Was Your Email Found On the Dark Web? Don’t Panic. Here’s What You Need To Do
Have you discovered that your email address or other sensitive information is on the dark web? Don’t know what it means or what you should do? First, don’t panic and continue reading — we’ve got you covered.
- What does it mean when you find your email on the dark web?
- Steps to take when you find your email on the dark web
- How to find out if your email is on the dark web
- How to prevent your email from ending up on the dark web
In this blog post, we’ll explain what it means if your email or other personal data is found on the dark web, what you should do, and how you can make sure your sensitive data does not appear on the dark web. Without further ado, let’s jump in.
What does it mean when you find your email on the dark web?
The dark web is a mysterious place. It is the part of the internet that requires a specialized browser and a little bit of effort to visit. Thanks to its scary name, the dark web has a vile reputation for being a place where cybercrooks roam free and sell everything that is illegal. In part, this definition is accurate. Read this blog post to have a better idea of what the dark web is and why it exists.
Learning that your email has been found on the dark web can be a scary and otherwise stressful, anxiety-inducing experience. If your personal information such as your email address is spotted on the dark web, it likely means that you have been affected by a data breach. Finding yourself in such a situation is no joke. Your personal data can be sold and used in a variety of ways: we’ve all heard the stories of identity thefts, online banking frauds, and much more. So, in such a situation it is critical to stay level-headed and act accordingly.
Steps to take when you find your email on the dark web
If you ever discover that your email or any other sensitive information was found on the dark web, here are a few things you should do to mitigate any cybersecurity risks.
Change your passwords
The friendly folks at NordPass strongly recommend changing all of your passwords if you ever discover that any of your personal information has been found on the dark web. Yes, you need to update all of them if you wish to stay on the safe side. We know it’s a hassle, but it is the only way to ensure that your online accounts are properly protected. When creating new passwords for your accounts, be sure to make them lengthy — at least 12 characters long — and mix in a healthy amount of numbers, special symbols, as well as upper- and lower-case letters. If you have trouble coming up with strong, complex passwords yourself, you can get a helping hand from our very own Password Generator.
Check your online banking and other financing accounts
Keep in mind that online bank fraud or other financial scams are rarely an issue for people who had their email leaked on the dark web. However, you don’t want to take any chances. Hackers nowadays are savvy beyond belief.
Log in to all your financial online accounts and check whether everything looks fine. See if there hasn’t been any transactions to unknown third parties. Go over your subscriptions to make sure that no unauthorized ones were added. We recommend keeping a close eye on your accounts for a few days.
Check your computer for malware
If your email is found on the dark web, it is a good idea to check your computer for any malicious third-party software just to stay on the safe side of things. As we already said, today’s cybercrooks are very savvy and it’s best not to underestimate them and what they can do. Most operating systems provide users with a pre-installed malware scanner. Use it to be sure that no undesirable software is running on your computer.
How to find out if your email is on the dark web
Unfortunately, there’s no search engine that you could use to find out whether any of your sensitive data is on the dark web. As a rule of thumb, we recommend keeping an eye for any suspicious activity on your online accounts. Routinely check for suspicious or otherwise questionable emails. When it comes to social media accounts, see if there were no unauthorized posts or likes.
However, when it comes to finding out whether your email address has appeared on the dark web, you can use a few tools. For instance, you can use the NordPass Data Breach Scanner to find out whether any of your emails have appeared in a data breach. Having your email exposed in a data leak is a good indication that it is present on the dark web.
How to prevent your email from ending up on the dark web
There are a few simple yet effective steps you can take to significantly lower the risk of having your email exposed on the dark web.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots might be convenient but they are also notoriously unsafe. There are a variety of ways that hackers exploit public Wi-Fi networks. They can use unsecured networks to distribute malicious software, gather data, carry out man-in-the-middle attacks, and much more. If you desperately need to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, make sure to use a VPN to ensure the security of your connection.
Use a password manager
The easiest ways to ensure proper protection of all your online accounts is by using unique, strong, and complex passwords for each one. Unfortunately, since an average internet user has around 100 online accounts, remembering every single complex password is out of the realm of the possible, unless you have a perfect memory. This is where a password manager such as NordPass comes in handy. Password managers are purpose-built to help users with all their password management needs. They provide a single secure place to store all your passwords and allow you to forget manual password typing, all thanks to the autofill functionality. Most password managers also come with built-in password generators that can instantly come up with complex and secure passwords for you. In the digital age, a password manager is a must-have tool for anyone who’s looking for a smooth and secure online experience.
Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be an integral part of your online security. It creates an additional layer of security between your login credentials and getting into your account. In most instances, MFA means entering a code texted to your phone or an authentication app. Enabling MFA means a password alone won’t be enough to access your account. So, even if your password falls into the wrong hands, a hacker won't be able to access your account.
Create and use a garbage email account
Set up a separate email account you can associate with unimportant online accounts. This is a preventative measure to ensure the security of your primary email accounts. If one of the sites that you have an unimportant account on experiences a breach, your primary email won’t be affected and won’t appear on the dark web.