Content on the Dark Web or Deep Web is encrypted content that has been unindexed by search engines such as Google or Bing – It does not exist on them. To access this you shall need something else rather than Chromium browsers and need a VPN or Tor to access. You may have been notified by McAfee or Idnotify dark web scanners that your email address was found on the dark web and sometimes this notification alert can be terrifying.
Though many of you use terms such as dark web and “deep web” interchangeably they don’t mean the same thing. There are however few similarities but they are vastly different.
Darknet and Deep Web for Leaked Information
It describes content that cant be indexed by the search engines but do exist on the shared encrypted networks. From this we can say that both dark and deep web are closely related.
It refers to certain data which is specific to one niche which you intend to keep private. Though this sounds malicious but most darknet carries raw data which has been used by researchers and scientists. This is the place where most whistleblowers, activists and reporters communicate.
On this platform, many criminal forums and marketplaces exist which can be accessed with specific network configurations and browsers. Standard web pages on the other hand collect your data, privacy and anonymity.
It plays quite an important role in many data breaches which have made news, this is because for cybercriminals like identity thieves, this is a place to buy, sell, as well as trade information.
These marketplaces usually deal with credit card numbers, weapons, bank account details, forgeries, social security numbers, hackers for hire, ransomware-as-a-service, human trafficking, phone numbers, illicit drugs and passport numbers.
Many problems occurs whenever sensitive data and personally identifiable information ends up on the dark web. This usually includes financial fraud, impersonation of friends, family and co-workers, and corporate espionage.
It is helpful to have cybersecurity tools such as antivirus or firewalls and VPN solutions but keep in mind that these do not keep off your data off the dark market places. This all because other entities you engage such as government agencies, retailers, insurers, healthcare providers, employers can fall for security event and leak your personal data and details.
Still, today no one is safe even technology giants such as Yahoo, Amazon and leading credits such as Equifax and Experian have fallen prey to this.
Why is your Name or Email Address on the Dark Web?
When we talk about sensitive corporate and personal data, there are different ways in which it ends on the dark web. Like your personal details might have been part of data dump from recent data breach or stolen while using public wifi, visiting sites that are not at all secure, social engineering attacks such as ransomware and phishing attacks, and not able to shred documents containing private and sensitive information.
Like security thefts might be able to breach enterprise databases and steal information such as full name, birth date, license number, bank account details, personal address, user IDs, credentials and much more.
When you work remotely and share public wifi while sipping hot coffee, you are actually sharing details with threat actors. Many of you who click on malicious social media links also tend to share personal details freely.
Your Email Address was Found on the Dark Web by McAfee, Experian, Idnotify, or Creditwise
You may receive an alert with the subject “Your Email Address was found on the dark web“. This may be triggered by dark web monitoring you may have set up by McAfee or Idnotify apart from your credit agency, Experian.
At first, you should stay calm and not panic in this situation and quickly check that all your finances and online accounts are in check and working as expected. This notification itself is not confirmation as such that you have been hacked. It may be just that their free dark web scanner has picked up your email somewhere which could be a dump for example.
You should always start by changing your passwords and make sure you have 2FA/MFA enabled.
How To Find Your Information Leaked on the Dark Web (Free Scanner)
A few signs indicate your data is being actively bought and sold online. You may notice unusual activity in bank statements and email accounts.
Suspicious activity needs to be taken seriously no matter how big or small. This is a serious matter.
You can take a proactive approach by engaging in dark web monitoring, dark web scans as well as setting up fraud alerts. Make sure not to stop here, today cybersecurity is an ongoing concern. Do take proactive steps to protect your sensitive data and keep eye on everything.
It is also a good ideal to sign up for credit monitoring and checking your rating on regular terms. To go a step further get a dark web monitoring service.
These may seem to be a lot of things to do but once information goes on the dark web there is not coming back. Sites on this don’t live longer and are reincarnated under a different name often. Bad actors can also copy data many times for the sake of profit.
Once you have taken all the measures and still notice some issues, your information is already on the dark web.
You can check your details using the HIBP service. This is a free service, you need to do a search while using your email address and phone number.
How To Protect Your Personal Information after a Dark Web Leak – The aftermath process
Quickly notify your bank and freeze your cards
This can be done by credit bureaus, as it used to stop anyone from opening new accounts by your name. This is because lenders shall not be able to have access to your frozen credit report to make lending decisions.
This one is a free feature which makes you can take full advantage of it. For this you need to contact the credit bureau directly. When you are applying for a new credit card it is advised to unfreeze or thaw credit reports temporarily. If this is too much you then simply sign-up for a fraud alert.
Keep an eye out on your social media platforms
If criminals and thefts have some chunks of your information and they require more, then they shall target you with multiple scams and try to get as much information as they can.
To prevent this make sure to stop sharing too much information on online platforms, refrain clicking on links which seem to be suspicious, and avoid answering questions on memes.
Run an antivirus scan – Just to be safe
Make it a habit to scan your phone device, tablet, laptop or desktop. If you find any viruses, trojans then take steps to clean the device.
When data leaks compromise sensitive business data then it helps to engage a managed security services provider. This reduces risk and the chance of another event happening again.
Check your credit score with credit referencing agencies
It is crucial to inform credit bureaus such as Equifax and Experian when you fall victim to data leak. They have different options to prevent credit request which are fraud, including two-factor authentication on all credit pulls.
Tracking charges on your card statement is still vital even if you have done needful. Security thefts are highly attractive credit cards and most of the time they get away using different cards with charges that go unnoticed.
Make sure to enable 2FA (Two-factor authentication)
This identifies the identity of the user using more than one authentication method, like to log into your bank account you can use the Microsoft authentication application to enter a code which has been generated in real-time.
When you verify using code, the bank along with other actors know that you know your credentials and have control over the device which has been linked with the account.
If information is present on the dark web already then it is made sure by MFA that one else gets access to your personal accounts. MFA takes form of an authenticator app, fingerprint, SMS, facial recognition, push notifications, and email. Out of all these options text message and email are least secured.
Passwords will be brute-forced so change them
Try to use strong passwords which do not carry your name, date of birth and anything which can easily be guessed using information available online. Also for different platforms use different passwords as when you don’t it gets easy for security thefts to breach all at the same time. These usually happen with the help of password dictionaries that contain millions of combinations that they keep trying.
Secure your mobile plan and SIM
This is commonly used by threat actors which helps to get SIM-swapping protection. This is similar to swapping your SIM out to activate a new phone device, the difference is that cybercriminals trick or at times even bribe employees at phone carriers instead of using the SIM.
When these get the inside help then they get your MFA codes which are sent to the device in their control to have access to all your account. If your device carries a security feature which prevents numbers from being ported to new devices then make sure to sign up for it.
Check your installed applications and don’t install from unknown sources
Today there are millions of mobile applications among which many are harmless. However, there are few that requests access to your pictures, location, camera, microphone and even contact lists.
These applications might have malware which collects data in real-time and then share it with criminals. For such applications either you have Android or Apple change settings to limit exposure.
Conclusion: Email Address Found on the Dark Web
Your data is valuable as it shows a lot about you and can even harm your life. This is why so many hacking groups are after it and people want their hands on this information. Your email address was found on the dark web McAfee/Idnotify alert is concerning and you should not ignore it at any cause and check where/how the breach happened and take measures to protect yourself from it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you be worried if your email was found on the dark web?
Finding your email on the dark web doesn't automatically mean you have been breached. This means that a dark web scanning tool has found your email on a breach and it was pasted as plain text on a website or forum. However, this doesn't mean you should relax and ignore it. It requires a thorough investigation.
Can you monitor your email address if it ends up on the dark web?
You can use tools such as McAfee or Idnotify that alert you if your personal information such as phone numbers, name and email address appear anywhere on the deep or dark web.
Experian or Creditwise found my email on the dark web, what should I do?
If you have been notified by either Experian or Idnotify that your email address has leaked on the dark web it is because they are credit referencing agencies that also look out for any personal information leaking on the web.