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What Is the Dark Web?

  |  Dashlane

The “bad boy” of the internet. The Onyx Wave. Cyber Rebel without a cause. Also known as the only place people actually buy and sell using Bitcoin, the dark web isn’t really as spooky as it is misunderstood. 

It’s the internet, just like ours, but requires specific software, configurations, and authorization to access. It makes up a small part of the larger “deep web,” the parts of the internet that are not indexed by search engines like Google (and thus do not show up in search results). The deep web is all the content you can access via a URL but would need a password or other security access to get passed the public-facing website. It’s mostly innocuous stuff like research papers, medical records, banking info, or services behind a paywall, like streaming websites or magazines.

The dark web, however, is only accessible through specific networks, the most popular being Tor. Tor is a software product that provides anonymous (encrypted) access to the internet.

Tor and other dark web networks aren’t by nature sinister: they’re often used by journalists and whistleblowers as a way to communicate and share files confidentially without risk of retribution. However, that anonymous file sharing (and use of Bitcoin!) also makes the dark web a great place to buy and sell personal info (passwords, credit cards, bank account info, etc) stolen from data breaches and hacks. 

The same mechanisms that allow bad actors to buy and sell personal data allow Dashlane to monitor what’s being bought and sold on behalf of our users. All you have to do is tell us what email address to keep an eye out for, and we’ll let you know if anything comes up.

What if I get a dark web notification from Dashlane?

Because just about anything can show up on the dark web, there’s no one-click solve for every situation. But here’s a few simple tips that are always worth your time:

  1. Change your password for the account that showed up in the dark web notification.
  2. If you reuse that password anywhere else, be sure to update those other accounts as well.
  3. Most banks and credit card companies have their own fraud detection services, so if a bank account shows up in a breach your best bet is to contact that company directly.

You can learn more about how to set up Dashlane's Dark Web Monitoring, available to all Premium customers, here.

Looking for more info?

Visit our online safety hub for the latest breach report and a complete guide to staying secure on the internet.

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