The dark web is a scary place, and the last thing you want is to have any personal information about you out there for scammers to access. Recently, The United States Department of Justice revealed that Genesis Market, a criminal marketplace website selling access to over 80 million account access credentials, including usernames and passwords, was finally seized, and 119 of the site’s users were arrested. This illicit platform allowed cybercriminals to prey upon individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide, causing extensive harm.
What did Genesis Market do?
Genesis Market has been around since 2018 and was a huge resource for hackers because it would allow them to specifically search for information to target their next victims. This included anything from social media to bank account credentials and could be targeted to user location as well.
The website would work by selling those credentials and personal information, and it also sold access to users’ cookies and browser fingerprints. By doing this, hackers could bypass extra protections that users might have had on their accounts, like two-factor authentication. Genesis was even capable of giving a browser extension that would let the hackers fake the victim’s fingerprint while using their login cookies to gain access to an account.
How can I check if my information was sold on the dark web?
To check if your information was sold on the dark web, you can go to haveibeenpwned.com and enter your email address into the search bar. The website will search to see what data of yours is out there and display if there were data breaches associated with your email address on various sites. You may have even received an email from the website already saying that some of your data was stolen, and you should look into this immediately if that is the case.
What do I do if my data has been stolen?
If you see that your information was part of any sort of breach, you should first log out of all your accounts on every web browser on your computer. Once you’ve done that, you should completely clear out your cookies and caches. If you’re not sure how to do that, follow the steps below.
How to clear cache and cookies in Chrome
- Open Chrome
- Click the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner
- Select More tools and then Clear browsing data
- Choose the time range at the top. To delete everything, select All time
- Check the boxes next to Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files
- Click Clear data
How to clear cache and cookies in Safari
- Open Safari
- At the top left of your screen, click Safari and then click Settings
- In the box that pops up, click Privacy
- Click Manage Website Data
- Select all websites listed, then click Remove All
- A pop up window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to remove all data stored by websites on your computer. Tap Remove Now
- Click Done
How to clear cache and cookies in Microsoft Edge
- Open Edge
- Select Settings and more in the upper right corner of your browser window
- Select Settings
- Click Privacy, search, and services
- Under Clear browsing data, click Clear browsing data now
- Select Choose what to clear
- Under Time range, choose a time range from the list
- Select Cookies and other site data, and then select Clear now
How to clear cache and cookies in Firefox
- Open Firefox
- In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click and select
- Select the panel
- Go to the Cookies and Site Data section
- Click the button. The Clear Data dialog will appear
- Click Clear
Change your password
If your password was compromised, be sure to change it immediately. My tips and best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023 can be found here:
Invest in removal services
A service like OneRep can help you remove all this personal information from the internet. It has a very clean interface and will scan 195 websites for your information and remove it and keep it removed.
Special for CyberGuy Readers: OneRep offers a 5-day free trial and then charges $7.49/month for one person on their monthly plan or $13.99/month for your family (up to 6 people) on their annual plan. I recommend the family plan because it works out to only $2.30 per person per month for year-round coverage. It’s an excellent service, and I highly recommend at least doing the free trial to see what it’s all about.
Have good antivirus software on all your devices
Once you’ve completed those steps, the best way to protect yourself from having your data breached is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices.
Keeping hackers out of your devices can be prevented if you have good antivirus software installed. Having antivirus software on your devices will make sure you are stopped from clicking on any potential malicious links which may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information.
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Kurt’s key takeaways
The takedown of the Genesis Market and the criminals associated with it was a huge win for law enforcement. However, other criminal marketplace websites are still out there on the dark web. They want to sell your personal information, which enables hackers to bypass security measures. It is important for you to check if your information was on Genesis and take measures like logging out of accounts, clearing cache and cookies, updating passwords and installing antivirus software to protect yourself. Also, investing in removal services can help monitor and remove personal information from the internet.
Have you found yourself on the dark web? What steps have you taken to remove your information from these sites? Let us know by commenting below.
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