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Emerging Threats

Dark web scans and dark web monitoring can help you protect your identity


Written by a NortonLifeLock employee

 

You’ve heard of the dark web, but have you ever wondered what goes on in the dark web - that mysterious slice of the internet in which criminals buy illegal drugs, swap pornography, and sell stolen personal information and credit card information?

A large slice of the dark web is devoted to the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. And if your information ends up on dark web sites — for instance, after a data breach — an identity thief could gain access to it.

This type of criminal might then use your private information to buy themselves flat-screen TVs and computers with your credit card data, take out loans or open new credit cards in your name, or even drain money from your bank account.

This threat is real. You might consider signing up for dark web monitoring to help in monitoring your personal information.

Cyberthreats have evolved, and so have we.

Norton 360™ -  all-in-one, comprehensive protection against today's cyberthreats like viruses, malware, online tracking, plus dark web monitoring and more.

Try Norton 360 today.

What is dark web monitoring?

Dark web monitoring services scan this wild-west part of the web to see if any of your information is available on it.

What kind of personal information is on the dark web?

What information do cybercriminals commonly sell on the dark web? Thieves commonly sell credit card and debit card account numbers and log-in information for payment services or entertainment sites.

And that’s not all. Cybercriminals can also sell driver’s licenses, medical records, passports, fake college diplomas, phone numbers, and subscription services online.

Fraudsters can get just about anything they want from the dark web, and that might include your personal information.

What’s the difference between the dark web and the deep web? The dark web is different from the deep web. Content on the deep web also is not accessible by traditional search engines — but it includes things like people’s password-protected email accounts, the intranets run by businesses, the online bank account pages of consumers, government databases, and private sites that require users to type in a log in name and password. The deep web is largely harmless, while the dark web is a small subset of the deep web that has become a haven for illegal activity. But there are legitimate reasons to visit this potentially dangerous region of the web.

For example, dissidents who fear political prosecution from their governments might use the hidden dark web to communicate with each other. You might visit the dark web to get medical advice that you’d be embarrassed to have exposed or journalists could use the dark web so they or their sources can remain anonymous.

What is a dark web scan and how does it work?

You probably have heard the term “dark web” before. But what exactly is this place and how can a dark web scan help you?

The dark web is made up of sites that you can’t access through traditional search engines. You’ll need special software that you can download for free, known as TOR — to browse this hidden section of the web.

On the dark web, not everything done is illegal. Dissidents might use it to communicate with each other without their governments finding out. Journalists sometimes use the dark web so that they can communicate with sources while keeping these sources anonymous.

But even with these legitimate uses, the dark web is a dangerous place. It is often used by people selling illegal drug, firearms or pornography. And it is a haven for criminals who want to sell, trade, or share stolen financial and personal information.

Can the dark web be monitored?

Here is where a dark web scan comes in. Companies offering these services will search the dark web for you, combing through the large databases of stolen usernames, passwords and credit card numbers that are for sale.

The providers of these dark web scans will then notify you if they find your personal information on the dark web, giving you the chance to take action to help protect yourself against potential identity theft.

Be aware, though, that dark web scans can’t find everything. There is no way for a company to search the entire dark web. A scan can uncover when your data has been exposed. But it can’t find every instance of this.

What do I do if my personal information is detected on a dark web scan?

You’ve ordered a dark web scan and discovered that your personal and financial information is for sale. What should you do now?

Here are some steps you can take to minimize the damage.

Change your passwords

Security experts recommend that you change your passwords whenever you discover that your personal information has been exposed. Never use the same passwords across multiple sites, and make sure your new passwords are complex and difficult to guess. The more complicated your passwords — using a series of letters, numbers, and symbols — the better. Maybe use a password manager that can store and generate strong, secure passwords. Norton 360 includes a password manager to store all your passwords in one secure spot. Norton Password Manager is not exclusive to Norton 360 functionality but is also independently available for free online.

Notify your banks, credit card companies, and other financial services providers immediately.

If a scan finds that your credit card or bank account numbers have been exposed, call the financial services companies immediately. This can flag any potential transactions occurring without your knowledge and your financial service might issue you new account numbers to keep your financial information safe.

Monitor credit card statements

Pay close attention your credit card statements, watching for any suspicious purchases. If you do notice fraudulent charges, immediately contact your card provider. If you contact your bank or the card provider promptly upon discovering the charges, you may not be held liable for charges made by criminals.

If you do find fraudulent purchases, it is always a good idea to request a new credit card and account number from your card provider to be on the safe side.

Where can I get a dark web scan?

Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Premium plans include dark web monitoring (available only in Germany and in the UK). If you are worried that your financial information has been exposed on the dark web, this service could help alleviate or confirm these fears.

Cyberthreats have evolved, and so have we.

Norton 360™ -  all-in-one, comprehensive protection against today's cyberthreats like viruses, malware, online tracking, plus dark web monitoring and more.

Try Norton 360 today.

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