Proton Mail will monitor the dark web to warn you about hacks

Swiss software developer Proton announced a new security feature for Proton Mail, its end-to-end encrypted email service that helped put Proton on the map. Called Dark Web Monitoring, the new security feature will scan the dark web for any traces of data breaches that might involve accounts where you use a Proton Mail address to log in.

To benefit from this new security feature, all you need is a premium Proton Mail account. I’ll point out that Proton Mail accounts are available for free so that you can test out the email service. A Proton account also lets you use other encrypted services from the company. But only paid accounts will get Dark Web Monitoring support.

Proton Mail’s strong encryption means all your emails are safe from snoopers, provided you use a strong password. But protecting the contents of your Proton Mail inbox is one thing. Protecting your hacked accounts where you use a Proton Mail address to log in is quite another. That’s where this new security feature comes in.

Most online accounts require an email address and a password. No matter what email provider you use for online credentials or how strong your password might be, hacks can happen. It’s out of your control.

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Once a hacker obtains your credentials to an online service you routinely use, they’ll hope you recycle your password on other services. They’ll try the same combination on multiple websites, hoping to score multiple hits.

They’ll also sell your credentials online on the dark web.

Proton Mail's Dark Web Monitoring will tell you what logins might have been hacked.Proton Mail’s Dark Web Monitoring will tell you what logins might have been hacked. Image source: Proton

Internet companies must disclose data breaches, but those disclosures aren’t always timely. It might take a while until you find out your account has been breached, which means that your countermeasures are less effective. If you recycle your passwords, that’s even worse news.

Services like Dark Web Monitoring protection might come in handy. The service will now alert Proton Mail users if credentials involving their Proton Mail account are found on the dark web. Proton will tell users what personal information has been compromised, the source of the breach, and recommend action.

The sooner you act, the better you’ll protect yourself against potential identity theft attempts and other attacks. Proton will advise changing passwords of all impacted services, enabling multi-factor authentication, and monitoring any related financial accounts for unauthorized transactions.

The company cites data from Statista that says the number of data breaches in the USA has increased significantly, from 1,802 in 2022 to 3,205 in 2023, affecting more than 353 million individuals.

Proton’s ability to identify a data breach as soon as data from it reaches the dark web is a feature you’ll never want to take advantage of. But it’s great to see the feature roll out to Proton Mail. It could be another reason you ditch your current email provider in favor of Proton Mail.

The Dark Web Monitoring  feature will offer you details about the kind of data that might have been stolen.The Dark Web Monitoring feature will offer you details about the kind of data that might have been stolen. Image source: Proton

If Proton discovers someone is selling your credentials on the dark web, it’ll send you alerts in the Proton Mail Security Center on the web and desktop versions of Proton Mail. In the future, email and in-app notifications will be available.

While I’m at it, I’ll remind you that Google also offers dark web reports to Google One subscribers. Plus, DuckDuckGo has a new product called Privacy Pro that will help you remove personal information from the web, and fight identity fraud.


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