Every year billions of identity records find their way onto the web through data breaches. This represents hundreds of millions of compromised online accounts, with much of this data finding its way into the depths of the dark web.
While good password management practices are crucial, they only go so far in terms of protecting your data, as your information can find its way onto the dark web through no fault of your own. The scale of the problem means that it’s inevitable that your data will, sooner or later, end up on the dark web. Once it’s there, there is no getting it back, but by knowing it’s there you can take action to secure online accounts before serious harm can occur.
Dark web monitoring – your last line of defence against Dark Web criminals
Dark web monitoring services scour the corners of the dark web where stolen data is frequently sold using tools called “scrapers” and “web crawlers.” These services monitor the dark web and can be used to spot stolen information such as:
- Email Addresses
- Credit card numbers
- Financial Account information
- Personal ID numbers
They monitor activity across various types of dark web locations, including:
- Chat spaces and Forums
- Social media sites
- Web Pages
- Peer-to-peer sharing networks
- Web Services, servers and file transmissions
Beware of the difference between Dark Web Monitoring and Dark Web Scans. Scanning tools allow you to scan the dark web at a point in time, whereas a monitoring service operates continuously, meaning there’s a greater chance of spotting stolen data early, enabling damage-mitigating action to be taken.
As soon as your information is discovered on the dark web you’ll be notified and can then take the necessary steps to secure your account(s).
What action should I take if my information is found on the dark web?
You should change the password of the affected account as soon as possible. If any other accounts share the same (or similar) password ensure you change these immediately too.
Contact your bank and inform them of the situation (if applicable)
If financial information is uncovered on the dark web you should contact the relevant Financial service provider and explain the situation. Affected accounts will be frozen and remedial action might involve opening new accounts with new cards.
Examine account statements (if applicable)
Examine recent account activity for suspicious transactions. Notify your bank or card provider of any transactions that you didn’t make to avoid being held liable.
Monitor your credit reports
If the online criminals gather enough articles of identifying information they may be able to use it to commit identity theft. Often criminals use a stolen identity to apply for credit cards and take out loans in the victim’s name, so examine your credit reports and look for loans, card applications and other activity that you don’t recognise.
Dark Web Monitoring is not a ‘fix all’ solution
Dark Web Monitoring helps you catch data that has slipped through the net into the criminal underworld, however, it has its limitations. Monitoring shines a light on the more accessible areas of the dark web, areas identified as being hotpots for the trading of stolen information. It doesn’t however monitor the dark web in its entirety, as it would be impossible to routinely monitor the vast number of possible site addresses that could exist. It’s also important to remember that monitoring doesn’t necessarily identify information at first exposure, meaning damage could occur to your accounts long before dark web monitoring spots your credentials.
However, combined with a comprehensive data security strategy that includes strong password protection and watertight authentication protocols, Dark Web Monitoring is a useful tool to help you counter the forces of darkness that exist of the infamous Dark Web.
Struggling to find a solution that fits around your business?
At Cloudscape, we use our extensive experience to deliver custom-fit technology solutions to SMEs in London and the home counties. Technology should serve your business’ aims and aspirations, it shouldn’t be something to mould your operation around. We are experts in Cloud-computing and we know how empowering Cloud Services can be when leveraged correctly, so let us help you tailor Office 365 so that it works for your business and the unique challenges you face. Call us on 0207 952 8123 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.