The dark web refers to a part of the internet that’s only accessible with special software, allowing users and website owners to operate anonymously. Although it uses much of the same infrastructure as the regular web, dark web servers are hidden beneath multiple layers of security. The dark web provides complete anonymity to users, particularly when connecting via a VPN.
If you’ve heard of the dark web, you’ve no doubt heard about how it’s a hotbed of criminal activity. Although the dark web does have some legitimate uses, such as sharing information between oppressive regimes, it is indeed mostly used for illegal activities. Among these are online marketplaces trading everything from drugs to malicious software to stolen credentials and confidential records.
Why is the dark web a threat to your organization?
While the dark web doesn’t pose a direct threat to your organization in the same way malware or social engineering scams do, it’s where cybercriminals go to sell stolen data. If you suffer a data breach, then any stolen records, such as login information, payment card details, or any kind of personally identifiable data will likely end up appearing on dark web marketplaces. As a hidden part of the web, it’s the obvious venue for selling stolen goods in return for Bitcoins.
Similar to the surface web (i.e., the side of the internet that’s searchable through standard search engines), the dark web is constantly evolving and changing. It can take many years for law enforcement to trace communications back to the servers hosting these illegal marketplaces. Furthermore, every time the FBI manages to close down a major marketplace, such as the infamous Silk Road, more continue to appear. Aside from dark web markets, there are also forums and social networks where stolen data may appear.
What is the purpose of dark web monitoring?
According to IBM, it takes an average of six and a half months for an organization to identify a data breach. This is usually long after the stolen data has been sold on the dark web and misused to the point of causing severe financial or personal loss to those affected. To give an example, stolen credit card details may have already been sold and used to empty out the owner’s bank account before they have a chance to block the card.
This example illustrates how the longer it takes to identify a data breach, the more severe the consequences. By monitoring the dark web in real time, it’s possible to identify stolen data like intellectual property and confidential records more quickly with the idea being that victims have a better chance of locking down compromised accounts. Although there’s not usually much you can do to take the content off the dark web, you can at least take steps to reduce the harm to your business and its customers.
Dark web monitoring services work around the clock to track and report on compromised data. Another important feature to look out for is supply chain threat monitoring, since this allows you to determine whether any of your third-party vendors might have been compromises and, therefore, present a threat to your organization. All solutions should send automated threat alerts, allowing you to benefit from proactive monitoring.
Fidelis Inc. provides dark web scanning to help protect your business from the consequences of intellectual property theft and cyberattacks. Call us today to schedule your free dark web scan and baseline assessment.