How to Protect Yourself from The Dark Web
It’s where criminals get data through breached passwords – obtaining personal information – email addresses, bank details, etc. that are stolen from a company’s database. They will then post this information on the dark web (basically ‘off the grid internet’) so it is accessible publicly by anyone who is on the dark web.
When a hacker gains entry into a company’s website or database they can sell all this data to someone. This is why it pays to have different passwords for different accounts because if one gets breached, hackers can very quickly have access to all of your accounts.
GDPR legislation was designed to protect us from this.
The way you protect yourself – is stay up to date with any breaches, Thanks to GDPR it is law that if a company has a breach they must publicly announce it and you can google ‘list of breaches’ to see what companies have been breached – and when. If you had an account with them they will usually contact you via email.
If you use a password manager program like Dashlane, you will automatically get notification if any of your passwords have been breached. Password manager software is really useful as it enables you to create randomly generated passwords on each site and save them in the program. It is very secure with the latest military encryption and, with Dashlane, you can have up to 50 passwords for free.
With the latest smart phones you can use their app and login via face recognition and your fingerprint. Once you have added your passwords into this program, it will tell you if your password or email has been breached on the dark web; it will also notify you live and monitor your details.
Another way is go to a website https://haveibeenpwned.com/ – just put in your email addresses and it will tell you if any of them have been breached, which companies they were breached by, the most recent breaches and the largest – all in one webpage.
What people on the dark web most commonly do is find your email and password that’s been breached then email you saying: “I know your password – its ‘Henry456’ and I have access to your computer data, pay me lots of money or I will lock you out – and more threats.” Obviously if this happens the only thing you can do is go around all your accounts and change the passwords that are anything like the one quoted.
To avoid being locked out, you can set a security question. This is where Dashlane can really come in handy because you can put secure notes in there like your security questions.
You can also set up an alternative email address that has a different password so that you can recover it from either email account.
You might be thinking having all your passwords online in one place is not a good thing and you would be right because it has happened and password managers have been breached, however if you go for one that has a good reputation and do some research online, they are really useful. More importantly, you have to weigh up what is the safest option – because writing your passwords on a piece of paper is not good practice – if you lose that piece of paper you wont be able to get into any accounts at all. Having the same or similar passwords so you can remember them is asking for trouble. To just remember one master password is a lot easier.