The dark web is often misunderstood and feared by business owners so we think it's important to understand what the dark web is, and more importantly, what it isn't. Put in basic terms - the dark web is a segment of the internet that is not accessible through conventional means, it can only be accessed through specific software, more on that later.
And since there is some danger associated with the dark web, it can therefore be beneficial to monitor it for mentions of your business. Here is what you need to know about the dark web including what it is, what it includes, and why you should be keeping an eye on it.
What Is the Dark Web?
The dark web is content that exists on darknets, pretty straightforward right? A darknet is what is called an overlay network - a network that is on the Internet but requires additional software with specific settings and authorizations to access. It is not indexed by search engines, which means it you can't just hit up Google to find your way.
Essentially, the dark web is a collection of websites that are not accessible to the general public. These websites are often used for illegal or illicit purposes, such as drug deals, human trafficking, and the sharing of breached data. The dark web is often associated with criminal activity because it provides a level of anonymity. On a more positive note, it can also be used used for activities like correspondence between whistleblowers and journalists, or people fighting censorship and oppression.
Additionally, the dark web is not the same as the deep web. The deep web consists of all websites that are not indexed by search engines, such as private websites and behind-the-scenes content. The dark web is a small portion of the deep web that can only be accessed through specific software or networks.
Is The Dark Web A Threat To My Business?
The answer to this question depends on the type of business you have. If your organization deals heavily with sensitive information, then the dark web may be a threat to your business. This is because the dark web is often used by criminals to buy and sell stolen data including:
Credit card numbers
Social Security numbers
If your business deals with any type of data, it is important to have a dark web monitoring solution in place. This could be something you install and maintain in-house, or you may want to consider using a paid service from a provider in the data security space. These solutions often will also provide risk assessments and intelligence reports. These reports can be helpful in understanding the specific threats to your business and how to mitigate them
What Does Dark Web Monitoring Include?
Dark web monitoring includes scanning the dark web for your business's data. This can be done using a variety of tools, such as a dark web scanner. A dark web scanner will search the dark web for your data such as email addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers.
If your business's data is found on the dark web, then you will be notified so you can take action. This may include changing your passwords, notifying customers of a breach, and improving your security measures.
What Are The Benefits of Dark Web Monitoring?
Because the dark web can pose such a substantial threat to your data security, there are quite a few benefits of dark web monitoring.
Notification of Data Breaches
One of the most significant benefits of dark web monitoring is that it can provide notifications in the event that data has been compromised. Sensitive information is constantly being exchanged on the dark web, so any time your data is found on these forums, you can be sure that it's only a matter of time before someone tries to use it.
With dark web monitoring in place, you'll be able to quickly and easily see if your data has been compromised, so you can take steps to limit the damage. In some cases, you may even be able to prevent data breaches before they happen.
Another significant benefit of dark web monitoring is that it can help your business stay one step ahead of potential data breaches. By monitoring the dark web for your sensitive information, you can take steps to prevent that information from being used against you.
For example, if an employees credentials are found on the dark web, you can quickly change those credentials before they can be used to gain access to your systems. This kind of proactive approach can help you avoid a lot of headaches (and potentially costly damage) down the road. Side note - if this scenario seems probably in your org and you'd like to do better, check out one of our posts about MFA and how much of a difference it can make.
Peace of Mind
Customers are concerned about their data security, and rightfully so. With all of the data breaches that have been in the news lately, it's no wonder that people are hesitant to share their personal information with businesses.
By monitoring the dark web for your business's sensitive data, you can help put your customers' minds at ease. If you can show them that you're taking steps to protect their information, they'll be more likely to do business with you.