What is the Dark Web? Reasons It Can Hurt Your Business


You may have seen commercials from Experian that offer to scan the dark web for your private data so you won't be a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, the dark web presents a great danger to businesses as well. Cybercriminals use undercover websites on the deep web to sell confidential data, discuss plans for attacking businesses, and launch malware attacks. Since security breaches are on the rise, you will find there's an increased need to monitor private data on the dark web so you can protect your business and clients.

Intro to the Deep Web
The deep web refers to a network of websites that can only be viewed an identity hiding browser called Tor. As stated by Michael K. Bergman, an expert of the deep web, only 0.03 of the deep web is readily available to standard search engines (Google and Bing for example). The Tor web browser was developed by the federal government to allow individuals to share highly confidential information without exposing their identities or locations. Tor can conceal the location of individuals by directing their traffic randomly through many different offshore servers.

The legitimate use of the deep web helped:
• The federal government protect their online intelligence communications
• Protesters speak out against tyrannical governments
• Journalists receive their scoop from anonymous sources

Deep Web Use for Illegal Activities
Unfortunately, a number of crooks discovered they can use deep websites to conduct criminal activities with virtually no chance of getting caught by law enforcement agencies. These illegal deep websites are collectively known as the dark web. The dark web offers an illegal marketplace (also referred to as the black market) for criminals to buy hacking exploit kits and blocks of personally identifiable information (for example, credit card numbers, intellectual properties, and login information). It's the same black market people mention when talking about the sale of human organs, illegal drugs, and slave labor. To make sure that purchases stay secret, cybercriminals use bitcoin, a form of digital anonymized currency, instead of a credit or debit card.

The dark web also offers secret forums for cybercriminals to prepare attacks against organizations, governments, executives, technologies, and services. Additionally, criminals use the dark web as a hidden staging area for distributing malware on business networks. From there, they can take control of devices to log into online accounts, launch spear phishing campaigns, and collect ransomware funds. On top of that, cybercriminals may go a step further and contract company employees to carry out insider attacks.

Dark Web Monitoring
Dark web monitoring experts can search obscure areas of the web for your organization’s stolen or compromised data. They use advanced crawling software to hunt for confidential data in deep web pages, social media services, forums, bulletin boards, peer to peer sharing networks, and malware samples. If the crawler finds private data, you'll receive an alert and your organization can then begin remediation activities, including updating account passwords, notifying customers of the breach, and reporting the event to industry regulating agencies. Dark web monitoring experts can also conduct cybersecurity sting operations by placing fake personal information on corporate networks and then tracing the data online if a breach happens. It’s comparable to law enforcement officers marking dollar bills to capture mobsters and drug dealers.

You can prevent dark web security breaches by:
• Scanning devices with anti-malware applications frequently
• Performing device operating system updates once they become available. Hackers target devices that do not run these updates for breaches.
• Replacing obsolete operating systems, particularly Windows XP and Vista, with Windows 10
• Not using the same passwords across multiple online accounts and services
• Watching out for employees using consumer cloud services, such as Dropbox and Evernote, for workplace tasks without IT oversight. The consumer version of cloud services do not have sufficient security controls to protect business data against leaks and breaches. If for example, your staff needs to share files with others conveniently, you can ask SwiftTech Solutions to set up company accounts for an encrypted enterprise level cloud application, such as Dropbox for Business, Egnyte, and Box Enterprise.
• Requiring staff members to participate in regular training on safe cybersecurity practices
• Developing a business continuity plan to make sure that your business can maintain operations if there is a breach.

SwiftTech Solutions can provide dark web monitoring services as part of an overall Security as a Service package:
• Web security
• Email security
• Web monitoring
• Enterprise Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware Protection
• Ransomware Protection
• Intrusion Prevention, Detection, and Management


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