The Dark Web: A Threat to Your Digital Identity and How to Stay Safe


By Sanjeev Kumar Chauhan

The internet is an integral part of our daily lives—from starting a business to learning new skills and pursuing passions—the internet caters to every individual’s needs. However, the WWW we know to be an ocean of information is merely 10% of the internet. A larger portion of the web is formed by the Deep Web, comprised of Dark Web. The deep web is that part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines. This includes password-protected websites, private databases, and the contents of our email. The deep web is not inherently dangerous but can be challenging to access and navigate. The dark web is a small subset of the deep web designed to be anonymous. This makes it conducive for criminals to conduct illegal activities. Since the deep web uses sophisticated technologies and layered encryption, it makes it harder for government authorities to keep track of activities and makes it a perfect hub for malicious crimes.

While the deep web is not necessarily malicious, its existence makes it mandatory for a business to protect their digital identities and protect them from falling into the wrong hands.

Here is how businesses today can protect their digital identities:

1.      Use a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet traffic when connected to an unsecured network, such as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. This prevents third parties from accessing your website history, activity, and data you exchange.

VPNs also use real-time encryption, meaning your data is encrypted as soon as it leaves your device and decrypted when it reaches its destination. This provides an extra layer of protection for your data and helps to keep it safe from prying eyes.

2.      Use a password manager

Managing and maintaining complex passwords has long been a challenge for users. It’s only natural to set a simple password that you can remember or use a single password across websites and accounts. However, it makes accounts more vulnerable and not secure. Therefore, using a password manager will provide you with a digital password locker. This way, you can set a strong password without remembering it every time.

3.      Activate two-factor authentication

Authentication adds an additional layer of security to your accounts by requiring users to provide more than just a password. While passwords can be hacked, two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA) adds a layer of protection by requiring users to provide something they know (their password) and something they have (a one-time code sent to their phone or a fingerprint scan) to log in. Authentication methods can include biometrics, OTP (one-time password), or more—these are elements that no one can easily hack. It could also be something physical like a biometric or a facial scan.

4.      Passwordless authentication

We’ve discussed the importance of passwords and two or multi-factor authentication. But all of these are somewhat prone to attacks and vulnerabilities. What should businesses do to prevent threats in a world of proliferating cyber attacks and threats?

Passwordless authentication is a more secure and convenient way to protect digital identity than traditional passwords. It eliminates the need for passwords altogether and instead uses biometrics or one-time passwords (OTPs) to authenticate users. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to steal user credentials, and it also makes it more convenient for users to log in to websites and apps.

Here are a few tips on how to protect digital identities:

  • Monitoring your accounts regularly and tracking the credit card spending to detect any unauthorized use should be on the cards.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links to avoid phishing and share your financial information or PIN.
  • Use proxy accounts – for additional safety, you can have two email accounts and use the proxy account for sharing information on random websites – like purchasing merchandise.
  • Update your browser and software regularly to avoid sophisticated digital attacks.
  • As soon as you detect suspicious activity or notice a deduction in your account balance without you using it, notify your bank authorities immediately and block your credit and debit cards to avoid further damage.

In today’s world, technology is constantly evolving and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. This makes data security a complex and ever-changing challenge. Passwordless authentication provides a robust and secure way to protect digital identities and protect sensitive and confidential business assets.



(The author is Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Chauhan, Technical Director at Array Networks, and the views expressed in this article are their own)


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