The dark web is a collective name for a variety of websites and marketplaces that bring together individuals willing to engage in illicit or shady activities. They cannot be accessed through traditional browsers and are not indexed by search engines like Google. Alarge part of the dark web trades in stolen information, including personal data harvested from data breaches or with the help of infostealers,and other cybercrimes. This can have major repercussions not only for the average user, but businesses and even the whole countries, with stolen personal and perhaps financial information on dark web sites. This threat is real, which is why dark web scans can be an important part of protecting the identities of regular internet users.
Before asking “What is a dark web scan?”, it is worth questioning if and how personal information can make its way onto the dark web. The simple answer is that all internet users are at risk of having their details released to the web’s murkier side, even if they do not access it themselves. This is because anyone can fall victim to phishing or malware attacks, through which hackers can compile data such as passwords, identities, and credit card information. In some cases, hackers may steal this data from the companies that collect and store personal information for advertising and marketing. In either case, after gathering all this information, hackers make it available to others on the dark web.
Simply put, a dark web scan enables internet users to discover whether their personal information has been made available on the dark web. These digital tools scour the darknet—specifically, through lists taken from known data breaches—to see if a user’s data has been uploaded. If the tool uncovers any user information on the dark web, it alerts the user, giving them the opportunity to take appropriate remedial steps.
Although they can be useful in helping to protect personal data and user privacy, it is important to note that dark web scanners can only do so much. This is because no matter how powerful the dark web scan tool is, it is impossible for any scanner to check every part of the darknet since many websites on this side of the internet remain private and inaccessible. As such, it is important for internet users to remain vigilant about their data online, for example, by using VPNs and antivirus software and maintaining good habits around sharing information on the web.
Dark web scans are also capable of identifying different types of criminal activity, which the darknet is notorious for. As such, some security organizations or law enforcement agencies may use dark web scanners to assist with investigations, using them to scour the dark web for mentions of illegal drugs, weapons, and counterfeit products, for example.
In the simplest terms, dark web scan tools are software that use specially crafted algorithms to trawl the dark web for mentions of a user’s personal data. Generally, to run a scan, the user must first enter specific personal details. The software will then run these details against the data dumps—known lists of personal details stolen through data breaches—that are available on the darknet. A dark web scan can search for all sorts of sensitive user information, including:
If the scan does discover a user’s personal details on the darknet, it immediately alerts them to what has been found and where. It then becomes incumbent on the user to take the appropriate next steps to protect themselves, as previously outlined.
However, users need to remember that a single dark web scan usually limits itself to popular marketplaces that have fewer privacy protocols and cannot search the entire dark web. Nor can they account for any breaches that occur immediately after the scan. As such, users who are very concerned about their privacy could opt to run regular dark web scans with different tools or use dark web monitoring to constantly parse the dark web for their stolen information.
The average internet user does not deal with the darknet, so why would they have any interest in performing a dark web scan? The answer is simple: to protect their personal data and try to prevent cybercriminals from using these details to perpetrate crimes. The obvious issues might include hacking into emails and social media accounts or stealing money from bank accounts. But there are numerous types of more nefarious frauds and scams that can be executed with the right personal information, for example, identity theft, credit card fraud, financial fraud, and robocall scams.
The main function of dark web scanning is for users to know whether their personal data has been stolen and potentially made available to cybercriminals. If this is the case, then the user can take certain measures to try and protect themselves from further problems. For example, they can block credit cards, alert banks, and change passwords to avoid financial loss and identity theft. But, there are several other reasons why some users—or indeed, companies—choose to make dark scanners part of their routine online check-ups:
Cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated methods to entrap internet users and lure them into sharing sensitive information. As such, it is entirely possible that passwords, credit card information, and other data ends up on the dark web. However, if a dark web scanner identifies stolen information, here are a few immediate actions to take to try and mitigate the damage:
For individuals and businesses seeking robust protection against the threats lurking in the dark web, Kaspersky Premium offers a cutting-edge solution that sets it apart from the crowd. This premium security product boasts two exceptional features specifically designed to delve into the depths of the dark web and safeguard your personal information.
The first of these features is the Data Leak Checker, a powerful tool that meticulously examines emails for any signs of compromise. By scanning your email communications, Kaspersky Premium can identify any leaked or exposed personal data, offering a critical layer of protection against identity theft and other cybercrimes.
In addition, Kaspersky Premium introduces the Identity Theft Check, a unique functionality that scrutinizes phone numbers associated with your email addresses. This innovative approach ensures that no potential leaks of personal information go unnoticed, giving users comprehensive security and peace of mind.
These two features, combined with Kaspersky Premium's overall suite of security tools, provide a robust defense against the dark web's threats. By choosing Kaspersky Premium, you increase the likelihood of maintaining your online privacy and data security, making it an essential addition to your cybersecurity arsenal. So, whether you're an individual seeking to protect your personal information or a business safeguarding critical data, Kaspersky Premium's advanced features offer an unparalleled level of protection, making it a valuable asset in the fight against dark web threats.
Simply by engaging with the world, everyone runs the risk of having their personal information leaked and potentially made available on the dark web. Even those who do not regularly use the internet could have their credit card details stolen, for example, if they make an in-store purchase and the point-of-sale system is later hacked. As such, regular dark web scans can be useful in protecting personal data and avoiding becoming a victim of crimes, like identity theft and financial fraud. While they may not be completely infallible, dark web scanning tools are one way for users to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Get Kaspersky Premium + 1 YEAR FREE Kaspersky Safe Kids. Kaspersky Premium received five AV-TEST awards for best protection, best performance, fastest VPN, approved parental control for Windows and best rating for parental control Android.
Related Articles and Links:
Related Products and Services: