Who’s Afraid of the Dark (Web)?

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Ever wonder what happened to all the data stolen in the 2017 Equifax breach? The attack affected more than 148 million Americans. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that your data was compromised.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Equifax breach involved a single web server at the credit bureau. The server had out-of-date software, which allowed attackers to access it 9,000 times over 76 days (if you haven’t installed the latest updates on your servers or other hardware, contact us to eliminate this vulnerability at your business). In that time, attackers stole credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, email addresses, and dates of birth.

It’s been nearly two years since the Equifax breach. What happened to all that data? It’s likely it’s available for sale on the dark web (or will be at some point in the future).

What is the dark web?

The dark web is part of the internet. Its websites are built with the same code that mainstream sites are and can be accessed with popular search engines. The difference is the internet connection. You connect to the mainstream web directly through your internet service provider (ISP). Your ISP creates a tag to identify you and your network, called an IP address.

The dark web requires special software to access. This software does not establish a direct connection between your network and your ISP. Instead, it encrypts and routes the connection through several different servers across the world. This type of connection keeps the identities of the websites and users on the dark web private. It also makes it safer for bad actors to sell stolen data, drugs, and other illegal goods and services.

Who can access the dark web?

Anyone with a little time and a little know-how can access the dark web. Some people use the dark web to ensure their internet searches remain private, while others use it to buy and sell illegal goods and services. Then, there are the white hats—users who access the dark web to identify its vulnerabilities and help shut down its sites. The dark web is often combed over by federal investigators, too.

Why should I care about the dark web?

Think about the Equifax breach for a moment. Cyber security experts believe the attackers who stole that information waited until outrage over the breach died down to use or sell the data they stole. On the dark web, you can purchase someone’s personal information or their entire identity, often for as little as $25. It’s possible your personal information is for sale on the dark web right now.

How can I protect myself from dark web bad actors?

The biggest defense against bad actors who may sell your data on the dark web is a robust and comprehensive cyber security plan. Network security, email protection, and cloud security are all important parts of your cyber security strategy. Now IT Connects can help you understand your vulnerabilities and implement a security plan to keep your data and your customers’ data protected. Don’t end up on the dark web. Contact the white hats at Now IT Connects today!