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Glossary

Dark web

What is the dark web?

The dark web is a hidden section of the web that is only accessible using specialized software like Tor or I2P, which allows users to browse anonymously, hiding their IP addresses and other identifying information. The dark web is known for hosting illegal trade, though it also serves as a platform for privacy-focused individuals and groups.

What is the dark web used for?

​​The dark web hosts marketplaces for buying and selling illicit goods and services, such as drugs, weapons, counterfeit money, malware, and stolen data. Criminals use the dark web to share and sell sensitive personal information, including credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, login credentials, and session cookies. This stolen data can be used for targeted and automated attacks, fraudulent activities, identity theft, and other criminal acts.

Who uses the dark web?

Various individuals and groups use the dark web, ranging from criminals and hackers to privacy advocates and journalists. Criminals exploit the anonymity the dark web provides to conduct illegal activities without being easily traced. Privacy advocates and journalists may use it to bypass censorship, communicate securely, and protect their identity in countries or situations where free speech and privacy are compromised. Security researchers use the dark web to understand the tactics and activities of cybercrime groups.

How is the dark web accessed?

The dark web is accessed using specialized software that allows anonymous browsing. The most common of these is Tor (The Onion Router), which routes internet traffic through a global network of volunteer-run servers to conceal users’ location and usage from network surveillance or traffic analysis.

What is the difference between the dark web and the deep web?

The deep web refers to all parts of the internet that are not indexed by traditional search engines, including personal email accounts, private databases, and password-protected websites. The dark web is a small part of the deep web designed to be hidden and inaccessible through standard web browsers. While the deep web consists mainly of benign, non-public information, the dark web is notorious for hosting illicit content and activities.

Why is monitoring the dark web important?

Monitoring the dark web is crucial for several reasons. It helps law enforcement agencies track and combat illegal activities, including drug trafficking, weapons sales, and cybercrime. For businesses, monitoring the dark web can alert them to the presence of stolen corporate or customer data, enabling them to take preventive measures to mitigate the impact of data breaches and identity theft.

What are the benefits of SpyCloud’s dark web monitoring?

SpyCloud goes beyond the capabilities of traditional dark web monitoring by providing the exact details of what criminals know about your business and your customers – true evidence of compromise being used to target you. SpyCloud focuses on the deepest layers of the dark web, delivering information being traded by criminals well before it’s packaged and sold on dark web marketplaces. By then it’s too late. Our goal is early detection of compromised account data so security teams can take action before it’s used to perpetrate account takeover, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and online fraud.

Get a custom report of your dark web exposure using our free risk tool.

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