What is the dark web and why should we care?
You’re happily humming along on the internet, thinking you’ve got a pretty good understanding. You can navigate your way around Google, Facebook, Amazon, and news sites. Did you know you are probably only visiting four percent of the internet? There’s a whole world hiding beyond these safe surface-level sites, known as the Dark Web.
What exactly is the dark Web?
The Dark Web is a conglomeration of websites that cannot be found on search engines or accessed via traditional web browsers, as their location and identity is hidden through encryption tools such as TOR. TOR was originally created to protect military communication, but now has a much broader utilization for both Dark Web purposes and highly secure communication. Access can be gained to the Dark Web sites utilizing TOR.
People create sites on the Dark Web in order to hide where they’re operating from, as well as to remain anonymous (TOR hides all IP information, identifying information, as well as data transfers). Over half of the sites on the Dark Web are used for criminal activities.
Why Do People Use the Dark Web?
One of the most prevalent uses of the Dark Web is buying and selling illegal goods, such as recreational drugs, weapons, fake identities, and organs. The rapid increase of cryptocurrencies—like Bitcoin—has facilitated these sales.
The most dangerous use of the Dark Web for businesses is the exchange of credentials (usernames and passwords) and identities. Stolen credentials can typically be sold on the Dark Web for as low as $1. Hackers utilize these purchased credentials to:
- Gain access to important financial information and steal identities
- Access accounts for further phishing attacks
- Threaten people with exposure of sensitive information
- Compromise other accounts using the same passwords and perpetuate the sale of personal Information
What can you do about it?
Most people will never have a reason to access the Dark Web, but your credentials could easily be floating around, endangering your offline livelihoods. Once your credentials are released on the Dark Web, there is very little you can do to have them removed. However, as soon as you know you’ve been compromised you must act immediately by changing your passwords and activating two-factor authentication.
We recommend utilizing a full Dark Web monitoring service that alerts you if credentials appear on the Dark Web. These services constantly scan the Dark Web for your information and alert you whenever something suspicious appears. These alerts don’t necessarily mean a breach has occurred, but they are a very good heads up that something bad may be coming. You can then create a plan of attack before any damage is done. Granted, there will be your fair share of false positives, but we firmly believe in operating in the better safe than sorry camp.
How should you get started with Dark Web Monitoring?
Our team can run a preliminary scan of your domain revealing the likely breaches in the last few months. We’ll then review that report with you and come up with a plan of action to alleviate any major dangers. Click here to request that scan.