The Dark Web—Dangers That Lurk and How to Avoid Them
Everyone who has ever been on the internet uses the Surface Web, which is the section of the World Wide Web that’s accessible to the public and searchable using the usual search engines. However, there’s a place on the internet where users are virtually untraceable: Dark Web.
Dark Web is a subset of the Deep Web, a section of the internet that is not indexed, accessible nor searchable via the usual search engines (e.g. Google, Opera, Bing, etc.). Website addresses on Dark Web end with .onion as opposed to the conventional .com, .org, .gov., and .net you usually encounter on the Surface Web.
However, unlike the majority of the Deep Web, which contains essentially neutral or harmless private data or content, Dark Web is that small place in the Deep Web where illegal activity is known to take place.
The Dark Web is a private space that can be accessed anonymously through a special web browser, such as Tor, and with a VPN. Most IT professionals find it difficult to trace activity on Dark Web. This is not to say that everyone on Dark Web desires anonymity because they are engaging in illegal transactions or businesses. There are legitimate sites and forums that exist on Dark Web, primarily because of the promise of anonymity.
Dangers in the Dark Web
Because of this assurance of anonymity, Dark Web has also become a haven for criminals and other unscrupulous entities. Examples of dangerous groups and activities in Dark Web include the following:
- Terrorist and extremist groups
- Arms deals
- Illegal gambling
- Child pornography
- Stolen information (including hacked accounts, login credentials, etc.)
- Illegal drugs, e.g. some unscrupulous individuals used the Silk Road domain for online drug dealing
Protecting yourself from the Dark Web
To protect yourself from Dark Web, be sure to do the following:
- If you own a website, get your domain name checked to find out if any of your own data or your organization’s data are being illegally peddled on Dark Web.
- Avoid clicking on a link or downloading a file from an unknown or unverified source as doing so can mean your device becomes infected with malware or viruses. It can also be remotely hijacked.
- Ensure your device is equipped with strong security software that’s up to date.
- Make sure to access only trusted or verified sites.
- Change passwords often and never use the same password for different accounts.
- Never conduct sensitive transactions using public networks or other people’s devices.
- Use security solutions that offer multiple layers of authentication, such as two-factor authentication.
- Never attempt to resolve instances of a data breach alone and call in IT security professionals to help.
Dark Web may be hidden, but there are ways by which you can protect yourself from being victimized by groups and individuals that conduct their business in it. By following the above advice, there’s no reason for your data to be compromised.
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