Understanding what the Dark Web is and how it could be a danger to your small business is the first step towards avoiding this particular cyber threat – but what comes next? Dark web monitoring.
You know where to go to get gas. You know where to buy bread.
But what if your shopping list called for something else – what if you needed to the login info for a local small business’ system administrator account? What if you needed a half dozen Social Security numbers? What if you needed a line of credit, under a stranger’s name?
Would you know where to go shopping?
Cybercriminals do – they go to the Dark Web.
In fact, your personal information could be for sale right now, for as little as $3 per record. Do you want cybercriminals getting that good of a deal on your Social Security number, or your date of birth?
The Dark Web is a small part of the much larger “deep web” – the common name for an extensive collection of websites that aren’t accessible through normal Internet browsers. These websites are hidden from the everyday Internet — or Clearnet — users through the use of overlay networks.
They’re built on the framework of networks that already exist, and there are a lot of them. In fact, the Deep Web makes up the majority of the information online. Which, when you consider how vast the corner of the Internet you frequent is, is nothing short of terrifying.
Cybercriminals employ a range of tactics to steal your information, and then sell it online. Before they can start advertising on the Dark Web, they have to get their hands on your info first.
A few strategies they might use include…
Personal information such as school and medical records, bank statements, and private emails are all part of the Dark Web. To gain access to this information, you must be able to access an overlay network using specialized software and passwords. This is a good thing, because it keeps sensitive information safe, and prevents search engines from accessing and indexing it.
The added security of the Deep Web makes it attractive for those who want their online activities to remain anonymous. Unlike the Deep Web, which prevents outsiders from accessing information, the owners of Dark Websites allow anyone with the right browser to access their sites. One of the most popular of these is The Onion Browser, more commonly known as Tor.
Cybercrime costs US businesses billions of dollars each year. The majority of information hackers steal from businesses ends up on the Dark Web for sale to identity thieves and corporate spies.
But, the real danger is that it provides communication and educational training ground for hackers and would-be hackers. Although the competition among different hacking groups is fierce, there’s still a willingness among cybercriminals to share techniques and assist one another.
It’s this access to the “tools of the trade” and the guidance required to pull off successful hacks, attacks, and scams that makes the Dark Web so dangerous to your business. Anyone with the time and inclination to learn how to steal valuable data from your business can check out an online tutorial or two, pay for some basic hacking software from one of these marketplaces, and set their sights on you.
While they might not be the stories that make national headlines, small and mid-sized businesses are targeted every day by cybercriminals looking to make a fast buck.
The first step is to make sure you use stronger passwords…
However, given the ubiquity of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
Maybe you think your passwords are fine.
It’s certainly possible – but it’s one thing to skim over a list of common password mistakes and assume you’re probably still OK.
Sure, maybe that one password is based on your pet’s name, or maybe that other password doesn’t have any capitals or numbers – what’s the big deal, really?
If you’re so confident, then why not put it to the test?
Click here to test how secure your password is – take a few minutes and try a few.
How’d you do?
Probably not as well as you’d hoped, right? The reality is that truly complex passwords can be difficult to come up with, and even more difficult to remember.
Unfortunately, all these tips are meant to be preventative – they’ll increase your security and protect against cybercriminals taking your data in the first place.
But what if you’ve already experienced a breach?
It can be difficult for the average user to access the Dark Web and find the right sites to see if your info is for sale. After all, there’s no Google for that part of the Internet.
That’s why you need the right help, and the right technology to figure out if your data is for sale…
There’s only so much you can do on your own – but there are now more direct ways of checking whether your data has been compromised on the Dark Web. Many security vendors now offer cyber-surveillance monitoring solutions that can scan the dark web for your credentials.
Allow us to help – To celebrate Cyber Security Awareness Month, we are offering a complimentary dark web scan! You may have already seen this offer on our post card, if not there is still time to take advantage of this offer! Contact us today to receive yours.
Remember, you can’t make this go away by ignoring it. If there’s a chance your personal data could be on the Dark Web right now, you owe it to yourself to make sure it isn’t, and to take additional steps to protect your data from future theft and sale.
Put simply? You can’t afford to ignore the Dark Web.