You may have read or heard about the dark web — the underground marketplace for hackers — but not seen it as any threat to you. However, it is not just corporates and governments that should be worrying about this shady place where hackers sell sensitive leaked data.
It is very likely that your phone number or bank account number or email address that you submitted for an online service may have ended up in a dark web data sale.
“About six per cent of the Internet is darkweb and chances of your sensitive data getting leaked are high. Worse, you may not be aware of such leaks,” Ritesh Chopra, India Director of Gen, the Nasdaq-listed company that owns a bouquet of cybersecurity products such as Norton, told businessline.
The company launched a new tool, Dark Web Monitoring, on Tuesday for Indian consumers. An add-on to the company’s cybersecurity solution, it lets you know in real time if, and when your PII (personally identifiable information) pops up in any of these shops.
This allows people to take corrective measures by contacting financial institutions or changing passwords to protect against fraud. Though digital companies such as Google offer such services, Norton claims its tool is comprehensive.
It is available as part of Norton’s 360 Premium, 360 Deluxe and 360 for Gamers plans.
“The dark web is a small part of the web where anonymity is prized and nefarious activities can run amok, including the exchange of illegal goods and information. When people’s addresses, Aadhaar numbers, EPF information, credit card data and other personally identifiable information end up on the dark web, criminals can utilise it for fraud, from financial to identity theft,” he said.
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Unfortunately, such crimes are not uncommon — in 2023 it was reported that the Aadhaar numbers, passport information, along with phone numbers, of 815 million Indians were found on the dark web.
“We keep an eye out for any hacks, compromised credentials, and illegal activity by continuously searching the shadowy corners of the internet. This way, we can make sure that your sensitive information is protected from the prying eyes of hackers,” he said.
Monitored information includes up to five insurance account numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, and up to ten credit card numbers as well as gamer tags.
He warned consumers to be careful about the personal information they share while accessing online services.
“You may use temporary email addresses. You must remember to log out of such accounts after you access the service,” he said. He also wanted consumers to be aware of the frauds committed online.