What is the Dark Web?

What is the Dark Web?

Chances are high that you’ve already heard of the term the dark web and know that nothing good comes from it. Its name alone signifies that it is meant to be a place where things like criminal activity take place, far away from the smiling faces of social media and friendly emails.

What you may not know is what exactly is the dark web and is it as scary of a place as it sounds?

Image by M. H. from Pixabay

The answer to that is an unfortunate yes. It is as scary as it sounds, because the dark web is a portion of the web that is not indexed by search engines. It operates completely without trace and is, in most cases, the home to many illegal operations.

Deep Web vs. Dark Web

These two terms are often interchanged but are actually very different. While both are not indexed by search engines, the dark web is where the criminal activity takes place and the deep web is where the extremely secure activity takes place.

It is very probable that you access content on the deep web daily, without even realizing it. Sure, you can’t search it, but you still have access to it. Have you checked your electronic medical records recently or logged into your doctor’s portal to check on a test update? That’s the deep web. It’s not searchable because it is classified information that only you are supposed to see.

Your personal bank account is another important place on the deep web you probably access quite often. These are legitimate, secure sites that you use on the daily that require extra security. Nothing like the criminal activity happening on the dark web.

The dark web is full of places where you can buy drugs, counterfeit money, passwords and login information, firearms, and other illegal practices. You can purchase someone’s bank account information for very small amounts of money. This is also where a lot of drug deals take place. It is not a safe place to be.

The Role of Password Managers and the Dark Web

One way to combat your information ever making it onto the dark web is to use a quality company password manager.  Not only will this make it hard for hackers to get into your accounts, but it also gives you an added layer of security to search for accounts that may have already been stolen.

Let me give you an example. You are like most people and have what you believe to be a secure password. You made it up and it contains letters, numbers, and special characters. You’re totally secure now, right? Probably not, but the common way of thinking is that’s all you need. You log into your Netflix account to watch some movies with that password. A hacker wants to sell your Netflix account password on the dark web, so they use their tactics to get your password. A simple social media search shows what you are into and what you really love. Chances are high that your password has something to do with that. They guess it, and now your account is being sold.

While a Netflix account seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t. The hacker goes into your account profile and goes to update your payment information. There is your bank account or credit card info. Guess what the password to your bank account likely is? That’s right, it’s most likely the same as your Netflix account. It’s really that easy to have your information taken.

Password Managers

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from something like this happening and your information being leaked or sold on the dark web is to implement a password manager. A password manager issues out a randomly generated password with all of the requirements web sites today need.

Unlike the simple password managers that are used on internet browsers, it gives you the opportunity to make changes to the passwords that are generated to keep your sites even more secure. It then stores the passwords so that you do not have to enter them on every sign in, making it harder for hackers to gain access to your personal information.

The passwords are then protected by a master password that is totally different from your system operating password. No one can make changes to your accounts without the master password and even if the master password is leaked, it is still different than the password on your operating system, so you are still secure.

The dark web is not a place where you want your information to wind up. It can be traded and sold, and your accounts can easily be accessed. Utilizing a password manager can significantly protect you from winding up on the dark web and can keep your information and you safe.