The dark web is an intentionally hidden part of the Internet. It isn’t visible to search engines and users need an anonymizing browser called Tor to access it. While not all of this reportedly 5% section of the Internet is used for illicit purposes, the dark web is known as ‘a hotbed of criminal activity’ and the number of dark web listings that could harm a business is growing.

So, what are the risks to businesses from cybercriminals on the dark web, and what value are these bad actors placing on business customers’ stolen personal data? 

The 2019 installment of the ongoing study by criminology professor Dr Michael McGuire from the University of Surrey, ‘Into the Web of Profit’, shows “dark web listings that could harm an enterprise have gone up by 20% since 2016, and of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises.” Dr McGuire lists bespoke malware, network access tools as well as phishing kits and tutorials among those threats. 

Into the Web of Profit says cybercrime is now an economy, not a business. McGuire compares the dark web’s “platform criminality” to the “platform capitalism” model where data is the commodity: “Equally, if not more significantly, the cybercrime economy has now become a kind of mirror image of contemporary capitalism – reproducing disruptive business models popularized by the likes of Amazon and Uber. As a kind of ‘monstrous double’ of the legitimate information economy – where data is king – The Web of Profit is not just feeding off the way wealth is generated there, it is reproducing and, in some cases, outperforming it. This is most obviously evident in the platform models of wealth creation it has now adopted.”

McGuire reports that cybercrime generates about $1.5 trillion annually, of which $500 billion is from theft of trade secrets and IP, $160 billion comes from data trading, $1.6 billion is from what’s known as ‘crimeware-as-a-service’, and $1 billion comes from ransomware. 

Deloitte recently described the motivations of cybercriminals: “In most cases, hackers will not use the data themselves but are either engaged by a third party to obtain the data or have the aim to sell the information on the dark web. Buyers from the dark web may use this data for different purposes including financial theft from credit cards, creating fake passports and identities, transferring money between accounts, reselling information at a higher price to the media, or to support other illicit activities. Once the ‘community’ of the dark web acknowledges the achievement of a hacker, the hacker may then request a ransom from the target entity to release the data back to them.” And, unfortunately, most often the attacked business and its customers are unaware the data was stolen until it’s too late to do anything about it.

The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening cybercrime

The COVID-19 pandemic and its push to remote workforces is opening even more opportunities to cybercriminals. According to an exposé by IntSights researchers into the value of data types on the dark web: “As the global shift toward remote work due to COVID-19 continues, IntSights researchers have observed an increase in cybercrime activity in dark web forums. Ransomware gangs are selling encrypted company data, fraudsters are conducting account takeovers (ATOs), hackers are running successful unemployment assistance scams, and credit cards are flying off the shelves of online black markets. Organizations around the world are grappling with the reality that their networks, employees, collaboration tools, and customers are not as secure as they should be, and they are leaking data out through various vulnerabilities.”

Indeed, there has been a 429% increase in the number of corporate credentials—clear text usernames and passwords—exposed on the dark web since March 2020, and a 64% increase in ransomware and phishing attempts in the second quarter of 2020. Banking, education and telehealth are among the hardest hit industries. One source says banking has had a 520% increase in this activity since March 2020, and the education sector, with campuses moving to remote learning during COVID-19, has averaged a total of 384 high severity ATO incidents since March 2020.

The healthcare industry is in the process of rolling out a collective $65 billion in cyber defense systems but hacking attacks and data breaches in this data-rich environment are staggeringly frequent, particularly now. In 2019, a reported 40 million Americans were caught up in a healthcare data breach, and data breaches and ransomware attacks cost the US health sector about $4 billion. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Singapore, are experiencing the same issue. Some argue that in this global pandemic, telehealth “security is taking a back seat to usability”. For a quick summary of the highly topical healthcare data risk situation, check out this report.

Businesses are vulnerable from 12 different angles

Dr McGuire calls out the 12 areas where enterprises risk a network breach or data compromise:

  • infection or attacks, including malware, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and botnets
  • access, including remote access Trojans (RATs), keyloggers and exploits
  • espionage, including services, customization and targeting
  • support services such as tutorials
  • credentials
  • phishing
  • refunds
  • customer data
  • operational data
  • financial data
  • intellectual property/trade secrets
  • other emerging threats.

Further, he reports: “We found that 4 in 10 dark net cybercriminals were offering hacking services targeting FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 businesses. This gives a clear indication that the dark net has become extremely tailored to attacking the enterprise, moving to a service-led approach catering to client needs, even offering service plans to outline how they’ll conduct the hack. It’s like they’ve become cybercrime consultants.”

McGuire’ says any of these attacks can devalue the enterprise (e.g. reputational damage), disrupt the enterprise (e.g. malware attacks that affect business operations), and defraud the enterprise (e.g. IP theft or espionage). 

What is personal data worth on the dark web?

The Intsights team found personal data ranges in value on the dark web from $0–$5 to $1000+, and price varies depending on freshness and quality of personal data.

Credit card numbers, SSNs, data of birth records, and social media activity are all in the cheapest category; fake IDs and hacked retailed accounts are among the data in the $5–$20 category; and the highest value data in the $1000+ category includes “domain controllers, exploits, exclusive databases, insider information trading.”

But it’s not the initial sale value of the data on the dark web so much as what cybercriminals do with that data that matters most. Intsights says: “… Consumers might be surprised to learn that an American Social Security Number (SSN) is worth less than $5 to cybercriminals. But hackers can use that SSN for a number of malicious purposes. They can apply for a home or auto loan, open a new credit card, open a bank account, or even gain access to existing personal accounts.”

So what can businesses do?

Solutions to the growing risks of cybercrime will lie in greater investment in cybersecurity systems, and increasingly sophisticated innovations like secure digital identities and decentralized identity management. The goal is to reduce the risk of losing large quantities of valuable data, through either (1) improving defences, or (2) reducing the attack surface. While the first option is becoming an increasingly difficult arms race to win, the second has strong potential to offer longevity, solid return on investment, and efficacy. The strategy is: Don’t build a bigger barricade, become a smaller target.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US makes it plain: “The likelihood of harm caused by a breach involving PII is greatly reduced if an organization minimizes the amount of PII it uses, collects, and stores.” 

Consumers are clearly seeing the value in option 2: If you don’t hold the data, it can’t be breached. Already, more than half of adult Americans are declining to use a product or service based on their perceived risk to their PII. They want to be smaller cybersecurity targets, and they want the businesses they deal with online to do whatever it takes to make them so.

We believe it’s well past time for option 2. Major enterprises and small businesses must recognize that unless they urgently find ways to be smaller cybersecurity targets, the costs could be enormous—to finances, reputation, customer safety, and brand loyalty. By 2021, the global damages bill from cybercrime is predicted to hit USD 6 trillion annually, double the 2015 figure, and cost victims USD 17,700 every minute.

At Anonyome Labs we offer solutions that reduce the attack surface for enterprises and consumers. Our scalable Sudo Platform is the complete privacy toolkit for integrating next generation identity protection and privacy into a brand’s products and services. Sudo Platform and our consumer app MySudo show businesses an easy way to engage, onboard and continually interact with their customers without collecting, managing or risking their PII, and give consumers greater trust in the entire system.   

As Gregory Webb, CEO of Bromium, which sponsors the ongoing ‘Into the Web of Profit’, study says: “We need to make it more difficult for hackers to gather our most precious resource – data. The cybersecurity industry needs to come to terms with the limitations of detect-to-protect security and find better ways to isolate the problem. We need to approach cyber-defenses in a totally different way, by focusing on the most vulnerable – and easiest to attack – vectors in our organizations. The criminals know where we are vulnerable – most often where humans put fingers to keyboards. We know changing human behavior is both challenging and costly. Instead, by focusing on protection, rather than detection, we can disrupt cybercrime in significant ways.”

Source: anonyome.com

Categorized in Deep Web

A major amount of data remains inaccessible as it resides in the invisible internet which is further divided into parts of deep web, and dark web.

You probably never realised this. There is only a fraction of the internet that we can access from Google and Microsoft’s search platforms as well as other platforms including Amazon. A major part of the internet remains undercover. The content present on the internet that cannot be accessed through usual search engines like Google or Bing is known as the invisible internet. You may immediately associate that with all things anti-social, but that isn’t true. A major amount of data remains inaccessible as it resides in the invisible internet which is further divided into parts of deep web and dark web.

The deep web can be described as that part of the internet that requires an accreditation to access. It consists of library databases, email inboxes, personal records which includes financial, academic, health, and legal data, cloud storage drives, company intranets and much more. Meanwhile, to access the dark web one needs to use a dedicated browser like Tor to see the content. The dark web is more secretive than the regular web which makes up a fertile ground for illegal activities to flourish such as drug selling, human trafficking, and weapon sales. Considering the intricacies of the invisible web, it is quite understandable that one requires a different method to access the data present in these areas of the internet.

The WWW Virtual Library: One of the oldest catalogs on the web, this website was started by Tim Berners-Lee who also created the World Wide Web, back in 1991. It is a high-quality index of deep web content across dozens of categories as it is compiled by a group of volunteers who include the links by hand.

USA.gov: This is a portal that will provide you with access to all the public material you need on every federal agency and state, local, or tribal government. One can also find information about government jobs, loans, grants, taxes, and much more through this search engine.

notEvil Dark Web:  For those looking for access to the dark web this search engine may come in handy. The search engine has a .onion domain name, hence one cannot access it through a regular web browser. To access the contents of the dark web, one needs to use a browser such as Tor and paste hss3uro2hsxfogfq.onion into the address bar. The website comes with a database of more than 32 million dark websites.

The Wayback Machine: This search engine has access to more than 361 billion web pages on its servers, which allows users to search for content that is no longer available on the visible web.

Pipl:  This can grant you access to searchable databases, member directories, court records, and other deep internet search content to offer you a detailed picture of a person.

[Source: This article was published in news18.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas] 
Categorized in Deep Web

The best people search sites make it easy to locate a long-lost friend, estranged family member, or missed connection. You can also use a top-rated people search service to confirm someone is who they claim to be.

To trace an individual, you only need to know a few key details - like their full name and location. You may be wondering whether a search engine, like Google or Bing, would give you similar information as professional people's search sites, like Intelius, Truthfinder, and Instant CheckMate. Standard search engines are great to find social media accounts and public-facing profiles, but you're likely to run into some difficulty when it comes to locating a specific individual and confirming their identity.

People's search sites offer great tools and resources to uncover extensive information on the searched person. This article aims to review some of the best people search sites available, comparing pricing models, key features, and more.

Keep reading to find out more about people finder services.

At a Glance: The Best People Search Websites

  1.  Intelius - best overall people search website
  2. Truthfinder - best people search site for multiple searches
  3. Instant CheckMate - best people search site to find lost relatives



    Intelius is one of the leading people search sites, providing a vast amount of public data about individuals and their connections to others. The company is transparent and aims to build trust with its customer base.

    It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and makes it clear that the platform is not considered a Consumer Reporting Agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This means Intelius does not provide consumer reports with the intent of determining someone's credit, employment, insurance, housing, etc.

    But if you want to learn more about friends, relatives, coworkers, or people you're dating, Intelius’s people search engine is a great choice! In just a few clicks, the proprietary data search engine sorts through data from reliable sources to provide you with some valuable information on the person.

    Its people search feature outlines the main points of an individual's digital identity from a broad range of data sources throughout the internet. Whether you're looking for a long-lost family member or simply want to learn more about a potential date, Intelius empowers you with the information needed.

    Intelius People Search Reports Include:

    • Full name
    • Phone number
    • Past and present addresses
    • Age and date of birth
    • Possible relatives
    • Aliases
    • And more

    Key Features

    Confidential Searches

    Intelius is dedicated to customer protection and privacy. They always keep your identity anonymous and will never alert the individual that you've searched to uncover their information on a people search site. Plus, every search is guaranteed to be secure with the 256-bit encrypted connection. Everything done is completely safe and confidential. No one will ever know you searched for them.

    Fast and Reliable Reports

    It's a reliable resource to search for finding people. With over 20 billion available public records, these people search engine scours the internet for data and valuable information from specialized sources. The company is constantly updating its people search engine to provide users with the most up-to-date, accurate, and widespread information out there.

    Additional Searches Available

    If you wish to extend your search to learn other information, you can do so right on the site. In addition to the people search engine, Intelius also offers other types of searches - such as background check services, reverse phone lookups, and reverse address lookups.


    • Intelius offers a basic free people search
    • Starting membership price: $19.95/month
    • Premier Plan: $19.95/month
    • Premium Plus Plan: $29.95/month
    • Single people search or reverse address lookup: $0.95
    • Single background check: $39.95



      Even though Truthfinder is primarily a background check service, it's also considered one of the best people search sites. The people finder tool is a great resource to track down old friends, locate long-lost relatives, reconnect with former classmates, or learn more about new people in your life.

      To use the people finder feature, you can search people by name, phone number, or by address. If you wind up searching for someone by name, make sure you use all the different versions of their name until you find the right person. For example, someone named Robert could go by the nicknames Rob or Bob. If you input all the information you have on this person and try different variations of their name, you're more likely to be successful in your search.

      Truthfinder People Finder Services Include:

      • Full name
      • Phone number
      • Possible family members, friends, and roommates
      • Social media accounts
      • Educational background
      • Property ownership
      • And more

      You could also choose to use this people search website for background checks, which generally includes gives more detailed reports with information like -

      • Criminal records
      • Bankruptcies and liens
      • Court records
      • Contact details
      • Address history

      Key Features

      Dark Web Search

      Truthfinder is a fantastic people search website, allowing you to connect with people and find the information you need. But the site has various features and can be used for all different reasons, like a dark web search. This service searches through thousands of data points on the dark web and uses impressive methods of surveillance to protect your data. You can use it as a monitoring system for cybercriminals, or to further search for people and their information.

      Public records databases

      This website gathers a complete report, using data aggregation to sort through a variety of different public records- such as birth and death records, arrest and criminal records, and bankruptcy and lien documentation. Having access to this level of information makes Truthfinder one of the best people search sites on the market.


      Truthfinder offers a free people search tool when first starting your search. The website isn't considered one of the free people search sites, but it will provide you with surface-level information - including:

      • Name
      • Age
      • Possible Relatives
      • Possible Locations

      Even though you can get this information for free, it can be very limiting. A paid membership will afford you access to various online databases and public records, including criminal records, financial assets, location history, employment, and education information, and overall more detailed reports. Here's what it'll cost you:

      • Starting price: $30/month
      • Three-month subscription: $26/month

      Instant CheckMate


        Instant CheckMate is another great option and one of the best people search sites for targeted searches. This US search platform has an A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. With all the data and information pulled, the site ensures its customers complete safety, security, and protection when using their services. Its search engine combs through various public data points, including social media accounts, email addresses, phone numbers, and more.

        Instant CheckMate has services that go beyond the capabilities of standard search engines. This people's search website has impressive public records search capabilities that compile information from public record databases, social media networks, and other reliable sources to build thorough reports on someone. With this large network of public records, you should be able to locate anybody you search for, find their contact information, and get a comprehensive report on them in a matter of minutes.

        Overall, it has one of the most comprehensive people search engines on the market, with a range of tools offered, helping users properly find a person.

        Instant CheckMate People Search Engines Can Find:

        • Address history, including previous states, cities, and zip codes
        • Location history
        • Telephone number hints
        • Links to family members and their phone numbers and email addresses
        • Date and place of birth
        • Social media accounts and usernames

        Key Features

        Sex Offender Database

        All reports generated on Instant CheckMate take criminal history and criminal records into account. This includes a map of all registered sex offenders in the local area that you are searching for. You can even look at the mugshots of the nearby sex offenders and details of the incident.

        Criminal Records

        Instant CheckMate has an impressive criminal records database, checking for a criminal record for all searched individuals. The database searches through millions of local, state, and national criminal record documents to provide users with up-to-date information.

        Mobile App Available for iOS and Android Devices

        Everything you can do on the Instant CheckMate, you can also do on their dedicated mobile app. It's user-friendly and offers several search options unique to its proprietary people search engines. Reverse phone lookup, reverse email lookup, and background check searches are all available on the mobile app.


        Instant CheckMate offers a monthly subscription payment option to its users. A monthly subscription will cost you around $34/month, while a 3-month subscription averages out to around $27/month. So, if you decide to pay for three months upfront, you'll wind up saving a few extra bucks on your monthly subscription fee.

        If you're uncertain about whether Instant CheckMate is the right people-finder platform for you, the service offers a five-day trial to try out its features and tools. While this trial period is not completely free, it only costs $1 for the full 5 days. And you can use the full suite of resources available, including reverse phone lookup, background check, reverse address lookup search engines. Just remember to cancel your account if you decide not to go with Instant CheckMate because it will automatically charge your card after those 5 days are over.


        In the past, before the internet age, accessing public records and finding important information on an individual was a frustrating, slow process. You'd have to submit requests to various entities either in person or in writing. If you didn't find anything at the local level, you would have to extend your search to include other state documents until you found the correct person.

        Nowadays, with people search sites and people search engines, you can obtain much of that information within the same day. Many of these robust search engines can sift through hundreds of public records documents in any city or state - in a matter of minutes.

        If you're looking to connect with old friends, colleagues, or family members, we highly suggest using one of the people search sites listed above. Each has proven itself to be a reliable resource, offering accurate and updated information.

        Alternative Best People Finder Search Engines

        [Source: This article was published in clevescene.com By TruthDiscover - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]
        Categorized in Search Engine

        Ever since the internet's inception in the '80s, there have been many game-changing developments and innovations. Among these, some of the most exciting changes have been the existence of various web spheres. One of these has been particularly controversial, and it is the dark web.

        What the Dark Web Actually is And Why People Use it

        Various web spheres exist, including the deep web, dark web, and clear web. Here are some ways in which these three differ from each other.

        The clear web, also known as the surface, normal or open web, is the internet that you usually use on a day-to-day basis. These are websites that have been made available to the general public and are indexed by search engines. You can also access them using regular browsers, for example, Chrome.

        In contrast to the open web, the deep web is not available to the general public, nor is it indexed by search engines. However, unlike the dark web, deep web pages exist to keep various things operational. You can access the deep web using standard browsers. Examples of entities that use the deep web include banks, hotels, and libraries.

        Thirdly, you have the dark web. It is inaccessible via regular browsers, and it is not available on sites that are indexed by search engines. To access the dark web, you will require software that is compatible with the Tor network.

        The dark web uses complex systems to turn user IP addresses anonymous. That makes it extremely difficult for your online activity to be tracked or traced back to a particular address. 

        Tor stands for The Onion Router, and millions of people use it each day to access the dark web. It works by wrapping itself around your message, thus forming layers of encryption to achieve anonymity. Subsequently, searches and messages don't directly arrive at the destination you intended, keeping your identity anonymous.

        You could choose to use the dark web to gain access to services and pages that you cannot access using your standard browsers.

        Another reason for using the dark web is to maintain anonymity, and there are many reasons you might wish to keep your online identity private. One of them may be because you want to exercise your right to free speech, and your government doesn't allow it. Political censorships and media gag orders are among the reasons why people seek to use the dark web.

        Lastly, the dark web could be used for illegal dealings such as peddling prescription drugs, prohibited drugs such as cocaine, and toxic chemicals. Criminals also use the dark web to sell illegal arms and weapons.

        Much like the other web spheres using the dark web can be dangerous. For instance, when checking your bank statements and email online, your information could be intercepted and sold to fraudsters online. Your passwords could be cracked when you connect to public Wi-Fi and decide to access the deep web.

        Five ways to protect yourself when using the dark web

        1. Use a Virtual Private Network

        If you want to have maximum online protection when using the dark web, you need to use a Virtual Private Network. According to ExpressVPN's guide to what is a VPN, it is a network that helps in protecting your data and keeping your online information confidential. When you are using the Tor browser, it is still possible to track your online traffic. As long as the other party has enough time on their hands, sufficient resources, and the right skills, they can easily trace your online activity back to you.

        They can even leak your IP address if they want, which can be very damaging. By having your VPN working in the background while still using your Tor browser, these problems are avoidable. As your VPN encrypts your traffic, it also keeps your IP address safely hidden from government surveillance and hackers even when there is a leak in your Tor network.

        2. Beware of malware

        Malicious software is found in the three web spheres, including the dark web. An excellent way to ensure your safety while browsing online is to install your malware program as well as your antivirus.

        You should also continuously renew the two as hackers rely on your forgetfulness. Overlooking your malware and antivirus will allow the hackers to exploit this vulnerability. Once they back up your computer system on the dark web, all your services and apps will be open to attacks.

        3. Use a dedicated browser

        You need to have a dedicated browser if you intend to use the dark web. Using a dedicated browser is much like using the standard browser, but the difference is that it indexes websites existing on the dark web. While using your browser, the best way to remain safe is to divulge the least possible information about yourself.

        Refrain from random searches while online and avoid giving personal information even when the website requires it. When you notice suspicious links, please do not click on them. These measures will ensure that there are very few traces of your presence on the online web.

        4. Stay anonymous

        Ensure that you keep your private information private at all times. You can never be too careful. Taking the relevant precautions before and after you open your Tor browser will make you less vulnerable to hackers. Before you go into the dark web, close all your non-essential apps, for example, your password managers.

        Also, stop unnecessary services on your device from running and cover your webcam using a piece of tape or paper. It is prevalent for hackers to access users' webcams without the individuals even noticing. Remember also to turn off your location, as it can be used to obtain your IP address.

        5. Familiarize yourself with the governing laws

        Accessing the dark web is not categorized as illegal in most states. However, having possession of certain items and being part of specific actions is. Different states have different laws governing dark web activity, and you should be familiar with state and federal laws governing dark web activity. Familiarizing yourself with the law will allow you to avoid activities that are branded as illegal.

        The internet is a great resource and offers solutions to various problems and queries. Like everything else, the internet comes with some issues you can easily avoid and shield yourself from. Having the above knowledge will help you to browse the internet safely.

        [Source: This article was published in techzone360.com By Spin Feed - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]
        Categorized in Deep Web

        By now, you’re probably familiar with common advice surrounding online passwords. Don’t use a sequence of numbers. Don’t use your name. Don’t reuse the same password for all of your accounts.

        And yet, despite the stress on such tips by experts year after year, most people ignore them.

        Some 81% of hacking-related data breaches stem from poor password security, according to Verizon’s 2017 data breach investigations report. And with the rise of remote work and learning in the wake of the pandemic, it’s a bad habit that needs to be squashed. That starts by knowing what not to do.

        ID Agent, a dark web monitoring company owned by IT software company Kaseya, says it identified the most common stolen passwords found on the dark web in 2020 based on a scan of nearly 3 million passwords.

        What’s the dark web, you ask? The dark web is a part of the deep web, an area of the internet that doesn’t get indexed and cannot be found by a search engine.

        “The dark web can only be accessed through a specific browser that provides anonymity to its users,” said Mike Puglia, chief strategy officer for Kaseya. “Though not all content on the dark web is malicious, cybercriminals use the dark web for various illegal purposes, including the sale of stolen credentials.”

        20 Most Common Passwords Found On The Dark Web

        Based on the top 250 passwords they discovered on the dark web, ID Agent said the most common categories used to generate those passwords include sequential strings of numbers, names, sports references, famous people or characters, and more.

        Fifty-nine percent of Americans use a person’s name or birthday in their passwords, while 33% include a pet’s name and 22% use their own name, the company said. The average user also reused their bad password 14 times.

        Here’s a look at the top 20 passwords found on the dark web in 2020:

        1. 123456
        2. password
        3. 12345678
        4. 12341234
        5. 1asdasdasdasd
        6. Qwerty123
        7. Password1
        8. 123456789
        9. Qwerty1
        10. :12345678secret
        11. Abc123
        12. 111111
        13. stratfor
        14. lemonfish
        15. sunshine
        16. 123123123
        17. 1234567890
        18. Password123
        19. 123123
        20. 1234567

        The analysis also identified the most common words used within various categories of passwords. For instance, it found that “maggie” was the most common name among the top 250 passwords on the dark web. Sports lovers like to include the word “baseball” most often in their passwords. “Newyork” was found the most often among cities that were used, and “cookie” was the most common food word.

        How To Avoid Having Your Password Hacked

        Worried your password is too similar to some of those mentioned above? In order to protect yourself against identity theft, data breaches, and other fraud, it’s crucial to create passwords that can’t be guessed by cybercriminals. Here are a few ways to do that.

        Don’t use names.

        It might seem a bit obvious, but putting your name ― or the name of a close family member ― in your password makes it much easier for hackers to guess. In fact, at least 92 of the top 250 most common passwords found by ID agents were first names or variations of first names. Instead, come up with a nonsensical phrase that only you would know.

        Mix up your numbers.

        Notice how many of the top passwords found on the dark web were some variation of “123?” Thirty-five of the top 250 most common passwords, including 12 of the top 20, contained sequential numbers. Don’t make it that easy for hackers. “Individuals should create passwords that include a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters that are non-sequential,” Puglia said.

        Create a unique password for every account.

        If you reuse the same password for every account, you make it that much easier for criminals to hit the jackpot if they figure out what it is. According to Puglia, about 39% of people say most of their passwords across both their work and home applications are identical. If you can’t think of that many unique passwords, password generators can help with that. Google Chrome has the function built in, or you can try tools such as passwordgenerators.net or LastPass.

        Use a password manager.

        Puglia said that the average U.S. adult has between 90 and 135 different applications that require a set of credentials. Clearly, no one could memorize that many. “The best way to keep track of numerous passwords is to use a secure password manager,” he said. These tools prevent you from storing passwords on your phone or tablet, a common habit that makes it easier for cybercriminals to get their hands on your credentials. Some options include LastPass, Keeper Security, or 1Password.

        [Source: This article was published in huffpost.com By Casey Bond - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

        Categorized in Deep Web

        The dark web is full of dangerous stuff, but how does it affect your security directly?

        The dark web is a mysterious place with a crazy reputation. Contrary to belief, finding the dark web isn't difficult. However, learning how to navigate it safely can be, especially if you don't know what you're doing or what to expect.

        Hackers and scammers use the anonymity the dark web gives them to launch attacks on a wide range of targets, including consumers and businesses.

        MakeUseOf spoke to Echosec Systems James Villeneuve about dark web threats, intelligence gathering, and security planning.

        How Do Dark Web Threats Affect Corporate Security Planning?

        The dark web is an ever-present backdrop for security planning. Just as cybersecurity firms do not underestimate the power of the dark web—that is, the users, forums, and organizations lurking there—corporate security planning is increasingly weighing those threats into their security planning.

        James Villeneuve says:

        Corporate security teams can no longer turn a blind eye to the growing threat landscape across the deep web and the dark web. With large corporations likely to experience, on average, one crisis per year, security planning has to identify where these crises are originating from online and begin developing a more proactive approach to monitoring.

        Can Security Teams Actively Search the Dark Web for Threats?

        One of the biggest draws of the dark web is privacy and anonymity. First, you can only access the dark web using specialized software, such as the Tor Browser. This software comes equipped with the special routing and privacy add-ons required to access the Tor network.

        The structure of the dark web is meant to keep the sites, services, and users anonymous. When you use Tor to access the darknet, your internet traffic moves through several anonymous nodes from your computer to the site you want to visit.

        Furthermore, the dark web isn't indexed in the same way as the regular internet. Websites on the Tor network don't use the DNS system that the normal internet uses.

        Scanning the dark web for threats, then, requires special tools. For example, Echosec Beacon is a specialized threat intelligence tool that scans darknet marketplaces for stolen credentials, leaked data, and illicit goods, detects data breaches, and can provide early warning and insight into conversations relating to specific organizations on dark web forums.

        Villeneuve explains:

        Monitoring the communities that are discussing, planning, and propagating these threats, organizations are beginning to value and prioritize more proactive security strategies. With the average cost of a data breach now equalling over $3.86 million (IBM, 2019), the ability to prevent such breaches can save an organization millions in damages.

        Does the Dark Web Provide a False Sense of Security?

        As the dark web carries a strong reputation for privacy, it is no surprise that attackers and criminal organizations gather there to plan and launch attacks. The idea of a hidden service operating on a highly secure anonymous network provides users with a strong sense of privacy and security.

        However, this feeling can lead users to make mistakes in their personal security. Furthermore, that sense of privacy and security provides the platform for people to discuss and plan "a great deal of nefarious activity... illegal goods sales, money laundering, and human exploitation" all happen on the dark web.

        When users feel more comfortable in their surroundings, discussing plans for a cyber attack or details of their employer, they might give away more information than they realize.

        In terms of "regular" dark web users, who are perhaps simply visiting the dark web version of Facebook or the BBC News website, these privacy issues aren't of a similar concern. The examples provided involve users interacting with and posting on dark web forums.

        Posting to these forums can create traceability, especially if the users' operational security is poor (such as using the same username on multiple sites, revealing personal information, etc.).

        Can Users Do More to Protect Themselves on the Dark Web?

        When asked about security experience and responsibility, James Villeneuve says:

        Your IT team simply cannot be the only team with security training. Security awareness training is paramount for all employees, in large corporations as well as SMEs. Empowering your staff with this knowledge can allow them to identify and prevent social engineering, spear-phishing, and ransomware attacks.

        Security extends into all areas of life. So many of our important services are online. Learning how to use them safely is becoming a necessity, in that learning how to spot and detect phishing emails goes a long way in securing your online accounts. You should also consider how to create and use strong passwords.

        But in terms of the dark web, the basics remain the same, with some extra tweaks. For example, aimlessly browsing the dark web isn't a good idea. You might click a link that takes you somewhere you don't want to go, with dangerous content at the other end.

        Secondly, the dark web isn't really made for browsing in the same way as the regular internet.

        Finally, there are hoaxes everywhere on the dark web. You'll almost certainly encounter sites offering services that simply don't exist.

        Is the Dark Web Illegal?

        The dark web itself isn't illegal. The dark web is an overlay network, which is a network that runs on top of another network. So, the network itself is completely legal.

        However, there is illegal content on the dark web, some of which could land you in prison for a very long time if caught accessing it.

        Then there is the exposure to other dangerous content, such as the darknet marketplaces and so on. Browsing a darknet marketplace isn't itself illegal, but purchasing the illicit goods on there is very likely to be, depending on your locale.

        The other consideration goes to local laws regarding encryption. In some countries, the use of strong encryption is illegal as it makes government snooping much harder. Which, of course, they don't like.

        You cannot access the dark web without using some form of encryption. The Tor network has strong encryption at its core. Accessing the dark web in a country with anti-encryption laws could see you fall foul of the government, so it pays to check before accessing the dark web.

        Stay Safe on the Dark Web

        You can access and use the dark web securely, but businesses and other organizations should be aware of the threats that can lurk there. Unfortunately, many of these threats are unseen, which is where dark web monitoring tools such as the Echosec System Platform can make a difference.

         [Source: This article was published in makeuseof.com By Gavin Phillips - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]
        Categorized in Deep Web

        Identity theft is such a growing problem that it’s become almost routine—Marriott, MyFitness Pal, LinkedIn, Zynga, and even Equifax (of all places) have had high-profile online data breaches in recent years, affecting hundreds of millions of people. To help combat this problem, Experian and other companies are marketing “dark web scans” to prevent data breaches. But what is a dark web scan, and do you need it?

        The dark web, explained 

        The dark web is a large, hidden network of websites not indexed or found on typical search engines. It’s also a hub of illegal activity, including the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. If your information ends up on dark web sites after a data breach, an identity thief could use that data to open credit cards, take out loans, or withdraw money from your bank account.

        How dark web scans work 

        A dark scan will scan the dark web to see if medical identification info, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers are being shared. If you get positive results, the dark scan service will suggest that you change your passwords, use stronger ones, or put a credit freeze on your credit profiles with the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). A negative search result doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t had a data breach, of course, as there’s no way for any company to search the entirety of the dark web.

        Many of these services offer you a free scan, but that only covers certain information like phone numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers. If you want to set up alerts, or search for other information like bank account numbers, passports, or your driver’s license, or have access to credit reports (which are already free) these services will typically charge a monthly fee (Experian offers this service for $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial).

        Is a dark web scan worth paying for?

        In an interview for NBC News’ Better, Neal O’Farrell, executive director of the Identify Theft Council, called dark web scanning “a smoke and mirrors deal” that doesn’t “go to the cause of the problem, which is vigilance, awareness, taking care of your own personal information, freezing your credit.”

        [Source: This article was published in twocents.lifehacker.com By Mike Winters - Uploaded by the Association Member: Eric Beaudoin]

        Categorized in Internet Privacy

        With the U.S. presidential race entering its final sprint, a new analysis of conversations on dark web forums shows hackers discussing potential ways to be disruptive with disinformation and attacks on voting infrastructure.

        Data circulating on the dark web could give hackers the ammunition they need to target voters and voting infrastructure ahead of election day, a new report claims.

        DarkOwl, a company that uses web crawlers to search darknets like Tor, Zeronet, and I2P, released a study Tuesday revealing how bad actors have discussed disrupting electoral processes via cyberattacks and disinformation.

        In this digital underworld, some hackers discuss targeting vulnerabilities in ballot tallying machines; others trade voter registration data between themselves. One "prominent malware developer" boasts that his Remote Access Trojans (RATs) could be used to infect election systems using old security flaws.

        The company also found ongoing discussions about potential ways to infiltrate three of the most prominent election administration vendors — Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, and Dominion Voting — which are responsible for producing a majority of the voting equipment in the country.

        At the same time, the potential for bad actors to organize disinformation campaigns within this environment is high, the report shows. There is a "significant ecosystem" for disinformation services within darknets, wherein customers can procure campaigns from disinformation-as-a-service vendors.

        These schemes are fueled by a glut of leaked or hacked data circulating online, according to the report. Some of this information comes from freely available sources online, while other information is the result of previous data breaches and leaks. 

        In particular, the report makes note of the recent incident involving Tyler Technologies, provider of state and local government election results products, which was hit by ransomware hackers last month. DarkOwl collected some "2,000 corporate e-mail addresses" of Tyler Technologies that were discovered in darknets, the report says. 

        Recent reports have also shown some longstanding vulnerabilities may exist in voter registration databases that are currently exploitable. 

        The recent research has shown the way that leaked data sets can be valuable underworld capital, "how they're traded, sold, and how those seed disinformation campaigns," a company analyst told Government Technology. 

        However, the discussions being had in these forums don't necessarily mean that discussed attacks would be successful. Some of the vulnerabilities that have been discussed are quite old and most companies and agencies would have issued patches by now.

        "DarkOwl assesses election officials and technology vendors would very likely patch their systems accordingly well before the general election, thus the successful use of such a threat is highly improbable," the report says. 

        Still, the findings troublingly show how aggregated data can be weaponized. Hackers "could leverage voter names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to connect with new audiences and market personalize advertisements according to their views on specific topics, propensity to vote and other factors."

        Exactly what kind of threat actors are involved in these transactions? It's often impossible to say, but there are some usual suspects worth mentioning. 

        "In that world you don't know who is who," said the analyst, though she added: "The Russians are infamous for tapping unaffiliated organizations and criminal groups to do their bidding."

        [Source: This article was published in govtech.com By LUCAS ROPEK - Uploaded by the Association Member: Mercedes J. Steinman]

        Categorized in Deep Web

        Stop your data going dark

        We’re living in a world with more focus on cybersecurity than ever before. With the shift to widespread working from home, the pandemic has shone the spotlight on security awareness. This is true in our professional lives in order to prevent corporate information from falling into the wrong hands, but also impacts our personal lives. As consumers began to spend even more time online, businesses across every industry rushed to supplement traditional sales methods and customer interactions with digital equivalents.

        This forced pivot to focus on digital has created countless new opportunities for cybercriminals to attack. With news of data breaches and information for sale on the dark web seeming like a daily occurrence, consumers have become desensitized to the risks posed by hackers – but this is largely due to a lack of awareness.

        During a time where much of the world is spending more time online and the risk of cyberthreats is at an all-time high, it’s critical that consumers know what they’re up against. Our recent research has revealed that 40% of people don’t know what the dark web is, let alone how their data could be compromised. So what actually is the dark web and how do we make sure we know if our information ends up there?

        The unknown side of the internet

        The dark web consists of the parts of the internet which cannot be accessed through search engines like Google. Awareness stems from horror stories of data breaches resulting in thousands of stolen credentials being put up for sale, ranging from passwords to bank account numbers and medical records. This is alarming when 80% of data breaches are a result of weak passwords and we consider that 92% of Brits admit to password reuse despite being well aware of the consequences.

        Most people don’t really understands the true extent of the dark web, with estimates that it ranges from 0.005% to 96% of the entire world wide web. That said, a recent study from the University of Surrey revealed that almost two-thirds (60%) of listings on the dark web had the potential to harm enterprises. While it’s not all used for illicit purposes, the presence of such diverse networks of criminal activity means consumers should protect their information with the caution it deserves.

        Credit card numbers, counterfeit money and stolen subscription credentials are among the items you’ll find for sale on the dark web. In addition, you’ll also find services for hire, including distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, phishing scams and the harvesting of operational and financial data. Clearly, a successful breach could have severe financial repercussions for businesses and consumers alike, not to mention the accompanying reputational damage to any companies involved.

        Has your information been exposed?

        Our research from last year has already revealed that 1 in 4 people would be willing to pay to get their private information taken down from the dark web – and this number jumps to 50% for those who have experienced a hack. While only 13% have been able to confirm whether a company with which they’ve interacted has been involved in a breach, the reality is it’s much more likely than you’d think – since 2013, over 9.7 billion data records have been lost or stolen, and this number is only rising.

        Most of us would have no way of knowing whether our information is up for sale online. However, solutions now exist which proactively check for email addresses, usernames and other exposed credentials against third-party databases, alerting users should any leaked information be found. 

        Password managers are increasingly including this dark web monitoring functionality, indicating sites which have been breached along with links for users to change any exposed credentials. By keeping users informed if their digital identities are compromised, these tools help to improve security awareness and highlight the risks of poor password practices.

        It starts with awareness

        While detection is a fundamental part of the puzzle, keeping ahead of cybercriminals starts with awareness. The human element is often the weakest link in the security chain, with people failing to change default security settings or using the same password across different platforms in their professional and personal lives. But equally, not all employers have made it a priority to drive a culture of security awareness throughout their organisation.

        Security is an ever-changing process rather than a one-time project, and people must work together to get their security practices into shape. Remote work will likely remain the norm for a large proportion of businesses, even as the world continues to reopen its doors. The associated security challenges won’t simply disappear, but will likely rise as the drive online continues. With so many exposed credentials available for sale on the dark web, we’d all do well to renew our focus on cybersecurity. Using unique, randomly generated passwords across different accounts, and investing in solutions with built-in privacy features are a good place to start.

        [Source: This article was published in techradar.com By Barry McMahon - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dana W. Jimenez]

        Categorized in Deep Web

        Dark Web is that area of the internet that consists of encrypted content and is not indexed by search engines.

        About 97% cybersecurity companies had their data exposed on the Dark Web in 2020.

        Some data breaches occurred as recent as in end of August, a survey by security firm ImmuniWeb found.

        The survey covered 398 cybersecurity companies headquartered across 26 countries including USA, UK, India, Canada and Germany.

        Dark Web included both Deep Web and Surface Web in the survey. Dark Web consists of encrypted content that is not indexed by search engines.

        More than 160 companies faced incidents as their employees used identical passwords on more than one breached system. Most of the passwords lacked basic security requirements - uppercase, numerical and special characters. Common passwords included ‘password’ and ‘123456’.

        Half the exposed data consisted of plaintext credentials like financial and personal information.

        US-based security firms showed most number of high-risk data breaches, followed by the UK. High-risk breaches include credentials with sensitive information.

        A large number of leaks were silently performed by trusted third parties like suppliers or sub-contractors to the company.

        Some stolen credentials came from incidents involving unrelated third parties where victims used work emails to sign into adult websites.

        At least 5,121 stolen credentials were found in pornographic and adult-dating websites, ImmuniWeb said.

        The report also stated that half the companies did not comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules owing to vulnerable software, lack of strong privacy policy, and missing cookie disclaimers when cookies contain traceable personal information.

        More than a fourth of the vulnerabilities remain unpatched to date, the security firm said.

        [Source: This article was published in thehindu.com By Sowmya Ramasubramanian - Uploaded by the Association Member: Nevena Gojkovic Turunz]

        Categorized in Deep Web
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