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Personal data for sale on surface web

The dark web is not the only place where people’s personal data is bought and sold. According to a new report by fraud prevention service Cifas and Forensic Pathways, a digital forensics company, it is also for sale on the surface web, in forums and online shops accessible via normal search engines.

Cifas is warning individuals to take more care of the information they publish online and on social media, as almost one third of the 30,000 identity fraud victims it surveyed had a visible online footprint revealing their name, date of birth, email and/or telephone number.

Deborah Leary, CEO of Forensic Pathways, said: “The findings are eye-opening. This report not only demonstrates the vulnerabilities of personal data held on surface web platforms, but highlights the pressing need to monitor these with more vigour. It reminds us that although illegal activity occurs on the dark web, it is also prevalent on the surface web, where the selling of personal data through forums and online shops is clearly evident.”

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