The dark web is the area of the internet that is hidden from search engines. You can’t really stumble into the dark web – you have to use a special web browser to access it. If you do go there, you are anonymous. And that’s one of the things that makes it so appealing to bad guys.

Since people can’t be traced on the dark web, bad guys use it as a marketplace for illegal items or services. Cyber-scammers use the dark web to buy and sell stolen information. When you hear of a data breach, chances are personal data ends up on the dark web – from account log-in credentials to driver license numbers to more. Beyond buying and selling information, the bad guys can also set-up websites on the dark web to house viruses and malware used to get that information.

What should you do to protect yourself from the dangers of the dark web? Here are a few tips.

  • Stay far away from the dark web. Simply browsing it can put your device at risk and you may unintentionally connect with illegal activities.
  • Create strong passwords for your online accounts. This makes it harder for bad guys to access your information in the first place. Read this Cyber Aware blog to learn how to make your password more secure.
  • Share the least amount of personal information online. Be cautious about sharing information when registering on websites or posting on social media. Never publicly post personal information such as e-mail addresses, Social Security numbers or addresses.
  • Practice good cybersecurity. Take action to protect your online accounts and devices more secure.

A message from your device provider or password manager that your AT&T online account password appeared in a data leak could mean you used the same credentials on a different online account that experienced a data leak. It does not mean AT&T experienced a data leak. However, once a bad guy has your log-in credentials, any accounts accessible with the same credentials are at risk. If you see a message like this related to your AT&T account, or another account, reset the password through the account management tools and settings.    

Tools like AT&T’s Mobile Security Personal ID Monitor can help if your information is put up on the dark web. Personal ID Monitor scans the dark web and can alert you if it finds your personal information there, such as email address, phone number, driver’s license number and more.