Do this to keep personal information out of the dark web

Is your personal information offered for sale on the dark web?

New Jersey cybersecurity experts are expressing concern that an increase in dark web activity could pose a serious threat to Garden State residents and businesses.

Mike Geraghty, director of New Jersey’s Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, said anonymous dark web users engage in a variety of illicit activities, including the sale of illegal weapons, drugs, child pornography , pirated media and personal information such as social security and credit card numbers and passwords.

Geraghty, who is also the state’s information security officer, said that sometimes usernames and passwords stolen in a breach will simply be published on the dark web “but then some of the information is also sold through these dark web marketplaces so that bad actors can buy access to this certain company.

A world of problems

He explained that once the bad guys get their hands on your username and password, they can very simply gain access to a variety of accounts that could contain things like social security, card numbers credit and bank accounts.

“It’s much easier to log into someone’s account if you know their username and password, than to hack into their computer,” he pointed out.

Geraghty said sometimes scammers will end up getting literally millions of usernames and passwords and they won’t know who they belong to, but that’s not a problem.

Attendees work on their laptops at the annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hacker convention,

Attendees work on their laptops at the annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hacker convention (Photo by Patrick Lux/Getty Images)

“Then they can do what’s called credential stuffing attacks, pick them up and randomly try them against all kinds of online services.”

He said many people have multiple online accounts with the same password and if the bad actors get a “hit” for example on an Amazon or Target account where a credit card number is stored, they will come in and change the delivery address immediately.

“Then what they can do because it’s a one-click payment, they can come back later and now make a purchase,” he said.

Thieves will also log into email accounts to search for different types of sensitive information.

“There may be cryptocurrency account keys, there may be images or photos that we don’t want to see publicly,” he said.

How to prevent your information from appearing on the dark web

He said that to protect yourself, always use multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

Create long and complex passwords.

Laurie Doran, director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said changing passwords to longer and more complex ones is a fairly simple step that can stop identity and security theft. information.

“People think it will never happen to them, and unfortunately more often than not it does,” she said.

Geraghty noted that a growing number of banks and other entities require second factor authentication, including fingerprints and facial recognition, which can limit fraudulent activity.

“While the good guys continue to put some of these controls and attempts at prevention in place, the bad guys are trying to find ways around them,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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