You Found Your Email on a Dark Web Database: Now What?
Snap! You just found out your email is on the dark web.
How did your email end up on the dark web? One of your favorite platforms could have been hacked and you were affected. Alternatively, you could have fallen for a phishing scheme that managed to capture your data.
The first thing that people do when they find their email on the dark web is to panic. You first have to ascertain the severity of the issue, before you make calls to the bank or start deleting accounts.
In most cases, having your email merely on the dark web is not a problem just because it is there. In this case, your email is now an email that can be seen publicly.
The issue lies in the possible scenarios that may follow after your email lands on the dark web. With your information on the unsafest part of the internet, your identity could be related to a lot of activities that might put you at risk.
Hackers and scammers crawl the dark web frequently to find new user data to target. Even though finding your email on the dark web looks harmless initially, it might become something you never expected.
At this point, you need to act quickly to secure yourself and data.
Scan Your Device and Applications
You must understand the potential loopholes on your device and applications that may be leaking your data. This is crucial to prevent a similar situation in the future and stop more data from being leaked.
A virus scan on your device to check for any existing malicious software that may be stealing your data is needed. Malware can monitor your activity, log your keystrokes, and steal your passwords.
If you find any suspicious files or apps that may be in this category, you have to remove them and change your login information instantly.
Once you are done checking for malware, you can then move ahead to the other measures you need to take.
Change Your Passwords, Make Them Strong
It would be best if you changed the password of your email as soon as it ends up on the dark web. Changing your password is essential because most emails on the dark web become targets for hackers or scammers.
Further, your email also gets marked for phishing attacks. It gets difficult for hackers to succeed in taking over your email when you change your password.
There is a catch to this. You will need a strong password to ensure the total safety of your email. Here are some tips to follow.
- Your password must be lengthy. (8 words +)
- Don’t use your name or real words
- Combine lowercase and uppercase letters
- Add symbols and numbers
Beyond the email in question, you should also update the password of other applications you have used the email for.
Add Extra Security
After changing your passwords, you should also consider adding extra protection to your email.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a verification method that requires an additional piece of evidence for authentication.
2FA can be set up to send a code to your mobile number to verify all new sign-ins. In case your password gets compromised, the hacker will still have to enter your 2FA code to access the account.
Get A Second Email
Your primary email contains a lot of sensitive information that must be protected. To avoid sharing this email on several platforms, you should consider a secondary email.
This is an optional step, but one you should consider. You can jump on any of the email service providers to get a new email for random sites you visit that require your email.
Check Your Financial Apps
Finally, you should check your financial accounts when you find your email on the dark web. You might not have lost any funds because your email is out on the wild, but its good practice to ensure you are safe.
Check your accounts for mysterious transactions you did not make by yourself. You should also set up alerts for your financial accounts just in case hackers attempt to steal from you later on.
If you are not comfortable using your account just as it is after your email is found on the deep web, you can visit your bank to change your passcodes and other verification requirements.
Am I Completely Safe Now?
You are certainly safer than you were before taking these steps. If you stay away from unreliable and suspicious sites, you will most likely not end up in this situation in the future.
However, large scale data leaks – that include your email address and/or login information – are always a possibility.