Updated on April 3, 2023.
Dark web monitoring is a process in which a tool is used to scan the dark web and monitor for specific personal information such as your email address or password. This can be done manually or with a dark web monitoring tool that can detect when your credentials are being sold on the dark web and notifies you when it determines your information is at risk.
Read on to learn more about dark web monitoring and how it can help protect you from having your accounts compromised and your identity stolen.
What is the Dark Web?
The dark web is a part of the internet that provides anonymous and secure communication channels. It’s home to several illicit activities including drug trafficking, illegal weapon sales and trafficking of stolen Personally Identifiable Information (PII) like passwords and social security numbers.
The dark web can only be accessed with a special internet browser called Tor, and it contains all manner of malicious websites, services and sellers. Tor provides an encrypted connection to the dark web and masks the user’s IP address. Criminals thrive on the dark web because of its complete anonymity. Buying and selling via cryptocurrency and a hidden IP address makes dark web activity difficult to track and pinpoint to one person or organization.
What Can Be Found On the Dark Web?
Here are a few things that someone might find being sold on the dark web.
Passwords: Passwords to all kinds of accounts are stolen and sold on the dark web. Anything that requires a password could be at risk, from your bank accounts to your social media.
Email Addresses: Email accounts can often contain sensitive personal information and are usually easier to hack than bank or financial accounts, even more so if a person doesn’t have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enabled for their account. MFA acts as an extra layer or layers of security since it requires the person to verify who they are with at least one additional authentication method on top of their username and password.
Social Security Numbers: Social Security numbers are some of the most common personal information found on the dark web. If a cybercriminal gets a hold of your social security number and other information, they can steal your identity and open lines of credit, financing and more in your name.
Bank Account Numbers: Once a cybercriminal has your account number, they’re one step closer to gaining access to your bank accounts to steal money from them.
Credit/Debit Card Numbers: This is another common type of information found on the dark web. These are much easier to acquire, as some browsers and online merchants store your credit card information for you. If your browser or online account were breached, cybercriminals could easily steal your credit card information.
Retail/Membership Cards: If you have a membership to your favorite store, a rewards account, or even a store credit card, the dark web can use this information against you. These accounts are often linked to more personal information. The more information a cybercriminal has about you, the easier it is for them to steal your identity. They could also use this information for personalized phishing attacks and send you a link to a page where they ask you to input your personal information.
Passport Number: A passport can often be a backup ID in case you’ve lost or had your driver’s license, Social Security card or other personal ID stolen. Cybercriminals use stolen passport numbers to add validity when attempting to steal a person’s identity.
Medical Records: Your medical information is private under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but cybercriminals can steal it and put it up on the dark web. This is likely to happen if a medical provider suffers a security breach and patient information is stolen.
How Does Dark Web Monitoring Work?
Dark web monitoring uses specific tools to keep tabs on frequented areas on the dark web. By monitoring for specific information, a dark web monitoring tool can detect things like email addresses, passwords that match your own or more sensitive information such as social security numbers and bank account numbers.
There are billions of websites, networks, and registries across the web, but the advantage of dark web monitoring is that you’re taking precautions. Without certain protections, you may never know if your information is being sold until it’s too late – which can result in identity theft.
The effects of identity theft are far-reaching and can have serious negative impacts on your life. The amount of time and money you spend on recovering your identity can impact your ability to work and negatively affect your credit score.
Security is more important than ever, and if you’re not taking basic precautions, you could very well end up one of the thousands of victims that deal with cybercrime and identity theft every year.
Poor password habits and poor personal data management can put you at a higher risk of identity theft. This includes:
- Frequently reusing passwords
- Carrying your Social Security card in your wallet
- Not tracking your credit activity regularly
- Not having 2FA/MFA enabled on your accounts
- Not securely storing financial information, passwords, account numbers, etc.
Is My Information On The Dark Web?
By now, you’re probably wondering if your own personal information is floating somewhere on the dark web. It’s highly likely that a password, email address, or some other personal item has been stolen or accessed at some point, which is why it’s more important than ever to protect yourself. To find out if your information is on the dark web, use our free dark web scan.
Do I need dark web monitoring?
If you find that there is information about you on the dark web, it may be time for you to invest in a dark web monitoring tool that constantly scans the dark web for you and notifies you with dark web alerts. One dark web monitoring tool is BreachWatch®, which works with Keeper Password Manager.
BreachWatch monitors for suspicious activity and will alert you to any dark web activity involving credentials that match the one’s stored in your Keeper Vault. When a record is flagged as “high-risk,” you’ll get a notification, and Keeper will help you change the password to better secure your information. Once you change your password to a strong and unique alternative, it will no longer show as high-risk.
Start Protecting Your Identity With BreachWatch
Your personal information is nothing less than the key to your identity. Once a cybercriminal acquires certain personal information, they can devastate your personal and financial life. It’s important that you are always aware of where your data is, especially if it were to end up on the dark web. A dark web monitoring tool like BreachWatch can help you do just that.
Don’t worry about having to set time aside to manually check if your private information has ended up on the dark web, let BreachWatch do the hard work for you. The BreachWatch add-on is available for Keeper Personal, Keeper Family, Keeper Business and Keeper Enterprise.