The dark web isn’t accessible through typical search engines, nor is it commonplace for people to search online. It’s known for its criminal activity, with nearly 60% of listings potentially harming enterprises or individuals. It’s home to hacked Netflix accounts, body parts, drugs, guns, and even illegal software. It’s also known for stolen and compromised financial accounts.
In fact, for only $500, you’ll receive login credentials for a $50,000 Bank of America account. Prepaid credit cards go for the same amount. But while the majority of individuals have no intentions of discovering what’s on the dark web for ourselves, it’s equally important that our personal information never ends up for bid.
How To Protect Your Data From Reach the Dark Web
To safeguard your information, here are five tips for keeping your data away from the dark web.
1. Always Remain Proactive with Monitoring
Sometimes you don’t know that you’ve become a victim until it’s too late. Remaining diligent will minimize the damage caused by stolen accounts. Stay on top of your personal information by checking every financial account statement carefully.
If you notice any unexplained charges, contact your financial institution immediately. Likewise, consider using a monitoring website for any new alerts to your personal information. SSN, addresses, new utilities, or bank accounts can all indicate a potential leap into the dark web.
2. Consider Using Online Scanning
A dark web scan is similar to having an alarm system for your car. It will keep an eye out for your information and alert you when it finds anything that matches. An alert using this scan means your information (whether personal or financial) is for sale on the web.
Although it may seem intimidating, there are things you can do to safeguard your information. Start by contacting the financial institution in question and requesting a new card and password for the account. Let them know your account has been compromised, and Talk to them about any monthly monitoring services they offer.
3. Change all of Your Passwords
That super simple password you’ve used since you were 12 isn’t going to keep your information safe and secure. Always make sure your financial, personal, and business accounts have different passcodes.
You’ll want to mix capital and lower case letters, numbers, special characters and ensure the password is between 8 and 25 characters long. Remain diligent about changing your password every month whenever possible. You can use a password vault to safely store your information if remembering them may pose a problem.
4. Only Buy Online Through Trusted Platforms
Ideally, encrypted websites are the only places you should be entering your information. Many companies will sell your personal details to other companies, data mining platforms, or even the dark web (for example, applying for a credit application). If you’re making any purchases, always make sure to use a trusted payment platform. You’ll also want to check for any SSL certificates on the website too.
These images can be copied (although it’s against the law) and can ultimately compromise your information. For websites you’ve never purchased from, consider using a prepaid credit card that you can buy at a convenience store. Your information will remain safe and secure without having to sacrifice your online spending habits.
5. Always Trust your Gut
When something seems too good to be true, it probably is exactly that. Always make online purchases carefully. Never send someone personal information and credit card information by email or text message. Whenever possible, try to get the company details, including the business registration, before making any payment.
Enter the business information into the Better Business Bureau and a search engine for any feedback or honest reviews. Both of these platforms are likely to have direct feedback from actual buyers (including complaints). If you can’t find information about the business online, avoid making the purchase.