What is the Dark Web and Why is it Harmful for Businesses?

October 30, 2019

Most businesses rely on the internet for their daily operations. However, the so-called “visible internet” found using search engines is just the tip of the iceberg. You may be surprised to find out that, below the surface, there exists a hidden network that cannot be accessed or found on run-of-the-mill browsers and search engines. This network is known as the Dark Web.

Defining the Dark Web

Technically, the Dark Web is an umbrella term referring to a part of the internet that needs special software to access, or any website that is not indexed by Google. Even if it can't be accessed through standard search engines like Yahoo or Google, it takes up a massive portion of the internet.

To enter the Dark Web, you’ll need a software called “Tor,” which enables users to hide their identity. As you can likely tell, this means online activity on the Dark Web is shrouded behind several layers of encryption.

Because of its anonymity, the Dark Web is a hotbed of cyber crime. Many hackers use it to conduct criminal activity online without being caught. It’s a place where you can find sites selling illegal consumer data and other blackmarket items (i.e. weapons, mail-order drugs, etc.). Additionally, it serves as the platform where some human trafficking and organized crime groups congregate.

Why it’s Dangerous for Your Business

Any business with an online presence should prioritize computer security. If you believe the Dark Web cannot have an impact on your business, think again. Remember: it’s used mostly by cybercriminals who want to steal your private data and they can cripple any kind of business with just a few clicks.

As it is, most stolen business data ends up posted on the Dark Web, catering to criminals who buy and sell this data to conduct more criminal activities. This may lead to the publishing of business secrets, customer and employee identity theft, publishing of trade secrets, and sensitive corporate information leaks.

Protecting Yourself from Cybercriminals

A cyberattack on your enterprise is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when.” You won’t have much control once you get targeted. However, what’s in your control is how you prepare for the worst-case scenario and how to respond to it.

One thing you can do is create backups and implement a disaster recovery plan in case of a ransomware attack. Teach employees about the company’s security protocol so they can avoid all sorts of phishing, social engineering, and email blunders.

It also helps to encourage everyone to use strong passwords and dual-factor authentication. Passwords should be changed regularly to prevent security and data breaches in your system.  

Related Content: What is the Dark Web and Why is it Harmful for Businesses?

Once your data ends up on the Dark Web, there’s not much you can do about it, really. When it comes to data security, the best solution is always prevention. A few ways you can ensure this include educating your employees about security protocols, limiting access to sensitive data, and implementing a comprehensive security plan.

It’s also a good idea to take advantage of a dark web monitoring service or tools to keep your business safe from cybercriminals. Remember: be vigilant, informed, and protect your business against the dark web.

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