You might have heard of the infamous Dark Web and wondered what it is and why people use it. The small guide below discusses what the anonymous underbelly of the internet is and some of the ways criminals use it to compromise businesses.

What is the dark web?
The best way to describe the Dark Web is by visualising an iceberg. The top of the iceberg is the internet that we all use on a day to day basis, the same way you’re reading this blog post. This part of the internet is moderated, regulated and true visitor anonymity is harder to achieve.

Underneath the water is the part of the iceberg that you don’t see, in this case the Dark Web. This part of the internet can only be accessed by using an anonymous internet browser which disguises your IP address. The most common browser used is called Tor. Websites that are found on the Dark Web are also anonymous and the owners of these websites can’t be identified. Furthermore, the content on the Dark Web is not moderated or regulated. Anonymity is what makes the Dark Web different to the typical internet you use.

Iceberg visualization courtesy of https://hackernoon.com/

What is it used for?
A large majority of the websites and content you come across on the Dark Web is illegal. For example, there are eBay style auction sites where visitors can purchase an array of illegal items such as weapons, credit card details, drugs and even hitman services. These items are purchased using crypto currency, commonly Bitcoin. Leaked confidential information is also shared among the Dark Web such as government documents, private data and insider information. Some journalists even monitor the Dark Web to view information released by whistle-blowers. This again emphasises the anonymity and threat that comes with the Dark Web.  
What risks are there to my business?

As mentioned previously, criminals can sell and purchase stolen data in the masses. Most of this data comes from data breaches on businesses. Usually, if a business is compromised then the data will end up being sold on the Dark Web and the scale is huge. Recently 620 million accounts stolen from 16 hacked websites have been put up for sale on Dark Web. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t put precautions in place and by the time they’re aware that their data has been compromised it’s already up for grabs.
There are a few different ways this can affect businesses. The biggest affect is that customer data has been compromised meaning a breach of GDPR. Additionally, if staff account data has been compromised then this leaves a huge security risk. Once in the hands of cyber criminals, they will have an open door to your network. Data is highly valuable to cyber criminals and there are numerous ways that they can use this to further damage businesses.

What can be done about it?
While there is always a risk that attackers will compromise a company’s systems through advanced attacks, most data breaches exploit known vulnerabilities, unpatched systems and unaware employees. Only by implementing a suite of tools including monitoring, data leak prevention, multi factor authentication, employee security awareness training and others can organizations protect their business from the perils of the Dark Web.

Here at Keen IT we are well equipped to help businesses defend against the Dark Web. We have recently introduced a new service called Dark Web Monitoring. This allows us to scan third parties such as the Dark Web to find any data that might have been compromised from your network. By doing this, it gives us a head start to ensure that your network is repaired and minimise the risk of further breaches. We stay one step ahead of the criminals.

If this sounds of interest, please get in contact