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Shedding Light on the Dark Web

By September 5, 2017 9 Comments

Okay, I get it, the Dark Web has a very ominous name. Good for a click-bait title. However, what I am referencing is the risk that the Dark Web poses to your business. You may have heard of the mysterious Dark Web and the surrounding controversy of crypto currencies used to buy and sell illegal goods and services. While the Dark Web isn't all bad, today I want to discuss how it affects your business.

What Is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is a collection of sites that are unable to be accessed with normal methods like Google or Bing. The Dark Web is different from the Deep Web (another confusing term). The Deep Web is just a collection of sites that aren't listed on search engines and require a direct URL or link to access them. These include private Facebook pages or corporate webpages for employees. The Dark Web, however, is publicly accessible but requires special software or operating systems. This software encrypts and routes one's network traffic over the Dark Web. The most popular software for this is the Onion browser or Tor. Tor was created by the US Navy to help protect the transfer of sensitive information. The Dark Web hosts a number good and very bad sites.  Much of the bad ranges from illicit substances, hackers for hire, and marketplaces that sell personal identifiable information. Government officials try to take down these marketplaces and have had some success recently. However, the presence of the underground market poses a direct risk to safety online.

Okay, But How does this affect me?

The thought that the dark corner of the Internet doesn't affect one's business is dangerous. The size of the business doesn't exempt it from the security risk that the Dark Web poses to the business and its customers. For example, the recent WannaCry attack the affected over 220,000 computers. WannaCry is the type of malware that is sold and repackaged for other hackers to use on Dark Web marketplaces. Not only hackers, but common criminals are able to use the Dark Web to purchase turnkey type malware, which lowers the barriers to entry for cyber crime. The Dark Web is also a place where a business's customers' personal information is bought and sold. A security breach leaking customer data has long lasting implications for a business. Some small businesses may not ever recover from the direct and indirect damage caused by a breach.

What can I do?

Staying aware of current cyber threats and have a well-informed employee base is the best defense. When comes to cyber security policies a good IT administration is the best security. Implementing the best practices when it comes to backups, security software, and password policies help mitigate one's risk to being exposed to the bad parts of the Dark Web.

Download a copy of our security webinar if you're interested in more ways you can protect your business from online threats. If want to have IT advisor evaluate your cyber security strategy, feel free to contact our main office.


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