Home Web information Is your personal information on the dark web? Here’s what to do

Is your personal information on the dark web? Here’s what to do

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The dark web is a place where identity information is for sale – and this is just the beginning. (Photo: Getty)

The dark web: it is a mysterious virtual world that lives up to its sinister name. “Put simply, it’s probably the scariest place you can think of,” cybersecurity expert Adam Levin told Yahoo Life.

What’s even scarier is that you might be on the dark web without even knowing it.

But what exactly is the dark web?

“The dark web is where all the horrible things you can imagine happen,” from drug trafficking to extortion, Levin says. “An enormous amount of data is obviously on the dark web. We know that tens of millions of credit and debit cards are there, for example, and this information is available for sale.

Before we get tangled up in the infamous details, it’s important to note that there are ways to monitor your personal information and see if it has become vulnerable to the dark web. One of the best is to sign up for a dark web monitoring service. Nord VPN is the perfect place to start.

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Nord VPN disguises your location, hides your browsing activity, and monitors the dark web for you. (Photo: NordVPN)

Nord VPN is a virtual private network that makes your internet connection secure and anonymous. It protects your data and hides your browsing history – and it has a built-in dark web monitor that scans forums and dark websites for credentials associated with your Nord VPN email address. The software runs quietly in the background of your computer, but immediately alerts you if any of your personally identifiable information is detected there.

A Nord VPN subscription works on six devices and includes PCs, Macs, tablets, Android phones and iPhones. You can try it for free* for 30 days, then it’s just $5 a month.

VPNs are also great for many things beyond dark web monitoring. Nord VPN uses next-generation encryption to protect everything you have stored on your device. It also hides your IP address and location, hides your browsing activity, and even makes your computer or phone run faster and smoother, with less video buffering and a stronger, more stable internet connection.

Try Nord VPN for 30 days for free*

Here’s what to do if your information is on the dark web

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There are ways to take back your power. Nord VPN is a start. (Photo: Getty)

The dark web is a place where you absolutely should never explore on your own – and you probably couldn’t even find a way to get there, says Levin – so Nord VPN does the dirty work for you. If it detects any danger, it will give you explicit details, including the service that was breached, so you can act immediately. Taking action could mean:

  • Changing passwords for your online accounts: It’s best to change all of your passwords, not just the one for the affected account.

  • Changing your bank account numbers: Contact your bank directly and explain the situation. They will help you close your bank accounts and open new ones.

  • Stop your credit cards and have new ones issued: Be sure to set up fraud alerts! You may also want to place a credit freeze with each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and Transunion – so that no one can apply for credit on your behalf.

  • Digitizing your credit reports: You can also get your credit reports from all three bureaus and comb through them for suspicious activity.

If you have reason to believe your Social Security number has been stolen, visit IdentityTheft.gov, where you’ll be guided through a step-by-step recovery process.

Try Nord VPN for 30 days for free*

Your privacy is paramount and the power to protect it is in your hands

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Protect your online identity with Nord VPN

Of course, large companies sometimes experience large-scale data breaches that could expose your sensitive information (and that of many other people) to the dark web or other cybercriminals through no fault of yours. This is yet another reason why Nord VPN dark web monitoring is so crucial.

Knowing that there is an underworld online “where people basically go to buy and sell any form of contraband”, as Levin puts it, it’s easy to use Nord VPN, so you can be stealthy whenever you are online.

Of course, good “cyber hygiene,” Levin says, is also important to keep your information safe. “To paraphrase ‘The Karate Kid’, the best way to defend against a punch is to not be there, right? So the best way to not being on the dark web means practicing cyber hygiene.

This not only includes Nord VPN, but also powerful and always up-to-date antivirus software. A healthy dose of common sense online – don’t click on links if you don’t know the sender, for example – also goes a long way. Here’s a great way to get started, with some best practices for avoiding online scams.

Try Nord VPN for 30 days for free*