I recently read an article stating that by 2069, every person on earth would have access to the internet. This surprised me because I assumed nearly everyone in the world right now had some level of access to the internet. Or, at the very least, social media.
The Surface Web
Everyone knows the internet is a vast network that connects computers all over the world, allowing people to find, share and communicate. What most people don’t know is that the internet is made up of multiple layers. These layers are known as the Surface, Deep, and Dark Web and are typically defined by the user and how they gain and share access with others.
But why care? Just show me the results or get me where I need to go, some might say. Well, it all comes down to the protection, privacy, and even reputation of your personal data.
This is where we all “live.” This is where your favorite search engine enables access to indexed information, where you interact on social media or catch up on the latest sports scores and fashion trends. What’s most shocking is that according to worldwidewebsize.com, the Surface Web makes up only about 4% of the information contained on the internet.
The Deep Web
What comes next is the Deep Web. This is the area of the internet search engines do not provide access to, often requiring a username and password. These are the private areas such as forums and communication apps, where interactions are closed to the public. This includes sites such as Salesforce, JIRA, or other private corporate networks, shopping carts, or banking, for example.
The Dark’ Net’ or Web
Finally, there’s the Dark Web. An unregulated environment where cybercriminals live with minimal risk of being identified or exposed. 5% of the Deep Web is the Dark Web, and it’s only accessible through a specific browser. It is here where hackers and cyber thieves typically buy and sell your personal information that they may have obtained in a data breach or by other means. Stolen credit and debit cards, Social Security numbers, account numbers, and login credentials are sold in large blocks to criminal merchants.
When a data breach occurs, the stolen data often ends up on the Dark Web. While most of the focus is on identifying stolen data from the Dark Web, many tend to forget that data can be leaked or deliberately posted on the Surface Web as well. And the Surface Web, while fractional in the grand scheme, is large!
Stolen data is often either used to penetrate another system or to build a profile using other surface web data. According to worldwidewebsize.com, in April 2020, search engines have indexed at least 5.53 billion pages on the surface web. I thought I reached the end of the internet a few times, but after seeing that stat, it’s doubtful.
For example, data can be posted on surface web forums such as ‘Deepdarkshop.com’ which is frequently used to share data between actors existing on both dark and surface web, or in some cases, innocently used or leaked through social media sites, online shopping, reading news feeds, and visiting business, informational, and entertainment websites.
There needs to be a holistic approach to monitoring identity and privacy for compromises. And Constella is one of the only identity monitoring providers to do just that.
Constella provides complete identity protection by monitoring all parts of the surface, deep and dark web. By adding in Surface Web data monitoring, we’re able to help prevent identity data from falling into the wrong hands in all locations of the web, building in comprehensive protection and privacy for consumers. We are also able to help protect users’ identities and ensure privacy when data is publicly available. With social engineering and phishing attacks continuously increasing, the information available on the web is increasingly valuable. Identifying legitimate and illegitimate personal data on the surface is the next step in the evolution of protecting oneself.
4% may not sound like a lot, but when you consider there are 5 billion potential places where your exposed data can show up, your perspective surely will change. Don’t take that chance.
Ensure you have complete protection with Constella Intelligence. To learn more about our comprehensive coverage of surface, deep and dark web data, check out our official press release of today’s announcement.
By Jason Wagner, VP of Identity Intelligence at Constella Intelligence