Even if you don’t know what the dark web is, it’s a part of the internet that you need special software to access and it’s popular with criminals because they can trade data anonymously. There is a way to protect yourself and find out if you have exposed credentials floating around this shady part of the internet.
NordVPN has just launched a Dark Web Monitor, a new security tool which you can access on the iOS app.
As we spend more and more time shopping online and buying from unknown websites or signing up for online services, we increase our risk. It’s not just unknown sites, there have been some famous breaches Equifax, Marriott, Yahoo, DoorDash, a breach can happen to anyone. But, knowing if your information has ended up on the dark web will allow you to be proactive and prevent harm to your online identity.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, like Tor browser allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable.
Even though it’s a place where you can try to hire a hit man or buy counterfeit currency. Today, it’s also recognized as an important tool for online privacy and political activists fighting against oppression and censorship.
We shouldn’t be so fast to dismiss the dark web as a bad place, but there is no doubt that bad things happen there.
How does your information end up on the dark web?
Personal information is a popular commodity to sell on dark web marketplaces and hacker forums. It can be used by fraudsters, identity thieves that can end up being a cybersecurity nightmare.
If you’ve been shopping on new websites or you signed up for an online service and you’ve used your email and set up a password. So far so good, until the website you gave your information to has a breach, meaning someone broke into the site and stole your data. It’s also possible that a shady shopping site where you found a, too good to be true deal, shuts down and decides to make some extra cash by selling its database on the dark web. There are a lot of ways your information can end up on the dark web even if you’re careful.
Why should you have a Dark Web Monitor?
Why having a Dark Web Monitor is a good idea because being aware of the problem is the first step to security.
The NordVPN Dark Web Monitor was the first time I’d used a tool like this. It works by scanning the dark web and letting you know if it finds credentials that may belong to you. This way, you can take action immediately to protect yourself.
If you open the NordVPN iOS app go to Settings – turn on Dark Web Monitor. It will use the email address that you signed up for NordVPN. This is a continuous scan, not a one time scan that you have to remember to do on a regular basis. If the monitor finds your email address on the dark web it will let you know the leak details, including which service was breached. It’s then up to you to take action!
What to do if your credentials are on the dark web?
First, don’t freak out, there is a chance that it’s nothing more than that, your email address is publicly available. But there is a big chance that you’ll become a victim of a phishing scam. It also means there is a chance someone can gain access to your accounts.
Change your password. Use a password manager to save and secure various strong passwords. This will guard against phishing, since they can use this to fill account information into sites across the web. So change your passwords and if you’ve used that password on other platforms you should change those too.
There’s a tool that can help you – a password manager, like NordPass.
It’s also a good idea to check on your financial accounts and put your accounts on high alert.
Practice smart habits moving forward!
This means using a VPN, apart from breaches using un secure networks puts you at risk, so you might want to change your surfing habits. This continuous dark web monitor is a part of NordVPN, which I’ve been loyal to Nord for 6 years, even before this advertorial series, you can read about that here.
What if you want to access the Dark Web?
If you’re curious to see the dark web for yourself you need to use a VPN, like Nord
A VPN is necessary for two reasons. First, if you live in a country where Tor or similar browsers that allow you to access the dark web have been banned or blocked. The second reason is that you don’t want your internet service provider or anyone else detecting that you’re using Tor.
It is not illegal to access the dark web, however, since the dark web is so strongly associated with criminal activity just accessing it can be a red flag and cause unnecessary scrutiny. In fact, in 2016, the US government declared that usage of the Tor browser was enough to warrant search and seizure of your device.
Dark Web Monitor is now available on the NordVPN apps for iOS. So grab your phone, open the NordVPN app, go to Settings, and turn the Dark Web Monitor on. Right now Nord is having a Cyber Monday deal where you can get 2 years for 75.65 plus 3 free months!
If you’re on Android, it’s coming! I’m told soon!