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Data leaks on the Dark Web are a prime target for Google’s One VPN service

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on December 4, 2023
Edited by Isla Sibanda
Fact checked and reviewed

The new feature will be available to all Google One subscribers through their browsers as part of the tech giant’s ongoing drive to expand its VPN service. But how good is it for true online privacy?

With Google One’s new cyber surveillance feature, that is competing with NordVPN, customers may look for indicators that their data has been hacked by scanning the deep web.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Google launched a VPN service named Google One, adding to multifactor authentication (MFA), however it was limited to consumers in certain countries. All Google One subscribers (and the maximum of five additional users) in 22 countries with access to iOS, Windows, Android, or Mac may start utilising the VPN immediately.

Just what is this new Google One VPN?

“VPN by Google One” is Google’s first virtual private network, and it protects users by hiding their IP address, making it harder for websites to track their online activities and collect personal data.

Until yesterday, the only way to access Google VPN was to pay roughly $151 per year for one of the Google One Premium 2TB plans. All Google One 100GB Basic plans come with a VPN service for a few extra pounds per month, adding to other security best practices.

Google thought it’s important to broaden the range of its services to suit user demand since data breaches are becoming more regular and the VPN market is growing more competitive. As 90% of businesses are concerned about cybersecurity resilience, providing Google One clients with access to dark web surveillance may reassure them.

Google One deep web findings… 

By hiding the user’s IP address, Google’s initial VPN prevents websites from tracking the user’s online activities and collecting personally identifiable information.

Before the recent announcement, the only way to use Google VPN was to subscribe to one of the Google One Premium 2TB plans, which cost about $150 yearly. All Google One 100GB Basic plans, which normally cost roughly $300, now include VPN access at no extra cost.

Google thought it was vital to enhance the range of its services to suit user demand since data breaches are becoming more regular, with the advent of super AI, and the VPN industry is becoming more competitive. As 90% of businesses are concerned about cybersecurity resilience, providing Google One clients with access to dark web surveillance may reassure them.

Learn if your data has been breached 

The “dark web report” is a new tool available to all Google One VPN users that can be used to check for any data breach exposure, locking horns with NordVPN who is the VPN market-leader. 

In the event that the user’s sensitive information (such as social security number, name, address, email address, or phone number) has been discovered online, the feature will send them an alert.

Millions of people fall victim to online identity theft every year as a direct result of data breaches, which are becoming more common. A large portion of this stolen data is transmitted via the “dark web”, a region of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and requires a specialised browser to access.

Google claims you’ll be prompted to fill up a “monitoring profile” with information about what you want to keep an eye on after you activate the dark web report. If any of the user’s information is found on the dark web, they will be notified and given advice on what to do next.

The report will include data that may be discovered in data breaches in addition to personal information found on the dark web. Even though some users may be sceptical, Google claims that any data entered into the monitoring process would be handled in line with Google’s privacy agreements, and that users always have the choice to withdraw or stop monitoring.

Up to 5 users

Here’s a quick tutorial on activating NordVPN’s built-in anti-threat features. With the inclusion of Threat Protection, NordVPN aims to surpass the capabilities of conventional VPNs.

You can have up to 5 people using Google Premium One at once. Google VPN was formerly unavailable to everyone without the paid Google One subscription.

While rollout is in process and might take a few weeks to complete, the VPN service will soon be included in all Google One subscriptions.

Access to the service is possible from the Canada, United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

To brighten things up, your Google One membership may be shared with up to 5 people and is compatible with Android, Windows, iOS, and Mac devices.

New research on the dark web is also available to Google One users in the US. With this, you may look for instances of your personal information being exposed on the deep web owing to security issues on other websites. According to Google’s findings, “millions of people” are victims of online identity theft every year due to data breaches.

The new service will alert you if it finds any of your sensitive information on the dark web. Initially, you tell it what information it should keep an eye on, and it goes about its business on your behalf. Based on the findings, recommendations for protecting the exposed information could be provided. Google uses the scenario of discovering one’s own Social Security number as an example and suggests taking steps to protect one’s credit or reporting the number as stolen.

In “the next few weeks”, the dark web report will be made available to all Google One customers in selected countries. 

Understanding the Dark Web

So what is the “dark web”? 

The dark web is the hidden, or “deep”, part of the internet that cannot be accessed by using a regular web browser like Google or Bing.

How the dark web works

The term “dark web” is used to describe the sections of the internet that are not publicly accessible. It’s no secret that the “dark web” is home to a wide variety of illegal content. Researchers Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore from King’s College London spent five weeks in 2015 classifying data from around 3,000 active dark web sites, and they found that 57% include illegal material.

Dr. Michael McGuires of the University of Surrey found in his 2019 study Into the Web of Profit that things have worsened. As of 2018, there was a 20% rise in potentially dangerous dark web posts compared to 2016. Sixty per cent of all ads (not including those for illegal drugs) represent some kind of threat to companies.

Anything from Netflix credentials to hacking tools to stolen credit card information to firearms is on sale here.

To top it all off, you can buy access credentials to a Bank of America account with a balance of $40k, fake Aussie $20 notes, prepaid debit cards, and even a “lifetime” Netflix premium subscription. One option is to hire hackers to launch assaults. Passwords and login credentials may be bought.

In addition to illegality, the dark web is also used for legitimate purposes. For instance, you may join a chess club or BlackBook, which has been dubbed “the Facebook of Tor”.

How are the deep/dark webs different?

When comparing the “deep web” to the “dark web”, what key distinctions may be made?

The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are sometimes used interchangeably, although they are really very different. The “deep web” refers to the areas of the internet that are not indexed and, hence, not accessible by a search engine like Google.

A user must either pay a charge or log in to get access to deep web content. This also includes any content whose owners have requested to be excluded from indexing.

Medical records, paid articles, membership sites, and internal company pages are just some of the many resources available on the deep web. Almost all of the internet is classified as deep web. What we call the “clear web” refers to the portion of the internet that is accessible with a standard web browser.

The dark web, a subset of the more general deep web, is intentionally hidden and can only be accessed with the Tor web browser. While its precise size is uncertain, the dark web is thought to account for anywhere between 5% and 20% of the whole Internet. Remember, not all traffic on the dark web is illegal in nature, despite the name.


While the new VPN is a nice addition for Google One members, it is about as dependable as the other VPNs on the market. Nonetheless, you can get access to the VPN right now for less than a fiver a month, making it one of the more affordable options.

There are a number of VPN options to choose from. We found that NordVPN provided the highest level of security, but before making a final decision, you may want to see how they compare to other providers in our comprehensive guide to the best VPNs today.

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