What Is Dark Web Monitoring And Why Should Everyone Use It?

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Throughout the ReasonLabs blog, basic cybersecurity education and awareness for consumers have been well covered - ‘don’t click on questionable links’, ‘don’t open unknown emails’, ‘beware suspicious attachments’, etc.

But did you know you can actively search to check if any of your data has been compromised?

ReasonLabs has developed a new Dark Web Monitoring feature as part of its Online Security Extension. But what is the dark web, what does dark web monitoring mean, and how does dark web monitoring software help protect the consumer?

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and can only be accessed through specific software or configurations. This allows dark web users to remain anonymous and untraceable. It is a subset of the deep web, which refers to any part of the internet that is not accessible through search engines.

The dark web alludes to a far greater industry than the clear net. In and of itself it isn’t illegal; however, it is often associated with illicit activities such as illegal trade in drugs, firearms, and stolen information, as well as hacking and other criminal activities.

The dark web can also be used for legitimate purposes, such as protecting the anonymity of journalists and activists, providing a secure communication channel for whistleblowers and dissidents, and conducting research and development in cybersecurity. However, accessing the dark web carries significant risks, as users may encounter malicious actors or inadvertently engage in illegal activities.

So far in 2023, there have been several infamous data breaches whereby customer data was compromised - including the JD Sports data breach, the T-Mobile Data Breach, and the Twitter Data Breach - leading to fears that this stolen information was then sold on the dark web.

It has actually been estimated that Twitter users' data was continuously bought and sold on the dark web during 2022, and 2023 is following the same pattern. According to recent reports, a bank of email addresses belonging to around 200 million Twitter users is being sold on the dark web for as little as $2. Even though the vulnerability that led to this data leak was fixed in January 2022, there are fears that the data is still being utilized by various threat actors.

Do I need dark web monitoring?

The concern is, what happens if your data appears on the dark web? Nefarious dark web activities, including the buying and selling of consumer data, constitute an enormous, widespread industry. From vaguely suspicious cold-calling to the selling of seriously evil pedophilia child porn, and weapons and arms dealing, it’s important to know if your data is being sold among this trove of information.

What is dark web monitoring?

What is dark web monitoring and what can it do? Dark web monitoring refers to the monitoring of the dark web, a hidden part of the internet that can only be accessed using specialized software.

With this in mind, how can providers of next-generation antivirus solutions help protect consumers from data breaches and dark web activity that may compromise them? Dark web monitoring for businesses and individuals is an essential tool for consumers to stay ahead of potential cyber threats and prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

Dark web monitoring involves scanning the dark web for any mention of sensitive information that could potentially be stolen or compromised, such as personal identifying information (PII), login credentials, credit card details, or other confidential data. Organizations use dark web monitoring services to detect potential data breaches and prevent cyber attacks before they happen. Monitoring the dark web to detect if consumers’ personal information appears there is also important in terms of protecting consumers’ cybersecurity.

Dark web monitoring solutions

ReasonLabs’ Online Security extension now includes Dark Web Monitoring, a feature that utilizes sophisticated technology to scan the dark web and identify any information that could pose a risk to consumers. With Online Security’s new Dark Web Monitoring feature, users’ identities are protected from leaks of private and sensitive information on the dark web.

Discover Dark Web Monitoring

The Dark Web Monitoring feature, as it says in the title, involves monitoring the dark web for your email address. So if you have been involved in a data breach and your credentials are being sold on the Dark Web, you will be alerted. Users enter their email addresses, which are then scanned by the Dark Web Monitoring software to detect if any personal information connected to that address has been involved in any data breaches.

It’s worth noting that Dark Web Monitoring only requires you to enter your email once and it will monitor your emails continuously, for as long as you need. Dark Web Monitoring scans are performed in real-time to keep users up-to-date on any data breaches they may be involved with, and once a new breach occurs, users receive a notification. In this way, Dark Web Monitoring provides the user with the autonomy to take action - whether they need to change a password, close an account, or alert authorities.

Features of ReasonLabs' Dark Web Monitoring tool

Dark Web Monitoring scans the dark web for breaches related to a specific email that a user has. When you download the Online Security browser extension, you have the option to enter your email, and the Dark Web Monitoring feature will scan the dark web to see if it has been involved in any breaches.

The Dark Web Monitoring function within Online Security is split into 8 categories of assets that we check to see if a user’s data has been leaked:

  • Passwords
  • Geolocation
  • Financial details
  • Usernames
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Personally identifiable info
  • IP addresses

Passwords and financial info are the most critical components. Bad actors can steal identifiable info, but it’s with the passwords that they can do something to actively cause harm. Therefore, these components are tagged with higher critical levels.

What action can you take if you receive an alert from Dark Web Monitoring?

If there are breaches, you can view the full details of the breach. If there is a password that has been breached, it is advised that you change your password. If there is an account that has been breached, you can take active steps to change or close your account.

If you see credit card details have been breached, you can alert your bank. Customers don’t always check their credit card statements regularly, but using this tool will alert you automatically if any suspicious activity has occurred. Consumers should also check that contacts haven’t been targeted e.g. using phishing emails that ask friends or family for financial assistance: “Mom, please send me a thousand dollars!”

Best Dark Web Monitoring

ReasonLabs’ Dark Web Monitoring tool offers several useful and dynamic features:

  • Once you subscribe you can enter as many emails as you want - your personal email, work email, kid’s emails, etc.
  • You will receive alerts by pop-ups from the browser and by email.
  • Learn which sensitive details have been exposed so you can take action right away

Dark Web Monitoring services

The Dark Web monitoring feature is a part of ReasonLabs’ Online Security extension. The extension monitors all of your online activities to keep you safe. By including our dark web monitoring services component, users are provided with a complete understanding of their cybersecurity status - anything that’s happened to affect their online activity or data.

For more information or to download the Online Security extension complete with Dark Web Monitoring feature, visit https://reasonlabs.com/platform/products/extension.