Is Your Data On The Dark Web? Google Now Offers Free Monitoring For All

Hacker in front of a PC.
Whenever there is a data breach, there's a risk that the stolen data will find its way to the dark web, a section of the internet that is not indexed by search engines like Google Search and Microsoft Bing. Like a seedy alleyway, the dark web is a place where illicit transactions can (and do) take place. Stolen credit card details, login credentials, names, addresses, social security numbers, and other personal data— it all changes hands on the dark web. It's not a place most people want (or know how) to visit, but if you're curious whether any of your data is out there, Google just made it easier to keep tabs.

Google's dark web monitoring tool is not new, but previously it was only available to Google One subscribers, which runs anywhere from $1.99 all the way up to $149.99 per month, depending on the tier. Now, however, it's available to anyone with a Google account, which makes it a free (and handy) tool.

A closeup of an eyeball spread across several rows and columns of monitors.

If you have a Google account, all you have to do is visit Google's 'Results About You' page and click on the 'Get Started' button. You'll be prompted to provide some personal information, such as your full name, address, and email address, and you can input multiple entries for each category.

"When you've added your contact info in settings, we’ll check to see if that info shows up in search results. New results about you will appear within 'Results to review', where you can make removal requests. You can also request to remove results that you see on Google Search, by selecting 'Remove result' from the menu icon next to any result that includes your contact info," Google explains.

Google promises that it only uses the data provided to monitor for matches on the dark web, and says it's not shared or used in any way to personalize your experience across its products. In other words, Google's not using the data for personalized ads or anything of the sort. Obviously it takes a leap of faith to take Google at its word.

If you change your mind about Google's offer after the fact, you can always go back to the Results About You page and delete whatever information you no longer want tracked.