We are all aware that the internet is incomprehensively massive. We know about YouTube, Google, Facebook and eBay, but what many of us often don’t realise is how much deeper the internet goes beyond those respectable and user-friendly websites. The elusive dark web is something we often hear about, but very few people properly understand what it is or how dangerous it can be.
What is the dark web?
In simple terms, the dark web is content on the world wide web that exists on ‘darknets’; these are overlay networks that require specific authorisation to access them. It forms part of the deep web, which is a part of the internet that cannot be found or indexed by search engines. Researchers claim that only 4% of the internet is available to the general public, meaning a vast 96% of the internet is made up of the deep web.
The dark web provides a hidden area where cybercriminals can act with full anonymity thanks to the heavy encryption involved. This shady corner of the internet offers several layers of secrecy by encrypting all IP addresses that work within it or even access it. It is this level of confidentiality that makes the dark web a hub for cyber attacks and underground marketplaces which trade not only your personal data but also that of your customers.
Although the dark web is buzzing with illegal activity such as cyber attacks and data breaches, it is not actually illegal to access and can be accessed by anyone who wishes too. Accessing the dark web and using it legally can surprisingly provide a fantastic resource for businesses. It gives us the opportunity to monitor the dark web’s content and ensure customer data is not being circulated and traded by cybercriminals.
All kinds of personal data and information on individuals can be found on the dark web and are often traded between cybercriminals and used for fraud and online attacks. Just last year it was reported that a database of around 1.4 billion account login details were published online. This included account details such as usernames, passwords and email addresses from a considerable number of well-known websites such as PayPal, Netflix and Gmail.
Once hackers get their hands on these details, they are able to automate account hijacking and take over customers’ accounts easily. Many individuals will reuse passwords across all their online accounts, meaning hackers can access a terrifying amount of data.
Why you need to protect your data
Personal data on individuals is very valuable to hackers on the dark web, and it is vital to ensure you, and your company is adequately protected against any kind of data breach. There are a huge number of ways that data can be leaked from an organisation, from accidental data spills or database misconfigurations to highly sophisticated attacks that infect systems with malicious code. With such a vast number of these data breaches happening on a daily basis across all kinds of companies and organisations it is imperative that you protect your business from potential issues.
While traditional methods of having strong security to protect your database and customer information are still essential to protecting against cyber attacks, there are new approaches that are becoming increasingly popular. Recently, we have seen a trend of more and more companies adopting a risk-management mindset, where you make the assumption that sensitive data will eventually be breached and plan accordingly.
Monitoring the dark web
The dark web can be used a powerful tool in data protection; it can often provide early insights into potential vulnerabilities in your network. By monitoring the dark web, we can often detect unknown weaknesses such as misconfigured databases and malicious insiders that are leaking your customer data. By detecting these leaks as soon as they appear on the dark web you have an early warning of vulnerabilities within your network, giving you the opportunity to resolve them before a larger and more dangerous breach occurs.
The process of monitoring the dark web for potential security threats can seem extremely overwhelming for small businesses, especially to those who are not so tech-savvy. The dark web lingers on deep and difficult to locate corners of the world wide web, so even just knowing how and where to start can be a challenge.
Protect your data with Cyan Solutions
At Cyan Solutions, we take the challenge of monitoring the dark web away. We can help you to manage your online security and use our own monitoring tools to keep track of the dark web for your business. We work in partnership with you to our services so we meet your every need.
Our tools provide us with the knowledge and assets to help prevent or limit the damage of cyber attacks by alerting you to any potential security breaches. Get in touch with our professional team of experts today to book your audit and get started on protecting yourself against the dark web’s cybercriminals.