If you do a web search on “deep web scanning” the most likely results you will get are from credit bureau companies wanting to shine up their image after a recent hack left millions of people’s information exposed. Of course, in their rush to become the saviors of their own catastrophe, these companies have suddenly pushed their own deep web and dark web scanning services.
But before we get to more about the “scanning” part of our question, we should talk for a moment about the difference between the deep web and the dark web.
The deep web is any part of the internet that cannot be found by using browsers. Not all the deep web is bad or nefarious. In fact, companies legitimately choose not to list certain pages on websites as public because they add no sales or information value to the public. Usually this is back-end and process information that is useless to anyone but the company itself.
The dark web is a small portion of the deep web that requires special software and browser capability to access. This, of course, is the area of the internet where criminals buy and sell personal information that they have stolen, using untraceable crypto-currency for money.
Now that we understand the difference between the dark web and the deep web, let’s continue.
The tools used by Data Magic Computer Services and others to scan the deep web for mentions of your name, your company name, and your personal information are complex and not nearly as simple as entering a search term into your Google browser. A deep web scan requires a combination of human operators to collect data from sites they have access to and bots that can scan some public channels. We make a note of this to say that it matters WHO you hire to do deep web scanning for your business. There are rookies out there trying to make a buck off of this latest identity theft scare. In addition, there are those companies who have a few simple tools and offer a deep web scanning service, but they don’t have the volume of deep web scanning work to keep up-to-date on this evolving service.
Many companies – such as the credit bureaus noted above – are offering what on the surface seems to be a fully automated process for deep web scan. To put it bluntly, a fully automated deep web scan is not publicly available as of yet. Sure, there are tools that do some of the work, but human operators have to be involved. So naturally, you want to ensure that the deep web “experts” you hire truly are experts.
There is one automatic deep web scanning tool that beats all the rest. It’s called Memex and was built by the Department of Defense. But, for reasons of national security, it’s available to the military but not to the private sector.
As we have already noted, the dark web is only a small part of the deep web.
When companies offer subscription “Dark Web Monitoring,” often what they mean is that they will regularly check sites that historically have been places where criminals have traded illegally gotten information. If pressed, these companies likely won’t tell you what sites they “monitor,” how often they check those sites for your specific information, and how often they check the rest of the deep and dark web for other illegal info trading sites that have popped up.
So when signing up to an automated “Dark Web Monitoring” subscription service online, be sure to do your homework. Big companies are making big money right now in this area and doing little to nothing to earn the money they are making from these monitoring subscription plans.
Deep web scanning, on the other hand, is more targeted in focus and broader in scope than dark web monitoring. IT professionals that offer deep web scanning put customized approaches together for their client to try to dig up specific information that the client wants to find on the deep and dark web. Most times, the goal is to see if criminals have access to personal and company information, but sometimes IT professionals are hired to do deep web scans to find information that is not readily available through a browser search – such as the theft and use of proprietary information by competitors.
The reasons that individual companies want to discover whether their information is available on the deep web are usually financial. Having said that, there are other legitimate reasons to engage the deep web scanning services of the Data Magic team.
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