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What is the dark web?

While most people access the internet through common web browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Edge, there are deeper levels of the internet that aren't accessible by the average user.

The Dark Web is a collection of websites, forums, and marketplaces that are only accessible by using the Tor browser. This specialized browser grants users a level of anonymity that is especially appealing to cybercriminals, hackers, and government operatives who want to hide their identity. While no one can pinpoint the origins of the Dark Web, it’s now referenced in mainstream conversations about technology and digital security as the source of many security issues.

There are people who need the Dark Web so they can keep doing their dangerous — but not necessarily illegal — work. Examples include:

  • Whistleblowers
  • Dissidents of oppressive regimes
  • Activists
  • Journalists who must protect their sources
  • Law enforcement
  • Intelligence agencies

Misguided individuals or those with clear criminal intent have found a way to use this level of anonymity to cover up their illicit activities and — up to a point — evade law enforcement agencies.

Why Is the Dark Web So Dangerous? What Can I Find There?

Cybercriminals and other malicious actors rely heavily on the capabilities of the Dark Web in various unlawful ways. The hotspots for illegal activity on the Dark Web are marketplaces and forums where bad actors transact illegal products and services.

Some of the illicit products lawbreakers and scammers peddle on these black markets include stolen and counterfeit data which comes in many varieties:

  • Personal data. (Also called PII or personally identifiable information) This includes full names, home addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, Social Security numbers (SSN), hacked email addresses, and many more details that can pinpoint you as an individual.
  • Financial data. Stolen credit card details, online banking usernames and passwords, credentials for cryptocurrency accounts, banking and insurance records, and much more.
  • Online account login data. Typically comprising username-password combinations, which provide access to accounts ranging from social media to ride-sharing and video streaming services to paid professional services. Even logins to genetic testing and antivirus products are in demand.    
  • Medical data. (Also called PHI or personal health information) This covers your medical history, prescriptions, biometric data (including fingerprints and images of your face), test results, billing information, and other sensitive details. In the wrong hands, this can culminate in medical or even fingerprint identity theft.
  • Confidential corporate data. Includes classified information such as intellectual property, patents, competitive intelligence, and other operational details.
  • Forged data. Most notably fake passports, stolen driver’s licenses and IDs, bank drafts, and more.

‍How can Aura help?

  • Aura monitors Dark Web sites to ensure your information isn’t exposed or part of a breach. If we find your info leaked online, we’ll send you an alert with recommendations on how to protect yourself via email, SMS, or push notifications.
  • Scans for your SSN being used by someone else (i.e. your SSN associated with another person’s name and/or address)
  • Notifies you when your identity is used in credit and non-credit transactions like payday loans, wire transfers, and account openings 

Here are some of the items Aura monitors on the Dark Web:

  • Personal Information
  • 1 SSN or SIN
  • 1 Birth Date
  • 1 Address
  • 5 Phone Numbers
  • Identification Cards
  • 2 Passport Numbers
  • 1 Driver's License Number
  • 1 National Provider ID
  • 3 Health Insurance IDs

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