The facts are that data is lost, data is stolen, and you have no idea where it has gone. You may come to find out where subsequently, but many times, personal information isn’t much like a cat: once it goes away, you’ll likely never see it again. Today, we will look at the seedy underbelly of the Internet in search of our lost and stolen personally identifiable information.
Before we start our journey, we should come to know where our data is being lost and stolen. Most people that have active online lives have had their personal information compromised at least once. This is a fact. Think about how many major data breaches there have been over the past half-decade, and it seems if you so much as looked at the Internet, you probably have lost some of your personal information along the way.
What is Personally Identifiable Information?
Personally identifiable information (PII) is information that, you guessed it, identifies you as an individual. Examples include your social security number, your address, personal financial data, and credentials to get into your accounts. This information can be used in various nefarious ways. What’s worse, it can also be made available for sale in places that most people dare not go.
The Dark Web
You’ve probably heard of the Dark Web as the place on the Internet where, with access, you can buy an array of subversive and illicit materials including drugs, or more disturbingly, people; and, where you can have your enemies whacked. These things may be true, but not everything on the Dark Web is illegal. The Dark Web is actually a part of a bigger construct known as the deep web and it is hidden from view--that is, it’s not accessible by search engines--and needs specific browsing software to access.
With billions of users from all around the world on the Internet every day, and with many of them having been breached in some fashion in various hacks, there are a lot of people’s information available on the Dark web. How much is this information worth? Typically a hacker selling an individual piece of PII can get about $1 per piece. With many hacks resulting in hundreds of thousands of files being stolen, that’s a king’s ransom right there.
What You Can Do
Unfortunately, once your data is up on the Dark Web, there is little you can do to get it down. The main benefit is the awareness that yes, you were compromised, and now you have the opportunity to identify when it happened and how to shore up your defenses.
Need Additional Security Support?
While we can’t promise that we’ll protect all of your data, we can certainly give you a better chance of keeping more of it off the Dark Web. For a review of your current security and what we can do to optimize it, give Strata Information Technology a call at 888.678.7282.
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