In the last article, we talked about the Dark Web. Quite predictably, having your credentials and private personal information leaked into the Dark Web can be scary. But if you are well prepared, you can deal with these issues and minimize harmful consequences.
In this article, we will look at some important precautionary steps you need to undertake to ensure your credentials and private information are all safe on the internet.
Pay attention to your passwords
Passwords are the single most important security credential that must be kept safe and secure from hackers’ access. But people often tend to take it easy and not pay attention to their passwords or become careless with them.
For instance, people often use the same password repeatedly across multiple sites as it is convenient and easy to remember. But then all it takes would be one security compromise, and then all your online accounts could easily be hacked when you use the same passwords everywhere.
You should use strong, secure passwords and remember to reset your passwords regularly to avoid getting them exposed to the Dark Web. Try using password managers such as Zoho Vault, Keeper, True Key, LastPass, and more to protect your passwords with encryption.
You can also use additional security for authentication, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanisms.
Here are some more rules you should start following with respect to password protection
• Use longer passwords that use unique phrases and combinations of different words rather than commonly used words
• Make sure you have unique passwords for each user account and the website you use. Do not repeat your passwords
• Make use of password manager applications such as LastPass to generate complex long passwords and store them securely
• Make use of 2-factor authentication
• Reset your passwords at a regular interval or immediately whenever you suspect a breach
When trying to access confidential enterprise data, use secure VPN connections to block unauthorized access to your protected network.
Limit interactions with unsecured sites. Check for the TLS certificates and avoid browsing through sites that have expired certificates or come from unknown origins.
Make sure you employ end-to-end encryption when sharing sensitive information.
Educate on safety awareness
Educate and bring your employees about the need for strong passwords and other security practices. Anyone using your systems must be aware of the cybersecurity consequences of their possible careless actions.
Educating your staff is also necessary to identify suspicious activity and spot cyber attacks. You should provide encouraging training on the need for maintaining private social media accounts, using stronger passwords, understanding phishing scams, and so on.
Be careful about what you share on the internet
There are multiple ways how information could get leaked into the Dark Web. As a rule of thumb, do not post or enter your private information on any public forums or posts.
Here are some more tips that could help you be extra careful:
• Do not feed any of your private information to a public computer. When you do have to log in to your accounts from a public device, make sure to erase the passwords, log out properly and delete any credentials before you hand it over
• Protect your passwords with secure applications. Avoid manually writing them down or storing them in text files that can be accessed easily
• Do not send your private information, bank account credentials, and passwords to anyone over email.
• Try not to access unsecured websites that do not use SSL encryption
• Avoid overusing your bank accounts for all transactions. You can try to use secure payment methods and gift cards that have no direct connection to your bank account
• Do not click on suspicious links and email links that are from unverified users. Beware of phishing scams and report any email that looks to be from a suspicious sender
• Try not to post your personal information on social media and make your accounts private.
• Make use of antivirus software and firewalls and keep them updated.
Safe exploration of the Dark Web
If you are trying to safely explore the Dark Web, ensure you have a secure VPN in place, encryption tools for sharing information, and take serious safety precautions. Here are some must-do steps
• Close all websites and clear all cache that could carry user account information or personal information
• Cover your webcam
• Turn off your location tracking
• Install and activate your antivirus software and scanner
• Install and setup a secure VPN connection
• Make use of overlay networks and set your security standards to high-level security configurations
• Check your system for any possible information leaks such as IP leaks, DNS, and webRTC leaks
• Make use of reliable browsers and tools to explore the Dark Web
Monitor the Dark Web for any information leak
There is a good chance that your information is already leaked on the Dark Web, and it is just that some hacker is sitting on it before making any attempt to attack.
Even if it’s not from your internet interactions, your information could still reach the Dark Web through other sources. If you have any such suspicions, it is best to scan the Dark Web and have confirmation on whether your credentials have been exposed to the Dark Web. There are many Dark Web scan services available online that you can use to check if your data is leaked on the Dark Web. Some of these tools can also be used completely for free.
Make it a regular practice to monitor the Dark Web for any data compromise, and it would be a good idea to invest in a Dark Web monitoring tool.
What to do if your information is found on the Dark Web?
When you find your credentials have been leaked, you should immediately report it to your IT security team so they can take the necessary steps to prevent possible cyber threats.
Scan your systems for any malware or viruses and strengthen the firewalls immediately.
Check your banking and financing accounts for unauthorized transactions and report the same if found. Reset all your credentials and freeze your account. Notify the banking officials immediately. It is important to report fraudulent activities as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
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