As part of the tech giant's continued effort to extend its VPN service, the new capability will be made accessible to all Google One members.
The new cyber surveillance function in Google One will let users check the dark web for signs that their data has been compromised.
In Q4 2020, Google introduced a VPN service called Google One, although it was only available to Android users in the United States, United Kingdom, and others. Starting today, all Google One customers (and up to 5 users you allow on your Google One subscription) in 22 countries using iOS, Windows, Android, and Mac may use the VPN.
What is Google One’s new VPN?
Google's first VPN, dubbed “VPN by Google One”, protects users by masking their IP address so that websites can't see what they're up to online and gather personal information about them.
Up until yesterday's revelation, the only way to get Google VPN was to pay around £80 a year for one of the Google One Premium 2TB plans. VPN service is now included in all Google One 100GB Basic plans for just a few pounds per month.
As data breaches are becoming more common and the VPN business is getting more competitive, Google felt it necessary to increase the breadth of its product in order to meet consumer demand. Google One customers may feel more secure if they have access to dark web monitoring, since 90% of organisations are worried about cybersecurity resiliency.
Google One’s Dark Web reporting
Google's first VPN protects users by masking their IP address so that websites can't see what they're up to online and gather personal information about them.
Up until yesterday's revelation, the only way to get Google VPN was to pay about £80 a year for one of the Google One Premium 2TB plans. VPN service is now included in all Google One 100GB Basic plans for around £1.70 per month.
As data breaches are becoming more common and the VPN business is getting more competitive, Google felt it necessary to increase the breadth of its product in order to meet consumer demand. Google One customers may feel more secure if they have access to dark web monitoring, since 90% of organisations are worried about cyber security resiliency.
See if your data has been compromised
Each user who has access to Google One VPN may now utilise a new tool called the “dark web report” to see whether their personal information has been compromised as a result of a data breach. The function alerts the user if their personal information (such as social security number, name, address, email address, or telephone number) has been located online.
Data breaches are a growing source of personal information theft, which is leading to an increase in online identity fraud affecting millions of individuals annually. Most of this stolen information is disseminated through the so-called “dark web”, a section of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and needs a specific browser to access.
When you initially activate the dark web report, Google says you'll be asked to fill up a “monitoring profile” with details about what you want to keep tabs on. The user will be informed if any of their data is discovered on the dark web and given instructions on how to react and take precautions.
The report will not only highlight dark web personal information, but also display information that might be uncovered in data breaches. Although some users may be sceptical, Google says that all information placed into the monitoring process will be dealt in accordance with Google's privacy terms, and that users have the option to remove or stop monitoring whenever.
Google Premium One allows up to 5 users
Up until now, Google VPN has only been accessible to users with a premium Google One plan.
For the foreseeable future, all Google One plans will include the VPN service, albeit the implementation is still in progress and may take a few weeks to complete.
Users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States may access the service.
On the bright side, if you have a Google One subscription, you may share with up to 5 people, and it will work on Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac computers.
There's also a new study on the dark web for Google One subscribers in the United States. By using this, you may search the deep web for instances of your personal data that may have been leaked due to security flaws on other websites. Google reports that “millions of individuals” fall victim to online identity theft each year as a result of data breaches like this one.
When the new service detects any of your private data on the deep web, it will send you a notification. First, you choose what data you want it to monitor, and then it does it on your behalf. Depending on the results, you may be given suggestions on how to best secure the discovered data. Google presents the example of finding your Social Security number and advising you to either report it as stolen or take actions to safeguard your credit.
Throughout “the next several weeks”, all Google One subscribers in the United States will have access to the dark web report.
What is the Dark Web?
What exactly is this mysterious “dark web”?
The dark web is the portion of the internet inaccessible to traditional search engines and only accessible via the use of the Tor anonymizing browser.
The dark web refers to the hidden or unreachable parts of the internet. You've probably heard that the so-called “dark web” is rife with illicit activities. Five weeks in 2015, researchers Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore of King's College in London categorised the data of almost 3,000 active dark web sites, and they discovered that 57% contain criminal information.
The situation has deteriorated, according to Into the Web of Profit, a 2019 research by Dr. Michael McGuires of the University of Surrey. There has been a 20% increase in potentially harmful dark web postings since 2016. Sixty percent of all postings (excluding drug sellers) pose some risk to businesses.
Here you can purchase everything from credit card details to illegal substances to weapons to fake currency to Netflix login passwords to hacking tools.
You can even purchase logins to a Bank of America account with a balance of £35,000, counterfeit £20 notes, prepaid debit cards, or a “lifetime” Netflix premium membership. You may employ hackers to conduct cyberattacks on your behalf. Usernames and passwords may be purchased.
The dark web is not entirely illegitimate; there is some lawful activity taking on there as well. For instance, you may sign up for a chess club or BlackBook, which has been called “the Facebook of Tor”.
“Deep Web" vs "Dark Web"
In what ways are the “deep web” and the “dark web” different?
Some people may confuse the “deep web” with the “dark web”, however these two concepts are distinct. The term “deep web” is used to describe the parts of the internet that are not indexed and consequently not accessible by a search engine such as Google.
To access deep web information, a user must either pay a fee or log in. This also includes any material whose proprietors have specifically asked search engines not to index it.
The deep web has a wide variety of resources, some of which include medical data, paid material, membership websites, and private business web pages. About 96 percent to 99 percent of the internet is considered to be part of the deep web. Simply put, the “clear web” is the subset of the internet that can be accessed by a typical web browser.
The dark web, which is part of the wider deep web, is deliberately obscured and can only be accessed with the Tor browser. The exact proportions of the dark web are unknown, however most estimates place it at between 5% and 20% of the whole Internet. Again, despite its sinister reputation, not all dark web traffic is criminal in nature.
If you're a Google One member, the new VPN is a handy feature to have; but, when compared to other VPNs on the market, Google One is about as reliable as the rest. Still, the VPN is currently accessible with subscriptions starting at about £1.70 a month, making it one of the cheapest VPNs available.
Several different virtual private network services are available. Our analysis indicates that NordVPN is the most secure option; but, before committing to them, you may want to check out how they stack up against the competition in our guide to the best VPN services of 2023.