The first rule to keeping you and your company safe from cyberattacks is by limiting what you share. If all you need is a username and email to use the service, don't share anything else!
The more personal information you share, the greater your exposure to attacks if the company experiences a data breach.
Don't Throw Personally Identifiable Information in the Trash!
Businesses and individuals must never throw personally identifiable information in the trash. Invest in a paper shredder and destroy any documents before throwing them away.
Believe it or not, criminals often sift through people's trash, looking for documents they can either use or sell—data that might end up on the dark web!
Avoid Public Networks and Browsing Securely
Open public networks like you find at coffee shops, airports, malls, entertainment venues, or coworking spaces often attract criminals. These nefarious characters can redirect traffic to websites that deploy malicious code or monitor your connection.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) makes you invisible on these public networks, eliminating the risk of falling victim to these scams.
You should also be vigilant when browsing online—avoid websites without HTTPS, and never complete any forms on unsecure websites!
Password Protect Devices
Cybercriminals don't always breach your devices via the internet. If you work in a coffee shop, coworking office, or other public space, criminals can access your devices when you step away to grab a coffee or visit the restroom.
In extreme cases, criminals might corrupt hotel staff to access any devices you leave in your room—installing malware or stealing credentials you might have saved in your browser.
The point is to expect the unexpected! Ensure every device is password protected to prevent attackers from installing malware or stealing your passwords!
Use a Password Manager
A password manager is the best way to keep credentials secure and ensure you always use robust, unique passwords for every account.
A password manager will also allow you to update credentials regularly using a secure password generator without memorizing the new passwords.
Secure Your Credentials With TeamPassword
TeamPassword is a robust password manager designed to make credential sharing easy and secure.
Provide team members with access to their TeamPassword account, and provide access to your company's digital assets and accounts without sharing raw passwords.
How TeamPassword Works
- Sign up for a TeamPassword account and provide each team member with their own TeamPassword login.
- Team members can install one of TeamPassword's browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) and use the password manager to sign into accounts.
No more unsecure credential sharing via spreadsheets, emails, or messaging apps. All of your passwords are safely locked away in TeamPassword.
Creating Robust Passwords
Credential stuffing is a common type of cyberattack where criminals use passwords from one data breach to access accounts using the same email and password.
For example, if you use the same email and password for Facebook, Twitter, and your bank account, criminals only need to steal your password, and they have access to all three!
TeamPassword's built-in password generator ensures you use unique credentials for every account! If one account is compromised, it won't affect any of your other accounts.
You can also update passwords regularly, and it'll update the new credentials for all team members—no disruptions to productivity!
Activity Logging and Email Notifications
Keep track of account logins and sharing in TeamPassword with a detailed activity log that records the date and time for every activity—logins, credential sharing, new accounts, password changes, and more.
You can also set up email notifications to get instant alerts for your most sensitive accounts.
What's stopping attackers from stealing an employee's credentials and logging in to TeamPassword?
If someone steals a team member's TeamPassword credentials, our two-factor authentication prevents unauthorized access. TeamPassword uses Google Authenticator, which is available on all iOS and Android devices.
You can also generate backup codes for your TeamPassword account, so you never get locked out of your account!
Get Started With TeamPassword Today
Protecting your company's digital assets and accounts starts with effective password management. TeamPassword is an affordable and secure password management solution for small businesses.
Mitigate the risks of your credentials ending up on the dark web! Sign up for a 14-day trial to test TeamPassword with your team members today!