It’s too late for a Halloween story, but year-round, it’s the things in the dark that scare us. This is true in the online world as much as the real world.
The Dark Web Defined
The web lets us instantaneously access information and resources all around the world by typing a URL into a browser, but there’s a part of the web that’s not easily accessible. URLs that aren’t known to the search engines are called the deep web, and much of that is innocuous, such as pages under development that aren’t yet released to the public. A small corner of the deep web is the more dangerous dark web, where anonymity is preserved and criminality thrives.
The dark web is a vibrant marketplace, filled with stolen data (account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, and other personal information) and tools for hacking. When a data breach occurs, it’s often made possible by malware sold on the dark web, and the stolen data often ends up for sale there, as well. For all the value this data has to its owners, there’s so much of it that it’s cheap for criminals to buy: according to Experian, social security numbers sell for just one dollar.
Dark Web Dangers for Business
As both the source of hacking tools and the destination for stolen data, the dark web is a threat to data security. The dark web is also an inspirational source for criminals. There are those hacking kits that are available, plus guides on how to deploy malware and ransomware, and how to open fraudulent accounts. Wannabe criminals who don’t have their own technical skills can rent a botnet to execute a DDoS attack or buy admin credentials to gain access to a company’s systems.
It can be used in other ways to harm businesses, too. There are sites that aggregate personal information—not just your accounts but also your social media—that can be used to threaten executives.
Learn more in What is the Dark Web and Why Should We Care?
Shine Light into the Dark Web
For businesses to protect themselves against the dark web’s dangers, the first step is to know when the dark web is brushing up against them. Monitoring tools allow companies to detect if any data stolen during a breach has been made available on dark web sites. You can make sure the data is yours through watermarking or fingerprinting.
In addition to monitoring for data from your business, you should also monitor the dark web for references to your business, including names of employees. Monitor for references to specific software and hardware you use, as that chatter can reveal vulnerabilities and potential attacks.
Beyond monitoring, make sure you have a strong cybersecurity process in place. Ensure patches are applied quickly, firewall rules are correct, and consider intrusion detection and data loss prevention software to help prevent theft of data. Make sure your employees are trained to detect phishing emails and to use safe computing practices such as strong passwords.
CCS Technology Group provides security services to help businesses against the dangers of the dark web. Get a dark web scan to learn how to stay safe at Halloween and year round. What you don’t know will hurt you. A Dark Web Scan can uncover if your data is for sale, and tell you if your personal or business data may be at risk.