It’s a little-known place, a whole section of the internet where nothing good happens. It’s called the Dark Web, and we are all vulnerable to it.
“The Dark Web is worldwide, it goes everywhere, internationally and anyone can access it,” says FBI Special Agent Carlos Goris, who spends his days working in the dark. “The FBI is always watching. Our role on the dark web is simple; we’re the leading federal agency investigating these cyber attacks.
“It's just another market. Online market,” says Goris, when talking about the Dark Web.
Except, everything in that market is illegal.
“You can find drugs; you can find weapons. You can find child porn; you can find a child themselves. You can also find guides on how to commit criminal acts,” says Goris.
But Goris adds, “There's no good reason to go on the dark web. You don't know who you are purchasing these items from. You don't know if it's law enforcement. Also, if you buy drugs, do you know where the drugs are coming from, they can be laced with something else.”
Plus, you can be completely anonymous there. “You and I right now, if we are on the dark web together, I can be in Florida, but through use of a browser, you can anonymize your IP, you can conceal your identity, and we can appear like we are coming out of France,” said Goris, when talking to Contact 5.
“It's the Amazon of the bad guys,” says Computer Expert Alan Crowetz, of Infostream, Inc.
While browsing through the Dark Web, Crowetz showed Contact 5, “the number one European arms dealer,” a place to find grenades and a grenade launcher, and unlimited Uber and Lyft rides, among other things.
Also, there’s unlimited personal information there, ready to be used in places like ID theft forums.
So what can you do once your information is out there? “Change your passwords, don't use the same password on every site,” says Crowetz.
And how do you keep it off the Dark Web in the first place? “We have to stay ahead of these guys, so change your passwords frequently, updating your software, anti-virus software, anti-spy technology. Your firewall should always be on. Be careful what you download, or click on when you receive emails,” says Special Agent Goris.
Whatever you do, don’t have one password for multiple accounts.
“If someone gets your email address and password, that’s not great; maybe they can access your Facebook account. But if it's also on your bank account or your credit card account, that's WOW, that’s a lot worse, so they mean it when they say to use different passwords for different sites. This is why we say that,” says Crowetz.
Crowetz, along with other computer experts, all agree, chances are someone has hacked one of your accounts at some point in your life.
But you can visit sites like: https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and type in your email address. The website will tell you if that email address has been a part of a hack, or hacks, before, and then you can take the necessary steps mentioned above, like changing your password, at least every 60 days.