The internet, as you know it, is only surface level.
Beyond the homepage for Facebook, your email client, or your favorite clothing website, there’s a complex labyrinth of technologies, all creating your gateway to seemingly infinite amounts of information. But, whenever you have too much of a good thing, there will always be flaws and drawbacks.
For the world wide web and all its groundbreaking achievements, the Dark Web is an enigma.
What is the Dark Web?
Meet the internet boogeyman, the mystery common folk don’t understand.
The “Dark Web” refers to a part of the internet not indexed by traditional search engines, meaning you can’t just Google “Dark Web” and get in. Users can access it via specialized open-source software, such as Tor, which is configured to use specially configured hardware on the internet to access onion sites. Be careful not to confuse the Dark Web with the Deep Web, which many often do. The Deep Web also contains unindexed sites like databases and file transfer servers. These intentionally obscure private information, using password-protected webpages, encrypted banking communications and secured file servers
What is the Dark Web Used For?
The Dark Web’s key feature is its anonymity.
In 2011, Ross Ulbricht created and hosted The Silk Road, an online black market for illegal drugs, through the Dark Web. It only accepted non-traceable forms of payment, such as cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, to maintain anonymity. Eventually, the FBI shut down the Silk Road in 2013. Although buying illegal substances via the black market is common now, at the time, the Silk Road marketplace played a major role in getting the Dark Web and its negative reputation on the map.
Although the Dark Web is undeniably a hotbed of dangerous criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, identity theft, and hacking, not everyone there has ill intentions. For people such as dissidents, whistleblowers, organizers, journalists, and activists, the Dark Web is a life-saving tool for staying hidden and speaking freely. Or, if you really hate ads, the Dark Web has ad-free sites for finding onion sites you want to visit.
Why Should Businesses Be Aware of the Dark Web?
Selling Your Data (Yes, all of it)
Credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials, you name it. Criminals who successfully breach a business or an individual’s sensitive information are highly likely to sell it on the Dark Web, where it can’t be traditionally detected. Data about you is your most precious asset, and buyers know it—that’s why it sells so quickly on the black market. If your business or personal data is compromised by an unknown, unseen, anonymous layer of criminal activity, you’re guaranteed legal, social, and financial devastation.
Impersonation and Fraud
Cybercriminals like to sell your data but they have also been known to use your breached business data to create fake accounts and impersonate you. This damages not only your overall safety, but your reputation—your customers will be wary to speak with you if they can’t tell who you are.
Malware and Ransomware
For widespread, organized attacks on businesses, the Dark Web is the perfect place to go. Many hackers will collaborate on the creation, testing, and implementation of dangerous malware and ransomware. These are the types of attacks that cause data breaches by infecting your business’s systems, barring you from your own data and/or stealing your data with a warning that they will sell it if you don’t pay them a “ransom.”
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How to Protect Your Business from the Dark Web
Implement Strong Cybersecurity Measures
Education and good practices are one of your strongest tools against data breaches. Practice good cyber hygiene, create strong passwords, report suspicious activity, be careful how you talk with outsiders and openly talk about cybersafety—your goal as a business is to normalize and demystify cybersecurity. On the more technical side of things, you’ll need to encrypt sensitive data, keep and regularly test data backups, manage patches for all business technology, and more.
If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry—an MSP (like us) goes a long way in keeping your business safe and sound with no sweat on your end.
Monitor the Dark Web
If your data is currently floating around on the Dark Web, you have no way of knowing… on your own, that is.
At Centriworks, we’re proud to offer Dark Web Scans and cybersecurity services to businesses in every industry. Using a specialized team of experts, we’ll cross-check the Dark Web for compromised usernames and passwords. If we find anything, don’t worry — we’ll advise you on your next steps to safeguard your business from any further harm.
Is the Dark Web still on your mind?
Let’s talk more about what we can do to help minimize the potential dangers of cybercrime.
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