It’s hard to find an accurate answer when somebody asks how big the Internet actually is – especially as it doubles in size approximately every two years. Estimates suggest that it will have reached 40 zettabytes by 2020. So this much: 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes spread over the 1.24 billion websites that currently exist worldwide.
Reports indicate that the Dark Net is more than 1,000 times bigger than the Internet, and that around half the pages within its ethereal realm are classified illegal: Trading with drugs, weapons, people – as well as Cyber-Crime itself. Ready-made malware (Trojans, ransomware etc.) from the bargain basket. It’s hardly surprising that the cost of computer fraud in Germany is estimated to run to a high eight-digit figure. Every year.
Individuals or small businesses that believe they are simply not interesting enough to be victims are grossly negligent. This applies even more to government agencies and big corporations. At this point, I would recommend conducting a self-check at the website spycloud.com, where interested users can enter their email addresses to find out how often they have turned up on the Dark Net. It also indicates the regularity with which the matching domain appears, too. I once used the site to check a personal Hotmail account. And I was horrified to find out that the combination of my email address and one of my previous passwords had indeed cropped up on the Dark Net. It really opened my eyes and put an end to the mistaken belief that “I would be fine”. And if you get a hit on the page, then consider for a moment whether you use the password somewhere else as well. The next step is to come up with new passwords for all your accounts as quickly as possible. “123456”, “password” and “qwert” are not particularly bright ideas, by the way. The ranking of the most popular passwords still fails to betray a whole lot of ingenuity. So let your imagination run riot! Or let me ask: Do you just leave you door key dangling from the handle for everyone to see once you have locked up your home? – I didn’t think so!
Ideally, the perfect password should look like you randomly banged your head on the keyboard. But things get a little tricky when you use different passwords for your various accounts and are then expected to remember them all. Here’s a little tip: Think up a sentence that features a number, for instance: “We spent our 2-week vacation in Greece.” Then you take the first letters of each word to create your new password, so in this case: Wso2wviG. But this is just the first building block. The second one is an abbreviation for the account itself, for instance TWI for Twitter. Finally you add a special character to separate the two parts, which in our example could be something like: Wso2wviG?TWI.