Are you a victim in the dark web's 'password for sale' market?

The dark web is directly accountable for the increasing danger posed by the practice of reusing passwords. Although the world economy has its challenges, the dark web economy is thriving. And data marketplaces have no shortage of interested buyers.

As a web user, you consume a fraction of the internet's total content. Beyond the news sites, social media networks, and email that make up the "surface web", there’s a considerably more sinister subset of the internet known as the "dark web". From downloading sketchy programs to using suspicious cloud solutions, unlike PBX cloud solutions, all of your private data becomes vulnerable to hackers on the dark web.

What is the dark web?

The term "dark web" is often used to describe encrypted content not indexed by search engines.

The dark web is connected to every high-profile data leak that has recently made headlines. This data is especially delicate since cybercriminals frequently utilize underground online marketplaces and discussion boards to acquire, sell, and trade personal data. What’s more, if hackers get access to a company's network - or into your personal accounts - they may steal sensitive information such as names, dates of birth, and license numbers.

An underground network

Private business and personal data may leak into the dark web in several ways. In addition to the breaches of major corporations that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the news, your data might have been stolen because you used an unsecured public network, visited a malicious website, fell for a scam such as phishing, fell victim to ransomware, or didn't properly delete documents that included sensitive data.

So how do you know if your data is on the dark web?

An effective to know whether your details, particularly your logins and passwords, have been leaked onto the dark web is to utilize a dark web scanning tool like that available in Sticky Password. In addition, online tools exist such as the "Have I Been Pwned" (HIBP) website that allow you to check individual passwords or your phone number to conduct a free search.

Chances are, if your personal information is being sold online, you may have noticed some warning signs associated with identity theft. For example, strange activity may appear on your bank statements and email accounts.

While it can seem to be an insurmountable challenge to do anything in the face of criminal activity on the dark web, it is possible to mitigate the danger by having information that allows you to know what’s out there so that you know where to take action. Sticky Password’s Dark Web Monitoring powered by ARC feature provides actionable data that you can use to cut off hackers before they can misuse your personal data.

Here are some additional ways to find out if you're a victim in the dark web’s ‘password for sale’ market.

    1. Use a hidden-web scanning tool

    Use credit monitoring services that utilize dark web scanning technologies to expressly hunt for your Social Security number (SNN) and notify you of any leaks.

    Other programs that check the dark web for data breaches include password managers and virtual private networks (VPNs) on your computer devices. Your SSN and other sensitive information may be among the results of these scans since they use the email address you provide.

    2. Check for hacked accounts

    It's possible for your SSN to be in danger if you used it to sign up for an account that is then hacked. The same thing happens with storing identification documents. Should there be a data breach, your personal information might be exposed if you store it on a cloud service like Dropbox.

    What’s more, you should only use reliable autoresponder software, even for business emails. An unreliable software can record your non-encrypted data and lead to privacy leaks.

    Even if your SSN has not been leaked, you might still be a victim of identity theft if a thief has access to enough of your other personal information. Someone with access to your email, for instance, could be able to visit a website where your SSN is stored by using that email address.

    3. Investigate manually

    While anti-virus and anti-hacking software can be useful, there are situations where they’re less than helpful. For example, using a lesser-known browser or if you recently had your data hacked. However, it is usually possible to do checks manually.

    Your privacy matters

    It’s no secret that the dark web's promise of anonymity and privacy has attracted criminals. For this reason, everyone should take precautions and actively maintain network security. Your information may be sold on the underground market if you don't. Stay safe while surfing the internet to avoid a security breach online.

    About the author

    Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

    Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform that provides VoIP for businesses and teams for easier and better collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Grace has written several articles for various domains including IoT For All and WebSitePulse. Here is her LinkedIn.

    (Free to use image sourced from Unsplash)