Cybersecurity and its associated issues are big concerns for businesses these days. Whether it’s breaches of customer data or stolen intellectual property, there are a lot of potential problems that can arise. So where does the dark web come into it, and what can be done to reduce the risks?
What is the dark web?
Broadly speaking, the internet can be divided into three parts: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. The surface web is the part of the internet that is visible to everyone and indexed on search engines, like your business’s home page. The deep web is made up of pages that are behind some sort of barrier (e.g., a password) and, as such, are not publicly accessible, for example, your email account, online banking, or a business’s intranet pages. Lastly, the dark web is comprised of anonymously hosted websites that cannot be accessed without special software or authorization.
In itself, the dark web is not a bad concept, and many people value it for the online privacy it offers. For instance, it’s often used by journalists and whistleblowers to collect and share information safely. However, this anonymity can also be exploited to buy and sell illegal goods such as drugs and weapons – as well as stolen data and hacking software.
Dark web monitoring
So, where does dark web monitoring come into the picture? This is a service that scans sites on the dark web for specific keywords or personal data. It can be used to identify potential threats, new hacking tools and techniques, plus potential vulnerabilities. It can also identify early on when certain data has been stolen. On a personal level, this could mean scanning for information such as your credit card number, social security number, or address.
Thinking about Dark web monitoring for your business can be extremely helpful for your risk management strategy. You’ll be able to keep up to date on potential new types of cyberattacks and identify early on if your company is a target. This then enables you to take action to prevent a breach. Similarly, you can discover as soon as possible if there has already been a breach in your data, which allows you to get working on remedying the problem almost immediately.
Although it’s impossible to scan the entirety of the dark web, a good monitoring service can keep an eye on known illicit marketplaces and forums. It can then store whatever data it finds as evidence and prompt you when action needs to be taken. As time is often of the essence in these situations, such real-time monitoring is vital.
Other steps to take
In addition to signing up to a top dark web monitoring service, there are other actions you can take to protect your business from cyberattacks. These include:
- Encrypting your data
- Using strong and secure passwords
- Educating your staff on cybersecurity issues and protocols
- Keeping all of your software and web browsers up to date
- Restricting internal access to certain websites to reduce possible exposure to malware
- Restricting the use of portable physical storage devices such as USB drives for sensitive data
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