You might have heard of the Dark Web from hacker films or tech thriller TV series and maybe dismissed it as something for cybercriminals and international arms dealers. But the Dark Web is very real and something that IT departments and managed IT services providers need to be actively aware of.
Dark Web monitoring is still relatively uncommon, even for tech-savvy organizations. Most businesses don’t have a full understanding of how the Dark Web can impact them, even if they know what it is about.
Cybersecurity is a huge part of VC3’s offer to our clients, so we wanted to take a moment to explain what the Dark Web is, why it is important, and how we can help protect our clients from its negative impact.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is part of the internet that isn’t visible to normal search engines or web browsers. The only way to access the Dark Web is via a browser called Tor which anonymizes your IP address.
Due to its anonymous and encrypted nature, the Dark Web is hard to access and hard to navigate. It is also predominantly used for illicit activity and is full of websites selling drugs, guns, counterfeit money, and credit card numbers. Most importantly for organizations, the Dark Web is full of stolen credentials, hacked accounts, and software that lets you break into other people’s computers.
Can you access the Dark Web safely?
Of course, the Dark Web is not all shady businesses and bad actors. There are legitimate businesses, social groups, and even a ‘dark’ version of Facebook on there as well. It is possible to access the Dark Web and use it solely for legal purposes, but it pays to take care. Using the Tor browser is the only way to get on, but it is essential to ensure that it and your operating system are fully updated to avoid vulnerabilities.
Don’t use your regular email address, and ensure you have endpoint detection and response (EDR) implemented. You should also be extremely careful not to accidentally click on, access, or take part in illegal activity.
Plenty of people use the Dark Web to communicate more securely or read news that they feel might be censored, but one wrong turn can lead to something darker very quickly, and ignorance or a misplaced keystroke is not a legitimate defence when it comes to the judicial process.
How does the Dark Web impact businesses?
The main impact the Dark Web has on businesses is in the area of cybersecurity, in particular when it comes to stolen credentials, hacked accounts, ransomware, and data breaches. Cyberattacks are more common than ever before, and there is no indication that this is a trend that will stop growing.
The vast majority of bad actors will interact with the Dark Web before, during, or after targeting your company. Whether to discover vulnerabilities, obtain hacking software, or sell stolen data, the Dark Web is a key part of most cybercrime.
An average day on the Dark Web will see hundreds of thousands of logins, social security numbers, dates of birth, and financial information for sale. The identity theft that can arise from the sale of this information adds another potential level of insecurity for your business, increasing the likelihood and potential success of social engineering campaigns and ransomware attacks.
What can MSPs do to protect their clients?
So how can your MSP keep you and your data off the Dark Web?
Dark Web monitoring is an essential part of your cybersecurity and something that MSPs must be considering as part of their proactive arsenal against hackers and bad actors. Dark Web monitoring services can continually check for and report on any instances of relevant credential-based occurrences and take steps to mitigate them and prevent vulnerabilities.
Dark Web monitoring allows you to know when compromised data pops up, determine how the data was stolen in the first place, and take steps to deal with the breach and protect against future incursions.
As with the majority of cybersecurity solutions, proactivity is key when it comes to the Dark Web. Getting out in front of potential problems allows you to react instantly if a breach does occur and prevent attacks from happening in the first place.
To find out more about Dark Web monitoring and cybersecurity solutions, get in touch with the experts at VC3. Whether you are an existing client or looking for a new solution, we’ll be happy to discuss the ways we can help keep your business safer and more secure.