What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web is a term that gets tossed around a lot, though most people only have a vague idea of what it actually is. But when it comes to the dark web, what you don’t know can hurt you.

What is the dark web?

Essentially, it’s an anonymous internet.

The dark web is a part of the internet that can only be accessed through an anonymized browser called Tor. It contains websites that aren’t indexed by Google or any other search engines. While not all of the activity on the dark web is criminal, the people using it are untraceable, the websites on it are run by undisclosed entities, and anonymous currencies like Bitcoin can be used to buy and sell (both legal and illegal) goods and services. The illegal goods and services offered include things like guns, drugs, and—most relevant to us at Dashlane—an enormous amount of leaked and stolen personal data, like passwords and logins, credit card numbers, and bank account information.

This stolen personal data has been collected over years, the result of thousands of different hacks and breaches that you’ve heard of (e.g. the Facebook breach) and probably just as many that you haven’t. Cybercriminals buy this data and process it with specialized software to try to get into your accounts and steal your identity or money, which is why using unique and strong passwords for each account is so important—the stronger your passwords, the less chance the software can crack them.

What is a dark web scan?

A dark web scan uses your email address(es) to scan the dark web for any instances of leaked or stolen personal data associated with your email address.

If any personal data associated with your email address is discovered, you’ll be notified immediately so you can take action. Once you add an email address, it is automatically monitored from that point forward, and you’ll be alerted if any new leaked or stolen personal data is uploaded to the dark web.

Once your dark web scan results come back, you can secure compromised accounts and regain control of your information.

You may be wondering what your personal information being available on the dark web means for your identity. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your identity has been stolen. That being said, it’s best to be proactive and take precautions. Update compromised passwords, and monitor your bank accounts and credit score for any unusual activity.

You can learn more about how to set up Dashlane’s dark web scan, available to all Premium customers, here.