If you are considering using the dark web for basic privacy purposes, you may still be asking, “Is it dangerous to use the dark web?” Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous place. Below are some common threats that you may encounter during your browsing experience:
Still for sale
Malicious software — such as malware — is fully alive all over the dark web It is often offered on some portals to give cyber attack tools to threat actors. However, it persists throughout the dark web to infect unsuspecting users like the rest of the web.
The dark web does not carry many of the social contracts that website providers follow to protect users on the rest of the web. As such, users may regularly find themselves exposed to certain types of malware such as:
2. Botnet malware
4. Phishing malware
If you choose to explore any site on the dark web, you put yourself at risk of being isolated and targeted for hacks and more. Most malware infections can be caught by your endpoint security program.
The threat of online browsing can extend to the unplugged world if your computer or network connection can be exploited. Anonymity is strong with the structure of Tor and the dark web, but it’s not infallible. Any online activity can carry breadcrumbs to your identity if someone digs hard enough.
As many Tor-based sites are outlawed by police authorities around the world, there is a clear danger of becoming a government target for visiting a dark website.
Illegal drug markets like the Silk Road have been raided for police surveillance in the past. By using custom software to analyze intrusions and activity, it allowed law enforcement officials to discover user identities of patrons and visitors alike. Even if you never shop, you may look back and blame yourself for other actions later in life.
Intrusions may also expose you to surveillance for other types of activity. Avoiding government restrictions to explore new political ideologies can be a punishable offense in some countries. China uses the “Great Firewall” to limit access to popular sites for this exact reason. Visitors to this content risk being placed on a watchlist or an immediate jail sentence.
Some alleged services like professional “hitman” may be scams designed to profit only from willing customers. Reports suggest that the dark web offers many illegal services, from murder for money to sex and arms trafficking.
Some of these are well-known, established threats that proliferate in this nook of the web. However, others are taking advantage of the dark web’s reputation to trick users into making huge sums of money. Also, some users on the dark web may try phishing scams to steal your identity or personal information for extortion.
End user protection against exploitation by the dark web
Whether as a business, parent or any other user of the web, you’ll want to take precautions to keep your information and personal life off the dark web.
Identity theft monitoring is important if you want to avoid misuse of your personal information. All types of personal information can be distributed online for profit. Passwords, physical addresses, bank account numbers, and social security numbers are always leaked on the dark web. You may already be aware that malicious actors can use them to damage your credit, steal finances, and breach your other online accounts. Leaking personal information can lead to damage to your reputation through social fraud.
Antimalware and antivirus protection are equally important to prevent malicious actors from exploiting you. The dark web is full of malware-infected users stealing information. Attackers can use tools like keyloggers to collect your data and they can infiltrate your system from any part of the web. Endpoint security programs like Kaspersky Security Cloud are comprehensive to cover both identity monitoring and antivirus defense.
How to Access the Dark Web Safely
If you have a legitimate or valid need to access the dark web, you’ll want to make sure you’re safe if you decide to use it.
7 Tips for Safe Access to the Dark Web
Trust your intuition. To avoid scams, you’ll want to protect yourself with smart behavior on the web. Not everyone is what they seem. To stay safe, watch who you talk to and where you go. If something goes wrong, you should always take steps to remove yourself from the situation.
Separate your online persona from real life. Your username, email address, “real name,” password, or even your credit card should never be used anywhere else in your life. Create a brand new account and identifier for yourself if necessary. Get a prepaid, unrecognized debit card before making any purchases. Don’t use anything that can be used to identify you — whether online or in real life.
Identify and employ active monitoring of financial theft. Many online security services now offer identity protection for your safety. Be sure to take advantage of these tools when they are made available to you
Definitely avoid downloading dark web files. The fear of malware infection is significantly higher in unethical areas such as the dark web. Real-time file scanning from an antivirus program can help check any incoming files you choose to download.
Disable ActiveX and Java in any available network settings. These frameworks are notorious for being probed and exploited by malicious groups Since you’re traveling through a network full of the aforementioned threats, you’ll want to avoid this risk.
Use a secondary non-administrator local user account for all day-to-day activities. On most computers the native account will have full administrative permissions by default. Most malware needs to take advantage of this to perform its functions. As such, you can slow or stop exploit progress by restricting the account being used to strict privileges.
Always restrict access to your Tor-enabled devices. Protect your children or other family members from the risk of tripping over something that no one will ever see. Visit the deep web if you’re interested, but don’t let kids anywhere near it.