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What Is the Dark Web and Why is It So Dangerous?

When you hear the term “dark web” what comes to mind? Is it teenage boys sitting in their parents’ basement hacking away at a computer screen? Sure, that’s the image portrayed in movies.

But if that’s your idea, you couldn’t be more wrong. The real Dark Web is a sophisticated ecosystem with its own economy operating like many others. Users from around the world selling, user IDs, passwords, social security numbers, credit card information and just about any other forms of data that can make them money. 

At BKS we receive a lot of questions from clients and potential clients about the dark web. Questions like: what is the dark web? Where is the dark web? How is it accessed? And, How is it dangerous for me?

In this blog, we’ll take a few moments to answer these questions and more and provide you with some more information to help you determine if your personal data is currently for sale on the dark web. We hope this helps! 

What is the dark web?

Though there is a lot of confusion between the terms “dark web” and “deep web” we’ll only be discussing the former in this blog. We’ll save the deep web discussion for another time. After, all it’s the dark web where most of the criminal activity is taking place these days. 

What kind of criminal activity? The dark web is where hackers buy and sell data stolen in cyber crimes like phishing and malware scams and ransomware attacks. 

For instance, if your favorite retail outlet is hacked and millions of customer data records are stolen like credit card numbers or account IDs and passwords, that information would be sold on the dark web to criminals who would then likely then turn around and sell it again to overseas scammers. 

Where is the dark web? 

Regular online browsers can’t access dark web websites. Instead, dark web users have access to what’s known as the “Onion Router” hidden service protocol. Connected to “Tor” servers, dark web sites are undetectable from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo and provide total anonymity. Dark web website owners also remain anonymous through other encryptions.

When users access the dark web they’re not using regular servers where data is stored and shared. User information stays anonymous on the internal Tor network. 

How is the dark web accessed? 

Despite what regular online users might think, accessing the dark web is actually not that difficult. Downloading a Tor browser is all it really takes. 

Once the browser is installed, typing in a dark website URL is the next step to accessing a dark web site.  

Now, finding specific things on the dark web is not so easy. There is no search engine like Google and sites are not indexed or ranked. the material you’re looking for on the dark web is more difficult than using a search engine like Google. The dark web doesn’t have an index or ranking system to help users find what they need.

Why is the dark web dangerous?

To be clear, we do not recommend any regular user of the internet access the dark web. If you think scams are prevalent online now, the amount of criminal activity on the dark web is virtually impossible to calculate or track. 

However, you should be aware that your sensitive personal information may be currently on the dark web and even for sale there. 

The good news is that you can discover if it is. At BKS we have two main tools we use to perform dark web scans and regularly perform them for our clients. If you would like a dark web scan of your personal information, we’d be happy to help. Simply contact us today! 

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