Dangers of the Dark Web

The criminal underworld of the Dark Web is a scary place, full of unknowns to the average person. Now, more than ever, it's important that your account holders understand these dangers and what you are doing to ensure their information is safe. This month, we're helping you focus on the what the Dark Web is and how account holders can protect themselves from the dangers it presents.

This will be the first part of a series focused on the internet "underworld", starting with this month's educational piece focused on the layers of the internet. It's important to first provide your account holders a clear understanding of what the Dark Web is. Beneath the surface of the internet, there is a layer of data and digital assets that exist called the Deep Web. It's not readily accessible by traditional browsers, but it's there. Beneath this layer, is the Dark Web. Accessible with specialized browsers to allow for anonymity, the Dark Web provides access to things that the surface internet does not.

Dark Web sites have positive and negative uses and whether you're a hacker or a political dissident, you can find resources to promote your specific cause. Your account holders need to understand that this layer of the web exists and how their information, once compromised, ends up in the illegal online marketplaces where data is transacted.

This information is important for your employees as well. Our partners at InfoArmor have a great article for you to help you educate your employees as well as your account holders. You can find the guide here.

Newsletter Content

Surface, Deep, and Dark Web Explained

Most people are aware of the dark web but few actually understand what it is and why it exists. What they also might not understand is there are actually layers to the internet, commonly referred to as the surface, the deep web and the dark web. It's important to understand why these areas of the web exist and why protecting your personal data is as important as carrying insurance for a car or health insurance for ourselves. The following article provides a brief overview of these layers of internet, where personal information is exposed, and how you can protect yourself from theft.

The Surface Web

Only about 1% of the information contained on the internet is considered surface web. What this means it that information can be indexed by search engines such as Google or Chrome and the information is easily available to users. If you were to picture an iceberg, the surface web would be the part that appears above water. Easy to see but overall, a small part of the entire iceberg.

The Deep Web

The remainder of the internet that is below the surface of this imaginary iceberg is called the Deep Web. Quite simply this area of the internet is made up of information that cannot be indexed by search engines and often requires a username and password to access the information. When you login to your online banking, make purchases with stored payment information, or transact on message boards through social media, you are interacting on the deep web.

The Dark Web

The Dark Web is a subset of the Deep Web. About 5% of the Deep Web is considered Dark Web and it is a place where criminals and law enforcement work, to quite different ends, in anonymity. The Dark Web is only accessible through a specific search engine and the main difference is that computers using this search engine are disguised and users can interact there without risk of being identified or exposed. Imagine a place where journalists and criminals can correspond without compromising themselves or their sources. A place where cultural and political dissidents can get information that their home country might be suppressing. This is the Dark Web, full of good and bad things. This is also the place where criminals go after a data breach to sell stolen information. The Dark Web is an unregulated environment. It is here that hackers and cyberthieves buy and sell your personal information. These criminals will then sell batches of information on Dark Websites. Card numbers, Social Security Numbers, e-mail addresses; all this information is valuable to identity thieves and is transacted daily.

Dark Web Dangers

"Over 500,000 Zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web and hacker forums for less than a penny each, and in some cases, given away for free.”

Take a moment and think about the depth and scope of this intrusion. Think about whether you might have been in this vast universe of contacts? It’s very likely that at some point you have been part of a massive data breaches.

Few things are scarier to us then the unknown. During our current health crisis, we are constantly bombarded with conflicting information that is driving our anxiety and sense of panic to new heights. Sadly, we also must deal with the fact that the pre-COVID dangers are still there, they’ve just been marginalized by the immediate danger of the pandemic.

The Dark Web is one of those places where fear of the unknown makes us nervous, and the danger it poses has not gone away with the pandemic. In fact, quarantining and self-isolation means hackers and cyber thieves have been more active as remote work gives them more opportunity to infiltrate servers, steal data, and sell it on the dark web.

The Dark Web is a place where personal information is bought and sold online, not unlike how you'd make a purchase on Amazon. It's surprisingly easy. Without proactive Identity Theft protection, you might never know if your personal information is available for purchase on these sites. It's only when a thieve uses your information illicitly that you might find out. Then the damage is done and it's up to you to fix it.

Fortunately, <FI> provides Fully Managed Recovery to our <EMBEDDED_ACCOUNT> holders. If your information has been compromised, Recovery Advocates are standing by, ready to start an investigation. Once the process is started, we can help you recover sensitive information, protect against future intrusions, and recover funds you may have lost in the theft.

There are some steps you need to take. First, enroll in your personal information into dark web monitoring; especially your Social Security Number. Second, watch your credit report. Changes in your credit history or attempts to acquire credit under your name are red flags that you need to watch for. Our monitoring service can provide you with updates when changes are made. Lastly, make sure you monitor your online banking and have access to your credit card transactions.

Keeping a close tab on your transactions is an easy way to stop things before they get serious. In many cases, if your information has been compromised, Not sure you have the right coverage? Reach out to an <FI> <CSR TITLE> to find out how we can help.

Social Media Content

The first step towards defending yourself against the dangers of the Dark Web is in understanding the Dark Web. Educate your account holders about the danger and protections available to them.

Post #1 - The Dark Web is a scary place, but you can still protect yourself, talk to a <FI> representative today to learn how. #darkwebdangers #deepwebdangers #yourprotectionpartner

Post #2 - With more people working remotely, hackers are finding new ways to infiltrate. Recently, ZOOM was hacked to the tune of 500,000 users. Protect yourself and your identity online. Talk to <FI> today to learn more. #darkwebdangers #deepwebdangers #yourprotectionpartner

Post #3 - The unknown is a scary place, so is the Dark Web. Protect yourself, learn more about how this layer of the internet operates and what you can do to protect yourself. #darkwebdangers #deepwebdangers #yourprotectionpartner

Post #4 - Taking a few easy steps can really help protect you from the dangers of the dark web. With proper monitoring from the right partner, you can reduce your risk of exposure from a breach. Find out how with <FI>. #darkwebdangers #deepwebdangers #yourprotectionpartner

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What's Hot?

Looking for new ways to protect your account holders? Our Dark Web Monitoring goes deeper than traditional credit monitoring. We continuously tracks criminal networks, black market forums, phishing networks, and exploited websites using sophisticated technology and human spies to uncover compromised sensitive information. Our service also provides easy, secure online storage of your credentials for retrieval in the event of theft of a purse or wallet, or home disaster. Ask your NXG client manager how you can add Dark Web and Social Media Monitoring to your existing offerings.

What's New?

As the COVID-19 crisis reaches its peak and more people are online, the incidence of identity theft is skyrocketing. NXG has developed a month-to-month nxg|CARE program that provides access to our professional Identity Recovery Advocates that can cover those account holders that may not otherwise be qualified in your standard program. This short term program is available at a small fraction of our normal cost through the end of 2020 to make it affordable for all of our clients. Ask your NXG Client Manager how you can get started closing the coverage gap for your account holders.

What's Next?

With Covid-related scams hitting the headlines, more financial institutions are adding nxg|PROTECT Elder Care as part of their initiatives around Elder Financial Abuse. Providing access to patient, skilled professionals to research possible identity theft and remediate fraudulent transactions, this service is a must-have for protecting seniors. If your institution already provides nxg|PROTECT services to at least 80% of your total checking accounts you qualify for nxg|PROTECT Elder Care for all elders outside of the covered group at no additional cost. Don't know if your institution currently qualifies for this coverage? Reach out to your NXG client manager to review your program to either increase your coverage or add nxg|PROTECT Elder Care for a low monthly fee.