Protecting Your Digital Identity Part 3: Assume Breach

Assume Breach. This is a new concept for many. We have spent so much of our lives with a “security by obscurity” mindset. Conversations like “I have never been hacked! No one could possibly have my information because I am super careful” are pervasive. Do yourself and those around you a favor, assume your information has been compromised, your systems are at risk, and your existing protection isn’t getting it done; assume breach. How do you find out if your information has been breached and if it is for sale on The Dark or “Deep” Web? How about a quick review of what The Dark and Deep Web are for those that are unfamiliar.

The Surface Web
Before we jump into The Deep and Dark Web, we need to understand The Surface Web. The Surface Web is the traditional internet as most of the world knows it. This web is anything indexed by modern search engines and is addressable by the vast array of backbone systems that hand out internet addresses and translates website names back into machine addressing. Short story long, www.thewordonsecurity.com = 192.168.0.22 in DNS translation. People speak places better and computers speak numbers better is all it really comes down to.

The Deep Web
The Deep Web is hidden from Surface Web crawlers and is not addressable by the large backbone providers. Search engines need links in order to discover content. The Deep Web concept is pretty easy then you think about it. If a search engine is unable to find it, then it can be considered “Deep” content.

The Dark Web
Consider the dark web as a small, highly focused part of the Deep Web. Standard search engines can’t see it and neither can traditional web browsers. Because of this “hidden” nature, illegal activities are thriving and growing in the darkness.

What can you do?
We will tackle the first part of the assume breach problem by finding the available information about ourselves and what breach it came from and when. The idea is to see what could possibly be for sale on The Dark Web, without having to browse its insidious layers ourselves. Take a look at:
have i been pwned?

This website is a bridge between dark and light. It has done the dangerous work for us and correlated data breaches with content available on The Dark Web. Consider following my previous recommendations about passwords after you plug your email addresses into this website and see just how much of your information is being sold and traded today.

Terbium Labs is doing great things with Matchlight. In essence, it is constantly watching The Dark Web for your information and then alerts you when it shows up. They have a free and paid service, and I am monitoring my info with the free version for the next few months to see how it works.

Next week I will review some of the problems with “end points” (computers, tablets, and phones) and how these problems can lead to specific afflictions like Ransomware. Most importantly we will look at how you can protect yourself from emerging threats.

Let me know if you find anything particularly interesting after searching your own identity. Comments are always welcome.

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