What is the Dark Web and What is Dark Web Monitoring?

What Is Dark Web Monitoring? Grand Rapids Tech Support

What is the Dark Web and What is Dark Web Monitoring?

Beyond the traditional websites that are indexed by search engines is another level of the internet known as the dark web. The dark web only can be accessed with special browsers and is not as easy to navigate as the surface web, where sites like Google, ESPN and the Washington Post reside. Keep reading to learn more about the dark web and dark web monitoring.

What is the Dark Web Used For?

Featuring many layers of encryption, the dark web’s primary use is anonymous browsing and information posting, which results in people using it to buy and sell illegal goods and services.

However, accessing the dark web isn’t illegal in the United States, and there are legitimate reasons why people might use the dark web to remain private. For example, maybe they live in a country where the government prohibits a free press or there is political censorship. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense originally developed the dark web to protect the sensitive communications of U.S. spies.

That being said, because there is no regulation like there is with the surface web, it’s a much riskier place to be. Malware and scams run more rampant, and it’s much harder to tell if a dark web website is safe or dangerous.

What is the Difference Between the Dark Web and Deep Web?

The dark web is not to be confused with the deep web; the dark web is a subsection of the deep web.

The deep web, or hidden web, is made up of encrypted pages that are not searchable on the surface web. The deep web contains pages that require a login, such as online banking information, medical records, file hosting services like Dropbox or OneDrive, and subscription websites like Netflix or Spotify.

You can search for your bank’s website, but you wouldn’t want your checking account page to be searchable. This is the information found on the deep web.

What is Sold on the Dark Web?

Knowing the dark web isn’t 100% illegal, should you do all your online shopping exclusively on the dark web? Absolutely not.

Much of what is sold on the dark web is illegal. When a data breach occurs, the information that is compromised often is sold on the dark web. That includes:

  • Personal data: full names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, email addresses, etc.
  • Financial data: stolen credit cards, online banking usernames and passwords, banking and insurance records
  • Medical data: medical history, prescriptions, test results, billing information
  • Online account data: usernames and passwords for social media sites, video streaming services and other subscription services

Additionally, tangible objects, including drugs, weapons and hacking software, are sold on the dark web. Cryptocurrencies often are used as payment because it helps buyers and sellers remain anonymous.

What is Dark Web Monitoring?

Hungerford Technologies uses a dark web monitoring service that scans websites on the dark web for compromised business domains and email addresses, sending us a report so we can tell you what steps to take to ensure your information is secure. This often means changing a compromised password.

It’s important to note that dark web monitoring services do not delete your data from the dark web or stop it from being sold, but knowing your information is on the dark web allows us to advise you on taking the next steps to prevent it from happening again.

Just because an email or password shows up on a dark web monitoring report, however, doesn’t mean you should panic about company information being stolen. We manually read the list of compromised credentials to determine if any action is necessary. A report might show an email address was found on the dark web, but without a corresponding password, there’s nothing that can be done and no reason to bother you with an alert.

Additionally, if an encrypted password is compromised, we will run that password through a decryption test. If we cannot decrpt the password, the password most likely is safe.

Because the dark web is constantly changing, it’s impossible to guarantee that dark web monitoring will cover 100% of the dark web. However, thousands of marketplaces, chat rooms and forums are scanned to determine if your information is illegally being sold.

Dark Web Monitoring from Hungerford Technologies

Want alerts when your information is found on the dark web? Contact Hungerford Technologies to learn more about our dark web monitoring service.

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