What is the Dark Web? And, How Could it Impact Your Business?
“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
Welcome to the Dark Web, the underground of the Internet. Where you can buy everything from drugs to sensitive information, it’s not a place for honest business owners.
While it may be tempting to bury your head in the sand, it’s essential to know what the Dark Web is and how it could impact your company. Only by being vigilant can you make sure you’re not left vulnerable to the criminals of the Interwebs.
What is the Dark Web?
You won’t find the Dark Web with a simple Google search. That’s because it’s part of the Internet that isn’t indexed by search engines.
Here, anything goes.
Website creators and Internet browsers get complete anonymity, so illegal activities are untraceable.
A study conducted by King’s College of London examined 2,723 dark websites and discovered that 57% of these sites hosted illegal content. Research has estimated that roughly 60% of dark web listings could potentially hurt a business or its reputation — leaving companies extremely vulnerable.
What Can You Buy on the Dark Web?
Most people, especially movie buffs, associates the Dark Web with drugs, guns, and sex. But, you can also buy sensitive data like credit card numbers, stolen software log-ins (like for your accounting system), and even bank account details.
For $500, you can get access to a bank account worth $50,000.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly malicious, you can hire hackers to attack a company’s computers.
Is the Dark Web Illegal?
The Dark Web itself isn’t illegal. It’s the activity on the Dark Web that’s illegal.
As it gives users and website hosts complete anonymity, it lends itself particularly well to illegal activities. Police can’t trace where transactions came from like they can on the normal Internet.
However, not everyone uses the Dark Web for illegal activities. People in countries that restrict free speech often use the Dark Web to express their views or communicate with journalists.
You can even find banned books, helpful information on cryptocurrency or access encrypted email services. So, it would be a mistake to write off the Dark Web as only a place for illegal activity.
Like most things, it’s not that simple.
How Does the Dark Web Work?
The Dark Web exists apart from regular browsers by using a protocol known as The Onion Router hidden service.
Search engines are unable to detect “Tor” servers, so they can’t collect information on searchers. Special encryption then extends this same level of anonymity to website creators.
Everything stays inside the “Tor” network, so when you access the dark web, you’re essentially accessing a totally different system.
While you won’t encounter the Dark Web on a regular Internet search, it’s not difficult to access it.
How Dark Web Impacts Business
With 945 data breaches in Q1 of 2018 alone, no company is safe from a cyber attack.
Cybercriminals steal and sell company details on the Dark Web to further criminal activity like data breaches, publishing company secrets and stealing individual employees' and customers’ identities.
To make matters worse, you’re unlikely to know that your company details are for sale on the Dark Web till it’s too late.
Once cybercriminals purchase your company details, it could impact your company in 3 ways:
- Hurt your reputation, causing customers to lose trust in your brand and make them turn to your competitors.
- Damage your ability to operate as normal as DDoS or malware attacks can impact business operations.
- Defraud your company either directly or indirectly. For example, cybercriminals could steal your IP address or spy on your business to stop you from competing efficiently or damage your profits.
Cyberattacks are more widespread than you think
It’s easy to brush off cyberattacks as something that won’t happen to you. But, sadly, the stats on cyberattacks paint a very different picture.
- Cybercrime costs companies an average of $11.7 million, a figure that’s quickly increasing. (Accenture)
- Developed countries with widespread Internet use have significantly higher rates of ransomware. The USA has the worst rates of ransomware attacks, with 18.2% of all attacks originating in the States. (Symantec)
- Lost or stolen records cost an average of $141 per individual. But this cost varies by country with breaches in America being the most expensive at $225 per individual. (Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study).
Protect Your Company Against Cyberattacks with a Free Dark Web Scan
You can’t fight against something you can’t see.
The first step to preventing data breaches and cybercrime is to find out if your company’s sensitive details are available on the Dark Web.
We offer a free dark web scan to help you pinpoint and address cybersecurity problems before they negatively impact your business.
Our free dark web scan can determine whether your company credentials are for sale. We use your email address, company name and website address to cross-reference multiple databases and uncover any security concerns.
Once we know how cybercriminals are using your details, we create a detailed plan to fight back and protect your company.
How We Run a Dark Web Scan
Our Dark Web scan uses an easy three-step method to determine if you’re at a possible risk of a security breach:
- Complete our free dark web scan form and provide your company name, email, and website address.
- Schedule an appointment with our CyberSecurity Director to address any security breaches that could be putting your entire business at risk. Make sure to tell us the type of business you own so we can pair you with the right cybersecurity expert.
- Get your private dark web analysis with specific recommendations on how to secure company information.