What Happens When Your Personal Info Lands on the Dark Web?

October 9, 2019

Since we live in the digital age, it’s important to know that our private information is more vulnerable than ever. Cyber crime can happen to anyone, with many people and companies being victimized by hackers every day. One of the widely-considered havens for criminal activity online is the Dark Web–a secretive part of the internet that can only be accessed through specific software.

What is the Dark Web?

Through the Dark Web, users can do everything in anonymity. It is not indexed by search engines, making it a commonly-used platform for selling and buying financial data and a hotbed for illegal transactions. It’s also a place where people can buy usernames and passwords, hacked subscription accounts, counterfeit items, credit card numbers, and so on.

Given all that, you need to know the risks of personal information being leaked onto the Dark Web. Below are the more pressing ones.

1. Spoofed Emails

Although some people think it’s no big deal if an email address shows up on the dark web, that’s actually not the case. A cybercriminal can in fact compromise your computer security just by getting their hands on your email address. A hacker could also spoof your email account to make others believe they are receiving messages from you.

Remember, too, that most online accounts use email addresses as user identification. If you notice spoofed emails coming from your personal email, contact your email provider ASAP. For anyone who uses their email address as the user ID for certain online accounts, consider getting new user IDs or switching to a stronger password.

2. Sale of Personal Information

Not all things on the dark web are illegal; there are online marketplaces that facilitate the buying and selling of legal items. However, it’s also a huge marketplace for stolen personal information and other forms of data.

After a hacking or data breach, personal information is usually purchased and sold by identity thieves who want to make money using other people’s names. Diplomas, medical records, and other sensitive information may also be found for sale on the dark web.

3. Hacking of Personal Accounts

If your personal information does not land in the dark web marketplace, it will likely be used by the hacker himself. They may use it to access various accounts under your name and copy other important details.

It’s also possible for hackers to use your personal information to access your files, which - as you can tell - would be a severe breach of your privacy. You might find yourself facing the release of personal files such as documents or even photos; celebrities are more prone to the latter, but that doesn't mean you can't have that happen to you.

Cloud storage systems like Dropbox and Google Drive aren't completely safe in such cases, either. If the hacker has your personal information, they can easily access files you've stored there, such as personal archives or business-related documents.

Protect Your Personal Data from Dark Web Hackers

Neglecting cybersecurity can be damaging to any individual or business. Aside from directly affecting your finances, cyberattacks can cause serious reputational damage.

Do not let your personal info end up in the wrong hands. When you're aware of the risks, it may be much easier to safeguard yourself from cybercriminals, malware, and other forms of online threats. But that doesn't mean you have to do it all on your own. LAC offers a free scan to check if you're at risk; all you need to do is submit your info.

Take our free assessment

This one-of-a-kind digital analysis goes deep into diagnosing your actual status, strengths, opportunities and threats (did we mention its FREE?)