The so-called dark web is a hidden corner of the internet that allows criminals to communicate with each other on covert forums, share scamming techniques and services, and plot ransomware attacks. Authorities struggle to counter the threat because because criminals operate with anonymity. This means you need to protect yourself.

The web operates on three levels. The surface web that we all know, which is indexed by traditional search engines like Google.  

Next, there is the deep web, which isn’t on Google, but contains harmless things like library catalogues, company intranets and password-protected data such as your personal banking or email account.

Finally, there is the dark web, which is only accessible by a specialist browser such as Tor.

Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, says not everything on the dark web is bad, as it was originally used by journalists, whistle-blowers, and human rights campaigners in oppressive regimes.

“But there has always been a darker element such as selling drugs, guns and human trafficking.”

The dark web also contains compromised data, such as bank account and credit card numbers, and social security numbers, and stolen property.

Gary Butcher, 54, from Great Yarmouth, only discovered his personal data was up for sale on the dark web when he received a text from mobile phone provider EE welcoming him to his new contract. He hadn’t signed one.

He checked his credit report was astonished to discover three mobile contracts had…

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