The dark web is essentially another 'layer' of the internet, which is largely unregulated and dangerous. The dark web is often used for illegal activity or anonymous online searches, using services such as Tor. The dark web may be used to traffic drugs, weapons, pornographic material and stolen information. It's one of the biggest challenges to cyber security in NZ.
Fraudsters can also purchase your personal details online to commit identity theft, like your name, address, birthday, and logins. They pretend to be you, buy things in your name, open credit cards, and run up debts. Criminals can even use stolen passwords to log into your accounts and steal more of your information.
The impact of cyber attacks can be devastating on your finances and your online identity. Cybercriminals could steal money from your bank accounts and wreck your credit score by taking out debt in your name.
If you suspect some of the information on your credit report might not be accurate, or seems unusual, speak to your credit provider or bank. It may be that your account has been hacked without you realising it, so it's best to notify your provider as soon as possible.
There are VPN (virtual private network) services that encrypt your data. But the best protection is staying away from the dark web. Accessing sites opens you to potential risks, so if you want to search anonymously, try turning on an 'incognito' window if you want to search anonymously
You can also use numerous other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo or Ecosia, each with its policy on anonymity and data share.