Dark Web 101

In light of recent high-scale data breaches, the term “Dark Web” has been receiving plenty of exposure. We’ll cover the basics of what organizations need to know about what it is, who’s on it and what companies can do to protect themselves from compromised and breached information.

What is the Dark Web?

There are multiple layers to the internet:
• You have the surface of the web: any information that’s searchable and available for public view.
• The deep web: information that’s stored and not available for public search and view. The deep web is the portion of the internet that is hidden from conventional search engines, as by encryption, for example.
• Then, there’s the Dark Web: a collection of websites that are publically visible, but hide and mask the IP addresses of the servers that host them. Almost everyone that accesses the Dark Web uses a Tor (the onion router). Tor hides the user’s identity and spoofs their location by constantly bouncing you from server to server. I2P or rather, the “Invisible Internet Project” is another decentralized anonymizing network built using Java on similar principles to Tor to access the Dark Web.

Who and What is on the Dark Web?

People who access and utilize the Dark Web want to browse anonymously. There’s many legitimate and good people on it, and also bad. For example, law enforcement or journalists may use it to keep in contact with informants and others may use it to simply protect their identity from state and private surveillance. On the other hand, unfortunately, criminals also use the dark web for a variety of mischievous purposes. A fraudster might be searching for identities to purchase, or criminals might be looking to buy illegal drugs, hacking tutorials, adult entertainment or other malicious services.

The information that people access on the surface of the web alone is large. But, it scales in comparison to the information available on the Dark Web. The amount of information, along with goods and services available for purchase (both legal and illegal), is extraordinary vast. Almost anything you want can be purchased anonymously and at someone’s door in a matter of days. But, more relevant to recent news, most of the personal information obtained through the latest data breaches is available for fraudsters to purchase. This makes fraud more rampant across all industries.

What Organizations Need to Know

The Dark Web can be an intimidating and scary place – but, it’s here to stay. Fraud is a main concern for organizations and consumers alike. And, if a fraudster can purchase a “perfect identity” (enough qualifying personal information to open or access an account) on the Dark Web, organizations, both big and small, need to ensure they have robust identity verification and fraud solutions in place. With IDology’s ExpectID solution suite, organizations have peace of mind when it comes to spotting and stopping suspected fraudulent transactions while also ensuring the good customers quickly and easily gain access to your products and services.

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