Dark Web – How It Affects Businesses

We’ve all heard of cyber-attacks, data breaches, and reasons why we should be protecting our businesses with effective cyber security, but what happens to business data once it’s in the hands of cyber criminals?

What is it?

The Dark Web is not the same thing as the Internet. It uses the same infrastructure as the deep Web, but it’s only searchable with the Tor browser. Tor is short for The Onion Browser. The US government is a significant contributor to the Tor Project, which created the browser. The Dark Web is commonly and positively used by human rights advocates, political dissents, journalists, and whistleblowers. But, on the other hand, it’s a marketplace for criminal activity because of the anonymity created by layers of encryption.

Threats Against Business

The Dark Web itself is not a threat to businesses. Instead, it’s the criminals and information on the dark Web that’s a threat to businesses. Business data, including product information, customer information, employee information, and financial information, are profitable for criminals on the Dark Web.

A private cyber security company conducted its own research and found that 35% of enterprise employee data is on the Dark Web. This information is sold to people willing to pay the price and used for identity theft, data breaches, and more.

Due to company data breaches, identity theft can lead to lawsuits, loss of consumer trust, decrease in brand reputation, and significant revenue loss.

All too often, it’s difficult for companies to know when their systems are breached. According to an IBM Security report, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020, the average time to identify and minimize a data breach is 280 days. Think of the damage that can happen in that amount of time because of the stolen information.

In 2015, Bitglass security researchers tracked fake data they used as bait. They tagged the counterfeit credentials, so it would “ping” the Bitglass portal whenever the file was opened. Within only a few days, the information had been downloaded in more than five countries, three continents, and viewed over 200 times. Within 12 days, the file had been distributed to 22 countries on five continents and opened 1080 times.

That was six years ago. With today’s even more sophisticated cyber crime enterprises, imagine how much more that Bitglass data would have been breached.

Look at the Bitdefender Cyberthreat Real-Time Map to understand just how many and how often cyber-attacks occur.

Protecting Your Business Information

Once an organization has been hacked, the information is out there, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Using a Managed Service Provider to monitor the Dark Web for information is the best way to learn about a breach and lessen the damage. Having that knowledge buys time to put measures in place, secure bank accounts, address any reputation hits, and notify clients or customers.

A Managed Service Provider will have full audit trails of all activity through your network and devices that connect to it.

Additional ways to protect your information from cyber criminals is to:

  1. Educate your employees to the possible outlets for threats.
  2. Set up two-factor authentication.
  3. Enable password management software
  4. Partner with your managed services provider to create an effective cyber security plan

Visual Edge specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote offices. The company has more than 20-years of technology service with a national network of expert engineers. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.