The Dark Web

In the vast world of cyber space, many of today’s internet users do not realize that a large portion of the networks that comprise the internet consist of darknets that cannot be accessed through normal internet browsers. These networks, which require certain configurations and special authorization to access, take up approximately 99% of cyber space. This part of the internet, coined as the dark web, was first accessible in 2000 when Ian Clarke allegedly helped to release a software that allowed users to reach the darkest parts of the internet.

What exactly is the dark web?

The dark web is a network that hackers use to find the latest vulnerabilities that can be sold. It is comprised of different markets that allow users to purchase or sell the following:

  • Illegal Drugs
  • Confidential Information (such as credit cards, social security numbers, and birthdates)
  • Malware or Software exploits
  • Botnets
  • Bitcoin Services
  • Other inappropriate and illegal material

Outside of these markets, the dark web also allows users to access dangerous content such as how to build explosives and facilitates terrorist communication.

How does the dark web affect consumers like you?

Criminals use the dark web to sell confidential consumer information illegally that can be used to steal assets from account owners. One such event occurred in 2016 when the Central Bank of Bangladesh had $101 million stolen from a Bangladesh bank account via SWIFT network. Russian authorities arrested 50 hackers in connection with the attack.

How can you protect your information?

Unfortunately, breaches can happen to the most careful consumers. The best way to combat such sophisticated hackers is to remain aware of your bank or credit account transaction history and credit report activity. Consider subscribing to a credit report monitoring solution to receive alerts if anything changes on your credit. As always, your bank can help you dispute any unauthorized charges that occur and provide you with a new account in the instance that your account is compromised.