How big is the Internet? It’s a lot bigger than you probably imagine, with an estimated page count of more than five billion pages (this estimate changes daily). At most, the average user accesses a fraction of these pages, about 4%. Typically this is from navigation on Google, Facebook, Amazon, and news sites. Beyond that, however, is a whole world of sites that go much deeper than these surface-level sites. This world is known as the Dark Web, and it is an unsafe place for your data.
What is the Dark Web?
Though it might sound like part of a spy movie or science fiction, the Dark Web is very real. It is a collection of websites that the average user cannot access via search engines or traditional web browsers. The location and identity of these websites is hidden through encryption tools, including the untraceable, anonymous web browser known as The Onion Router, or TOR. TOR began as a military communications project in the US Naval Research Laboratory, designed to protect sensitive military communications online and render such activity untraceable. In 2004, TOR became open-sourced and went public, effectively creating an anonymous web browser available to anyone.
Is the Dark Web Good or Evil?
If you’re looking to categorize the Dark Web as “good” or “evil,” it might be hard to do. For instance, individuals in totalitarian societies can use the Dark Web to remain untraceable as they share their thoughts freely. Journalists, whistleblowers, and activists can use it as a safety measure for their activities. Law enforcement and intelligence communities use it to monitor terror groups or track cybercriminals. Arguably, these are all “good” uses for the Dark Web.
However, there are plenty of not-so-honest people out there using TOR and accessing the Dark Web for criminal activities. The anonymity provided by this shadowy portion of the Internet is precisely why crime proliferates there. In fact, over half of the sites on the Dark Web exist for criminal activities – buying and selling drugs, weapons, organs, and personal information, just to name a few.
How Does This Affect My Business?
A sizeable portion of commerce on the Dark Web involves the exchange of credentials and identities. This can include usernames, passwords, medical records, social security numbers, and so on. Cybercriminals can purchase stolen credentials for less than $10 (often for a mere dollar) and then use them to:
- Access financial information
- Steal identities
- Access accounts to use in phishing
- Extort individuals through exposure of sensitive information
- Compromise accounts using the same username/password combination
If even one of your employees has his or her information compromised, it could cascade into your business. Your customer data, financial records, and access to your internal systems could be up for sale on the Dark Web.
How Can I Protect My Business?
If an employee’s professional credentials end up on the Dark Web, it can wreak havoc. Ideally, you should have security measures in place to minimize the potential of this kind of event. At the very least, you should know if and when there is a compromise of this information. The sooner you’re aware of it, the faster you can take steps to mitigate the problem, including changing passwords and enabling two-factor authentication.
Dark Web Monitoring is a service many MSPs use to help their customers stay on top of potential breaches. This service constantly scans the Dark Web for your information and alerts you whenever something suspicious appears. While such a notification might be alarming, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business has suffered a breach. Knowing that an employee’s credentials have potentially been exposed means that you can prepare for a breach. Such preparation could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches, protecting your valuable business data.
Using Dark Web Monitoring
Dark Web Monitoring is one of the services Lieberman Technologies offers in our role as a Managed Service Provider. We believe that when it comes to protecting your business data, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This service allows us to scan the Dark Web for credentials associated with your business. Compromised credentials are listed on a report that can help you determine your next steps. We can help you to develop a response that can include limiting downtime, recovering data, and providing additional security training for your employees.
Protect your business from cybercrime – contact Lieberman Technologies!