What Is The Dark Web?
Are your company’s data and network secure? Solidly secure? Or, are you worried you may have been hacked, putting sensitive data at risk? You may be wondering about the latter if you’re looking up information on the dark web and how it may impact your business. Because, indeed, if you were hacked, that information is likely on the dark web and it can deeply and detrimentally impact your business.
An ongoing study series most recently released in 2019, Into the Web of Profit by Dr. Michael McGuire, explored the Dark Web and shed light on just how serious and dangerous it is to businesses throughout the nation and the world. From bespoke malware to hacking services targeted at FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies, the Dark Web has gone deeper underground to thwart law enforcement as much as to share new and advanced ideas with fellow hackers on how to best to hack businesses.
So, if you are thinking that your data and network system aren’t secure enough, or––alternatively––think it is secure enough: (1) you need to get it secure immediately; and (2) you should know that secure enough won’t cut it ever again. Having a comprehensive security plan that evolves with the changes and advancements in security is key to protecting your data, your identity, your company, your company’s brand, your clients, your customers, among other things. Read more to learn about the Dark Web and how to protect yourself.
What is the Dark Web as opposed to the Plain Ole’ Internet?
The internet isn’t plain at all, and it’s made up of three parts:
- The surface web, also known as the clear web, which makes up the websites and webpages of the Internet that are indexed by search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia, etc.);
- The deep web, which consists of pages that you can find and access by using login information (e.g., your bank account or medical records); and
- The dark web, also referred to as the DarkNet, which is the part of the Internet not indexed by search engines and which cannot be accessed unless done anonymously by using special anonymizing software.
Due to its anonymity, the dark web has been used for good in some respects. Importantly, people who live in countries where access to the internet is restricted can communicate more openly on the dark web. Mostly, however, it has been infiltrated by criminals. They deal in drugs, illicit firearms, and child pornography. They also, however, deal in things like malware, stolen data, and stolen identities.
So, in that respect, the dark web is a source of serious concern for businesses.
What Do We Know About the Dark Web’s Impact on Businesses?
If statistics matter to you, then your business needs to up its game. Below are facts providing an overview of what we know about cybercrime generally and the dark web specifically and its impact on or threats to businesses.
Hackers Attack Businesses
- According to Security magazine, there is a hacker attack approximately every 39 seconds.
- Stale user accounts, like those that are unused or with outdated permissions, are easy targets for hackers to exploit, and according to Varonis, 65% of all companies have more than 1,000 stale user accounts.
- Hacker groups are making millions by selling millions of business data on the dark web––for example:
- ShinyHunters breached ten companies in the Spring and sold more than 73 million user records on the dark web; and
- More than 600,000 users of Email.it have their data placed and sold on the dark web.
- At the start of 2020, more than 30 million stolen credit cards were sold to cybercriminals on the dark web after a gas station and convenience store chain were breached.
- Hackers are constantly scouring the dark web for the next best way to hack.
The Consequences of Stolen Data on the Dark Web are Costly
- Cybercrime on the dark web is incredibly profitable––according to Cybersecurity Ventures, it’s more profitable than even the global illicit drug trade.
- According to RSA, a consumer account could go for as little as $1.00 on the dark web––this means just about anyone can purchase at least one stolen account; it also means that the hacker needs to obtain a significant amount of your data to reap the benefits, which could be good or bad for you.
- SecurityIntelligence’s 2019 report on the Cost of a Data Breach Report found that the “global average cost of a data breach … is $3.92 million, a 1.5 percent increase from its 2018 study.
- According to SeurityIntelligence’s reporting, the average total cost of a data breach for a U.S. business is $3.86 million.
- Also, according the SecurityIntelligence’s reporting, it takes on average 280 days before a company identifies and contains a breach.
- What’s probably most troubling is this: according to Fortune, 66% of businesses experiencing a hack lacked the confidence that the company would recover from it.
The Dark Web is Creating the Need for More Cybersecurity Experts
Because the demand is high, the need for cybersecurity experts is high––in 2019 alone, there were more than 715,000 cybersecurity experts as reported by Cyberseek. Meanwhile, Cybersecurityventures estimates that will be more than 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs come 2021.
What Can You Do About the Dark Web’s Threats to Your Business
Many of us have taken for granted network solutions and cybersecurity. Further, many businesses have limited resources to address cybersecurity comprehensively and on an ongoing basis. But this needs to change. Priority must be given to a comprehensive security system that can aptly and proactively protect your business’s data.
So, what can you do about the dark web’s threats to your business? Things like changing passwords regularly, training employees, choosing the right ISP, monitoring spyware, encrypting client and customer data, among other things are necessary. But it all must be included in a customized plan that is always reviewed, updated, and addressed the new concerns of the day.
Remember: hackers are constantly changing and advancing their methods, so your business needs to do the same to stay on top of it. If you don’t have your own team to address these issues specifically, then you may want to consider outsourcing it to a professional group. With 2021 upon us soon and the economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the time is now to ensure the safety and integrity of your data.