Voter data and the digital weapons hackers use to subvert elections are bought and sold daily on a corner of the internet known as the dark web. It is a network of websites that is tough to access but functions much like the internet we use every day. You can buy everything from guns and drugs to botnets and ransomware. And cyber-criminals can purchase voter records and hacking tools.The dark web is not accessible using typical web browsers like Chrome or Safari. Instead, you are required to log on using a virtual private network, or VPN, and the Tor web browser. Tor is an acronym for “the onion router.” Every computer has an identifying IP address, and the Tor browser can help shield your machine’s location by sending info through several layers of servers.
“Voter and consumer data ends up on the dark web through a number of paths,” says TechRepublic staff writer Alison DeNisco Rayome. “Sometimes it’s after the breach of a major company, as we saw with Equifax, when a criminal takes advantage of security flaws in a corporate system and gains access to employees’ or customers’ personally identifiable information, including names, Social Security numbers, and addresses.”
Hackers also sell stolen logins, details on website exploits , voting machine vulnerabilities, and ransomware on the dark web.