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The Dark Web Is An Unsafe Cybercrime Playground. Keep Out!

Plus an Update on the IRS Reporting Proposal.

As we close out Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let us offer some insight into the mystery of the dark web. We’ve all heard the term dark web, but what is it really and how is it used for cybercrime and fraud?

Let’s take a look.

 What is the dark web and how does it work?

Like the other segments of the web, the dark web consists of computer systems connected to the internet designed for communicating with other systems on the web. Unlike other web segments, however, systems on the dark web use a series of encrypted virtual private network (VPN) connections to anonymize computers, users and locations.

 Accessing the dark web is not as simple as Googling whatever you want to search for in your favorite browser. In fact, Google does not index the dark web because it can’t easily access information behind the encrypted VPN connections. Dark web browsers such as Tor are used to access web pages and markets on the dark web anonymously.

 What is the dark web used for?

At 30,000 feet, the internet is broken into three segments:

Surface web: Public sites we’re used to visiting — shopping sites, news articles, etc.

Deep web: Private sites comprised of giant databases — company websites, member-only sites and typical everyday stuff that makes up about 90% of what’s on the internet.

Dark web: Generally made up of sites pertaining to political unrest, illegal or illicit information, or shopping sites for bad guys.

Users of the dark web are typically taking advantage of the privacy and anonymity associated with obtaining information, goods and services through this channel. Often this is for well-meaning purposes such as protecting privacy rights and sharing valuable information that can’t be attributed to a person or other entity.

However, as we all know, unfortunately the dark web can be used for nefarious purposes such as exchanging illegal goods, stolen information, and even malware or computer viruses. Funds are typically exchanged via cryptocurrency to avoid a money trail.

Staying safe from cybercrime

The dark web can be an extremely risky place. We highly recommend steering clear of it to keep your computer and personal information safe. It’s wise to ensure all software installed on the computers on your network is authorized to avoid software like Tor or other risky installs.

For the bad guys, this is a cybercrime playground where personal scams are created and executed, including money-grabbing scams. Engaging the dark web can negatively impact all your accounts.

Much of our daily lives depend on the internet and the security of data, so let’s help each other stay cyber safe!

(Partially reprinted from Shazam Blog.)

White House framework omits IRS reporting proposal

The White House’s reconciliation framework does not contain the credit union-opposed provision requiring increased reporting to the Internal Revenue Service according to reports on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions strongly pushed back against the proposed provision since it was first discussed this summer. (reprinted from CUNA News.)

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