People usually aren't worried about their information being found on the dark web until something happens. It's an immediate feeling of panic when you find out you've become the victim of a data breach and you're notified that your information has been compromised. Sadly, there is no way to make sure your information stays off the dark web indefinitely. However, there are measures that end users can take to do their due diligence to safeguard themselves from becoming the victim of a cyber criminal on the dark web.
Tips for Keeping Personal Information Off The Dark Web
1.) Use strong passwords. It's one of the best things you can do to protect your personal data and accounts. Using best practices in password security can end up being a real life saver. Change your passwords often, and use a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. Be sure to avoid using the same passwords across multiple accounts. If you have a hard time remembering which passwords go with which accounts, consider using a secure password manager.
2.) Limit the information available about you. It's convenient to save your credit card information online or password on websites that you frequent often. It makes checking out so easy, there's no denying that. However, information storage can be dangerous. Should the security of that website ever be breached, your information could be compromised. Just by taking the extra steps to fill out your card information each time or log in and log out could help to protect your credentials from falling into the wrong hands.
3.) Check your banking statements. One of the best ways to protect your personal data is by being aware. When a cyber criminal has your information, they may try things out by making a small purchase with your account information. If they can get away with that without raising any red flags from the true account holder, they'll go big. Identity theft is a huge problem. Being vigilant with your accounts is a responsible step to take to keep your information from falling into the wrong hands. Check your credit card statements and bank accounts for anything that is unexplained or odd.
4.) Enable two-step authentication on your accounts. This is another great way to ensure the security of your accounts. Sometimes having a strong password just isn't enough. Through enabling two-step authentication, you'll be prompted to enter your password as usual, along with being sent an additional code to one of your trusted devices to enter in too. This is an added step to protect your accounts and to verify that it's you. End users may think that this step should only be done for certain accounts, but it's helpful for every account including email, social media, and financial information.
5.) Have a plan for when a breach happens. Sadly, this isn't an "if", but more of a "when" it happens. In the technology-driven world we live in, falling victim to some sort of information breach is inevitable. If all else fails, having a plan on how you will do damage control on your accounts is crucial. You'll need to determine what was compromised, change passwords, and contact your financial institutions and set up a credit freeze. Mapping out a plan of action won't make the burden go away, but it will make the process a little simpler.
Protecting Yourself Online
It's like the old saying goes, "Nothing good happens after midnight," the same goes for the dark web. Nothing good comes from visiting the dark web. The depths of the internet go deep and can get twisty and nefarious. Steering clear of the activities that take place in the dark web and secure online habits is your best line of defense in protecting your information and staying out of trouble.
A few months ago, we visited The Big 550 KTRS for our weekly Tech Talk segment, and our IT expert shared his warning about the illegal activities associated with the dark web. In case you missed it, you can learn more about the segment here. Be sure to catch us each Friday afternoon at 4:20 on The Big 550 KTRS (550AM) to learn more about technology from the experts at SumnerOne.
Originally published September 26, 2018, updated April 1, 2019