Fraud PreventionNovember 2, 2023

A Peek into the Mysterious Dark Web

Most eCommerce merchants have heard of the “dark web.” If you’ve ever wondered where a stolen credit card turns up after a cyberattack against a company or financial institution, the dark web is often the destination. What exactly is the dark web? What does it look like? How do you get there? Most importantly, do you know what risk it poses to your eCommerce business?

Welcome to the Digital Underground

The internet is composed of billions of web pages spread across millions of web servers worldwide. Only a small percentage of those pages are accessible through conventional search engines like Google. Known as the “open web,” this collective of data makes up about 5% of the total internet.

The other 95% is called the “deep web” and consists of web pages that are designed to evade a search engine’s algorithm. Think of your email inbox or your online banking account—a Google search won’t pull them up. Everything from internal business networks to confidential academic journals are out of reach. Web pages on the deep web aren’t necessarily nefarious or illegal. They’re mostly where private user activity goes on daily.

What is the Dark Web?

Then there’s the “dark web.” The dark web is a very small, hidden part of the deep web made up of sites accessible only with specialized web browsers and other software. Although the dark web has legal uses, it also attracts cybercriminals and fraudsters who wish to conduct activity beneath the radar of law enforcement. Hackers often sell stolen personal identity and company information, as shown in this screenshot of a page featuring a menu of consumers’ payment data for purchase. Notice how they may also provide a card holder’s ZIP code, SSN (social security number), DOB (date of birth) and other intimate details that’ll fool an inexperienced fraud analyst into thinking nothing is amiss when the card is used.

Image of carding on the dark webA Screenshot from the Russian Market, a forum that specializes in carding and related services. Picture: VMware Carbon Black Source: Supplied

Is the Dark Web a Danger to Your Business?

Although it isn’t a direct threat, the dark web is where fraudsters acquire stolen credit cards so they can attack your online store. NoFraud helps eCommerce businesses thwart this threat, using a combination of human intelligence and AI-powered, multi-layered fraud screening technology to instantly detect and block fraudulent orders in real-time, eliminating chargebacks and boosting order approval rates.

Want to learn more about how we’re fighting fraud? Visit

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