What Is the Best Dark Web Monitoring Service?
When X (formerly Twitter) was hacked in late 2022, more than 200 million users had their data published for sale on the Dark Web. Days later, almost everyone — from celebrities to politicians to major companies — reported losing access to their accounts [*].
According to the latest reports [*]:
2023 is on track to be the worst year ever for data breaches — meaning there’s a good chance your personal data will end up on the Dark Web.
Dark Web monitoring tools and services can warn you when your personal data is compromised — giving you a headstart to secure your accounts and change your passwords before hackers and scammers can access them.
But which monitoring service is right for you?
In this guide, we’ll explain how Dark Web monitoring works and explore the pros and cons of 10 of the best Dark Web monitoring services in 2023.
What Is Dark Web Monitoring? How Does It Work?
The Dark Web is a collection of websites and online marketplaces that are only accessible by a special anonymous web browser called Tor. Scammers and hackers use the Dark Web to sell or trade personal information that can be used to steal your identity, break into your online accounts, or empty your bank account.
Dark Web monitoring is offered by subscription services that automatically scan recent data breaches and hidden online marketplaces for your leaked personal information. This provides early warning when hackers breach websites, applications, and institutions with which you’ve entrusted your data.
Dark websites are not indexed by search engines, and often use password protection and scrambled URLs to make them hard to find and even harder to access.
Here are some examples of the types of data people can buy on the Dark Web:
- Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Data breaches can leak personal information you’ve stored with a company — such as your full name and address, contact details, Social Security number (SSN), or even scans of your driver’s license, passport, and other IDs.
- Credit card numbers and other financial data. Hackers may post stolen credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other information for sale on the Dark Web. Even documents like home loan applications can find their way online.
- Passwords and login credentials. Many companies store user passwords in unencrypted files — meaning that if they get hacked, your account (and any others that use the same password) are compromised.
- Personal Health Information (PHI). Some Dark Web merchants specialize in breaking into hospital records and selling protected patient information. This data includes names, birth dates, SSNs, medical record numbers, and biometric data.
- Workplace logins and IP addresses. When hackers successfully break into an organization’s network, they may decide to sell the organization’s login credentials as an access point for other cybercriminals to use. Buyers may use this data to launch ransomware attacks or commit other cybercrimes.
- Intellectual property. Dark Web data marketplaces may sell trade secrets (and other forms of protected information) to criminals. This can include anything from invention patents to books, designs, or any other copyrighted materials that you created.
The bottom line: Any of your personal data found on the Dark Web can put you at risk of identity theft and financial fraud. Try Aura’s all-in-one identity theft and digital security solution free for 14 days and protect yourself and your family from hackers.
Do you need to pay for Dark Web monitoring tools?
While there are free Dark Web scanning tools available, they only scan for your leaked email address and phone number. Free tools can’t check if your SSN, passwords, or other sensitive data has been breached.
Additionally, most free Dark Web scanners only conduct one search at a time. Paid Dark Web monitoring services continuously search for your data online and alert you the moment they detect a match.
As an added bonus, most Dark Web monitoring tools are bundled with identity theft and financial fraud protection as well as digital security tools — such as antivirus software, password managers, and more features that can keep you safe from scams.
The 10 Best Dark Web Monitoring Services for Individuals
- Identity Guard
- Norton 360
- Experian IdentityWorks
- Firefox Monitor
Many Dark Web monitoring vendors serve businesses and large organizations that have different needs in their security stacks when compared to individuals and families. In our guide, we’re looking exclusively at Dark Web monitoring and digital security services designed for individuals.
Aura is an award-winning, all-in-one digital security and identity theft protection solution that includes comprehensive Dark Web monitoring. Aura monitors all of your most sensitive information across the Dark Web, data breaches, public records, and more — including your full name and address, SSN, driver’s license, passport, and more.
While relatively new compared to other services, Aura has already been rated #1 by Money.com, Forbes, TechRadar, and more.
Aura also protects you in the worst-case scenario — when scammers and hackers have your personal information.
With Aura, you get three-bureau credit monitoring with the industry’s fastest fraud alerts3 as well as bank and financial account monitoring, a full suite of digital security tools, $1 million insurance against eligible losses due to identity theft, and U.S.-based 24/7 support from White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists.
Aura plans and pricing:
Aura offers simple and transparent pricing plans for individuals, couples, and families. Every plan includes Dark Web monitoring as well as other critical safety features. All you have to do is decide how many people you want to protect.
Here are Aura’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Individual Plan: $12 per month $6 per month (using the link below)
- Couple Plan (two members): $22 per month $11.49 per month (using the link below)
- Family Plan (five adults and unlimited children): $37 per month $20 per month (using the link below)
💡 Special offer: Use this link to save 60% on all Aura annual plans (includes 60-day money-back guarantee).
Aura offers one of the most comprehensive security solutions on the market, with 24/7 Dark Web monitoring and near real-time fraud alerts. If you discover your information published on the Dark Web, Aura demonstrates its true value with expert Fraud Resolution specialists and $1 million insurance coverage per member.
2. Identity Guard
Identity Guard has been around for decades and has protected over 38 million individuals from identity theft and fraud.
Identity Guard offers Dark Web monitoring on its low-cost Value plan, making it easy for anyone to get alerted to vulnerabilities when their data has been published online. While not as comprehensive as other providers on this list, Identity Guard does make Dark Web monitoring accessible without adding costs for extra features and security services on top of its basic Value plan pricing.
Identity Guard plans and pricing:
Identity Guard offers three pricing plan tiers, depending on your needs. Dark Web monitoring is available on every plan — even the low-cost Value plan.
Here are Identity Guard’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Value Plan (no credit monitoring): $7.50 per month (individual) and $12.50 (family)
- Total Plan: $16.67 per month (individual) and $25 (family)
- Ultra Plan: $25 per month (individual) and $33.33 (family)
Identity Guard doesn’t offer a free trial but includes a 60-day money-back guarantee on all annual plans.
Identity Guard is a reputable security company with great technology and a very low pricing tier. It’s an excellent option for anyone who only wants Dark Web monitoring and isn’t willing to pay for more comprehensive features.
LastPass is a password management service that includes Dark Web monitoring as one of its newer features. The company’s updated Security Dashboard will tell you if your username or password has been listed in data breaches on the Dark Web. However, the company mishandled a data breach in 2022, making it difficult to trust [*].
LastPass plans and pricing:
LastPass offers both free and premium accounts to users. Both account types offer Dark Web monitoring, which means you can easily start monitoring your emails and passwords for free.
Here are LastPass’ plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Free: No cost
- Premium: $36 per year
- Families: $48 per year
While free Dark Web monitoring is an attractive option, LastPass simply isn’t doing enough to earn back its customers’ trust and provide top-notch services. It will have to do much more to compete with other entrants on this list.
4. Norton 360
Norton is well known for securing endpoints with antivirus software, but it also includes Dark Web monitoring in its Deluxe and Premium plans. Customers can continuously scan for 35 different pieces of information on Dark Web forums and e-commerce sites.
Norton 360 plans and pricing:
Norton 360 has a complicated pricing structure, including low introductory rates that renew at a significantly higher price after your first year. All plans (except the most affordable AntiVirus Plus plan) include Dark Web monitoring.
Here are Norton 360’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Standard: $39.99 per year (renews at $94.99 after the first year)
- Deluxe: $49.99 per year (renews at $119.99 after the first year)
- Select + LifeLock: $99 per year (renews at $179.99 after the first year)
Norton also offers a number of specialty plans, add-ons, and combos for additional costs (such as a secure VPN, Ultimate Help Desk, Computer “Tune Up” and more). These add up, and can make Norton one of the most expensive providers out there.
Norton 360 would be a great option if it had a simpler pricing structure and more comprehensive services. It’s hard to recommend in its current form because the company doesn’t offer much support or assistance after alerting customers that their data has been found on the Dark Web.
Dashlane is a password manager that serves both individuals and business customers. It includes Dark Web monitoring in its service, scanning more than 20 billion records for leaked data. This service is included with all paid plans – but not in Dashlane’s free trials of paid plans.
Dashlane plans and pricing:
Dashlane offers separate subscription tiers to individuals, families, and businesses. It does provide some Dark Web monitoring to all paid accounts, but it saves the most valuable features for its business accounts.
Here are Dashlane’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Premium: $3.33 per month (billed annually)
- Friends & Family (up to 10 accounts): $4.99 per month (billed annually)
Dashlane is a reputable password manager that offers useful services at very low prices. It would be better if it included its more advanced features in individual and family plans, but it still provides a low-cost entry into the world of Dark Web monitoring.
6. Experian IdentityWorks
Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus, and it offers customers a complete set of security services designed to protect against potential threats such as fraud and identity theft. The company offers a free one-time Dark Web scan. Paid subscribers can monitor the Dark Web for certain information, including their phone number, email address, and home address.
IdentityWorks plans and pricing:
Experian IdentityWorks offers Dark Web surveillance alerts starting with its Premium plan.
Here are Experian IdentityWorks’ plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Free (single Dark Web surveillance report): Free
- Premium: $24.99 per month
- Family: $34.99 per month
Experian does provide a comprehensive suite of digital security services, but at a high cost relative to some of its competitors. At the same time, it doesn’t offer as much value to families as some of the other providers on this list.
IdentityForce is an all-in-one offering similar to Aura and Identity Guard that provides Dark Web monitoring and comprehensive tools for responding to hackers and online threats. It also monitors public records and investment accounts, and provides customers with valuable fraud restoration services – including remediation for deceased family members.
IdentityForce plans and pricing:
Here are IdentityForce’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- IdentityForce UltraSecure plan: $17.99 per month
- IdentityForce UltraSecure+Credit plan: $23.99 per month
Note: Adding children to the family plan costs an additional $2.75 per month per child.
While IdentityForce does offer valuable features for protecting customers from leaked data on the Dark Web, getting comprehensive security from the company ends up costing more than many other options. This is especially true if you wish to add children to your plan.
💡 Related: Aura vs. IdentityForce: 2023 Comparison and Review →
8. Firefox Monitor
Firefox Monitor is a free Dark Web monitoring service provided by Mozilla. It works as an extension of the Firefox web browser, providing alerts when your username or password data appear on databases of known breaches. The service relies entirely on free, open-source breach data.
Firefox Monitor plans and pricing:
Firefox Monitor is a free, open-source plug-in that you can add to the Firefox browser. There is no paid premium tier, and no way to add additional services.
Firefox Monitor offers limited Dark Web surveillance services to users for free, making it an easy choice for anyone who is curious about Dark Web monitoring but not yet ready to pay for it. However, it’s best not to expect too much from a service that can’t guarantee accurate results and doesn’t support automation or advanced threat hunting.
Zander is an insurance provider that includes a simple Dark Web surveillance feature along with some of its policies. The overall service is not as comprehensive as others on this list – there is no monitoring for investment accounts, criminal records, or other issues. However, it provides limited information about Dark Web risks at a low price.
Zander plans and pricing:
Zander is one of the most affordable identity theft protection services that includes Dark Web monitoring. However, you get what you pay for — as Zander lacks some critical digital security and fraud protection features.
Here are Zander’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- Essential Plan: $6.75/month (individual) or $12.90/month (family)
- Elite Cyber Bundle: $9.99/month (individual) or $19.49/month (family)
Zander doesn’t offer a free trial. However, if you pay monthly (which costs slightly more), you can cancel at any point.
Zander’s offering is worth considering as a supplement to an existing insurance policy. However, it offers limited capabilities when compared to other similarly-priced options. Zander’s security teams don’t offer the kind of incident response services that many network security companies on this list do.
IDX is one of the most expensive identity protection services offered by a cybersecurity company, but it is also one of the more comprehensive. It provides a complete set of monitoring services, including Dark Web monitoring — along with an identity recovery guarantee that few other services can match.
IDX plans and pricing:
Here are IDX’s plans and pricing as of October 2023:
- IDX Identity (basic monitoring and one-bureau credit monitoring): $9.95 per month
- IDX Privacy (more comprehensive monitoring): $12.95 per month
- IDX Complete (includes three-bureau credit monitoring): $32.90 per month
IDX is a reliable company that provides accurate and detailed data leak alerts. However, the positives can be hard to justify given the product’s high price. Still, IDX is worth considering if you’re willing to justify spending so much money when cheaper alternatives for digital risk management are available.
Can You Remove Your Personal Information From the Dark Web?
No. It’s almost impossible to remove your information from the Dark Web. Even if you do manage to take down a listing offering to sell your personal data, there is no way to know how many people have already gained access to it or where else your data has been shared.
The best way to protect yourself from hackers selling your information on the Dark Web is to know exactly what information was compromised. This gives you time to update your passwords and tighten your security before hackers can use your data against you.
How To Keep Your Information Off the Dark Web
With the number of publicly reported data breaches rising each year, almost everyone is at risk of having their information exposed.
Dark Web monitoring can help give you a headstart on scammers, and secure your accounts and identity before it’s too late — but it won’t stop your personal information from being leaked in the first place.
It’s up to you to keep your personal information private and avoid oversharing data online. The less information you share, the safer your digital identity will be from cyber threats.
Here are a few steps you can take to protect your data and prevent it from circulating on the Dark Web:
- Use strong, unique passwords for every account. If hackers learn one of your passwords, they will try to use it on every platform and app you have ever signed in to. Make sure you never reuse passwords from one account to another – every account should have its own unique password.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Most online accounts allow you to verify your login using an additional device or app. Enable 2FA on every account that supports it, and make sure to use a special authenticator app instead of verifying logins through unsecured SMS messages.
- Understand what kinds of data are sensitive. Your sensitive information includes your street address, telephone number, and other details that malicious actors could use to attempt impersonations of you or people close to you.
- Use antivirus software and Safe Browsing tools. Many hackers use fake websites and malicious downloads to learn their victims’ login credentials and personal data. Use up-to-date antivirus software to protect your device from harmful websites.
- Delete old accounts that you don’t use anymore. Every account you’ve ever created online could potentially be hacked. Look for old accounts that you don’t use anymore – especially social media accounts, blogs, or temporary apps – and delete your data from them.
Unfortunately, even if you do everything you can to protect your data, it’s nearly impossible to completely stop threat actors on your own.
Aura’s all-in-one identity theft protection solution provides additional features and resources that can block hackers from ever accessing your information.
Aura combines 24/7 Dark Web monitoring with three-bureau credit reporting (and the industry’s fastest fraud alerts3), a $1 million identity theft insurance policy for every adult plan member, and U.S.-based, 24/7 access to dedicated Fraud Resolution Specialists.