With the rise of cybercrime and identity theft, it’s more important than ever to secure your data and protect yourself against the dark web. A Dark Web Scan allows you to monitor how your information is being shared or used, giving you peace of mind that your personal data is secure. Understanding What Dark Web Scans Are & How They Can Protect You & Your Business helps to keep your personal and business information more secure.
How? First, let’s start by taking a look at exactly what the dark web is.
What is the Dark Web?
The dark web is an unindexed part of the internet. This means it’s not visible to search engines and can’t be found through traditional methods through a search term on a search engine. Though not all sites on the dark web are for criminal activity, It’s a key area of the world wide web for criminals and illegal activity, making it attractive to people who want to keep their identities and data secure from others. By performing regular dark web scans, you can keep an eye on how your personal information is being used or shared without your knowledge. More on that later.
In fact, the dark web, which is a subset of the deep web makes up the larger portion of the overall internet. Estimates place the size of the deep web somewhere between 96% and 99% of the internet, according to CSOonline.com. The deep web is made up of any website that is not indexed by search engines such as DuckDuckgo or Google. This includes websites that require logins or paywalls to access the content.
The dark web consists of sites that are intentionally hidden and require a specific web browser called Tor (The Onion Router) to access. The dark web is estimated to be about 5% of the internet. Though not all sites on the dark web are used for illegal, illicit, or criminal activity. However, this is where this type of information resides. In 2015 that included 57% of all known dark websites, though a study done in 2019 showed an increase to 60% (which data excludes drug-selling websites).
These illicit sites are the sites that have for sale things like your credit card numbers, login credentials, banking, and medical information, Netflix logins, and a host of other information, including your business’s intellectual property. They also sell the tools needed to crack passwords, hack your systems, and launch attacks such as malware, ransomware, DDoS, and botnets.
Why are these items for sale in the first place? Because they have value on the black market. While that may be obvious, what may surprise you is how much value some of this information is. Let’s take a look at what some of this information costs on the dark web, which comes from scanning the data on dark web marketplaces, forums, and websites. This data below is from 2022 listed pricing on the dark web*.
- Credit card details cost between $17 – $120 – On the higher end are accounts with an account balance of up to $5,000.
- Online banking login credentials go for $45
- Hacked Facebook Accounts $45
- Cloned Visa with PIN $20
- Complete Details for ID theft $1,115
For additional information on how much of this cybercrime and the illicit trade works, I recommend the book Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity, By Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz.
The link above is NOT an affiliate link.
How Do Dark Web Scans Work?
Dark web scans use specialized software to scan hidden websites, forums, and encrypted networks to detect any instances of stolen data that may have been leaked online. The scans are typically designed to search for personal information including email addresses, usernames, and passwords. If your stolen data is found, the scan notifies you so that you can take preventative measures like changing passwords or monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.
What Information Does a Dark Web Scan Check for?
Dark web scans check for leaked credentials such as email addresses, passwords, usernames, and other key information that may have been exposed on the dark web. They also check for private information like bank account and credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, personal identification documents, and more. In addition to checking these individual pieces of data, the scan can also assess whether your information is linked to any malicious activity or breaches.
Are There any Tips or Tricks I Should Know Before Beginning a Dark Web Scan?
Before you begin a dark web scan, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. For starters, make sure you’re setting up the scan with a trusted service provider as they have access to detailed information about your data. It’s also important to ensure that you understand the level of detail each service provides and whether they offer additional features like alerts when new breaches occur or additional security measures. Lastly, know that these scans can be expensive; as such, it’s important to determine whether the cost is worth the added security it provides.
Here at the Erwood Group, we provide an initial free dark web scan to our clients. See the details below for more information on how to obtain a free dark web scan from us.
Additionally, we would be happy to discuss ongoing dark web monitoring and additional cybersecurity services if warranted based on the findings of the initial dark web scan.
How Can I Make Sure My Data Stays Protected after a Dark Web Scan?
After your dark web scan has been completed, you should take steps to ensure the security of your data. Consider changing all the passwords associated with any accounts or websites that were flagged in the scans. Create unique strings of characters for each password and use a separate password manager if necessary. Additionally, avoid using public Wi-Fi when performing sensitive transactions such as online banking, and ensure that your software (operating system, browser, etc.) is always up to date. Lastly, be mindful of where you store your business and personal information, such as government documents or other forms of identification, both digitally and physically.
HOW CAN I GET A DARK WEB SCAN FOR MY BUSINESS?
The Erwood Group provides a FREE one-time Dark Web Scan for all clients and potential clients. All you have to do is go to our Dark Web Scan page and complete the information to get started. No payment, credit card, or user account is required for the scan or report. Though, we will need some key information in the form to conduct and complete the scan. Go to Erwood Group Dark Web Scan to learn more.