It’s hard to imagine the vastness of the World Wide Web. In fact, most of what we browse and the sites we visit every day only make up approximately 4% of the entire web. The remaining 96% is known as the deep web. However, there’s an even more dangerous subset of the deep web known as the dark web, which accounts for 6% of the entire web.
While most areas of the deep web are benign, the dark web is the epitome of danger, filled with illegal activities, frauds, scams, and other malicious behaviors. It’s important to be cautious and vigilant to prevent your personal information from making it onto the dark web.
What’s the Difference Between the Deep Web and Dark Web?
The deep web and the dark web are often characterized as being the same entity. However, they represent two distinct portions of the Internet, although they do share some similarities. Neither can be indexed through standard search engines like Google or Bing, which is why they’re both categorized as being part of the deep web. Additionally, both often utilize advanced encryption.
The deep web includes private databases, subscription-based content, password-protected websites, and other hidden corners of the internet. Every time you login to an account, you’re using the deep web, so most of the deep web we use every day is not dangerous. The deep web also houses valuable and sensitive information. For instance, your online banking information, email accounts, and private social media profiles all reside in the deep web.
Comparatively, the dark web is much more dangerous and difficult to access. The only way to access the dark web is through specialized web browsers that enable anonymous web browsing, which is why the dark web is considered its own subsect of the deep web. Within the dark web, users can interact without revealing their identity, making it a haven for illegal activities such as the sale of drugs, weapons, stolen data, and other illicit goods and services. It's also a breeding ground for hackers, cybercriminals, and various nefarious actors.
How Deep Web Information Can Circulate on the Dark Web
During a cyber breach, there is a possibility of individuals stealing information from the deep web and subsequently exploiting it on the dark web. It begins with the acquisition of sensitive data from various sources within the deep web, which can involve database hacks, infiltrating private forums, or purchasing stolen information from underground markets that already exist in the deep web itself.
These sources could contain valuable data such as personal identification details, financial records, login credentials, or even medical records. Once cybercriminals obtain this information, they often proceed to the dark web, where they can monetize their criminal acts. Stolen data can be sold on dark web marketplaces to the highest bidder, facilitating identity theft, fraud, or further hacking endeavors.
How to Keep Your Information Protected
Navigating the Internet comes with inherent risks, as the World Wide Web is rife with bad actors and cybercriminals. Safeguarding your online presence is paramount to protect your personal information and digital assets. With the proper know-how and the right tools, you stand a better chance at keeping yourself protected.
- Know the Risk: Everything we say and do online is recorded and can be tracked and monitored. It’s essential to always proceed with caution whenever accessing websites and entering personal information or login information.
- Use Trustworthy Sites: It’s important to visit sites that you know are trustworthy. There are some clear signs that indicate a website is likely malicious, such as strange URLs, constant pop-up ads, outdated web design, etc. However, even users on trustworthy sites can posts malicious content. So again, proceed with caution.
- Keep Software Up to Date: Updating software ensures any critical security vulnerabilities are patched, which can help protect you from exploits and attacks. Many cyber criminals target outdated software. It's important to stay up to date to reduce your risk of being victimized.
- Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN): A huge security pitfall is whenever individuals leave their private home network and unknowingly connect to a malicious public network thinking it’s safe. A VPN ensures all information you enter on a public network is encrypted. Even better, you can use it on your home network for an extra layer of protection.
- Use Common Sense: At the end of the day, it’s the user who has the greatest control over their online safety. Trust your gut and use common sense. Don't click on links or download files from sources you don't recognize and avoid giving out personal information without good reason. Be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true and always be on the lookout for red flags like typos and other errors.
In an era where our lives are increasingly connected to the Internet, protecting both our online presence and personal security is a primary concern. It's essential to recognize the broader implications of personal safety, both in the digital and real world.
Vector Security is here to make security a top priority, and we’re committed to finding the right security solution for you. Learn more by contacting us today.