Can Dark Web Scans & Monitoring Keep Hackers In Check?
The dark web has earned a household-name reputation for criminal activity. Every day people come across posts about millions of customer identity records, drugs, and credit card numbers sold for pennies on the dollar in this criminal underworld. Those and many other troubling things happen on the dark web. But what has business leaders worried is whether your organization’s digital assets have been pilfered off and are for sale on one or more of these secretive platforms. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Did you abruptly shift to work-from-home productivity when the pandemic first hit?
- Do work-from-home employees lack virtual private networks?
- Could any of your employees be using “Password123” in their login credentials?
- Has your operation ever lagged in terms of unpatched software, antivirus software, or firewalls?
- Do employees sometimes access the network from personal devices?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, a network breach might have occurred without your knowledge. In fact, Fortune 500 companies such as Marriott International suffer extended breaches in which hackers hide their presence and steal data for years. But the biggest obstacle for industry professionals stems from not understanding the dark web or how to investigate.
What is the Dark Web?
To say the dark web remains shrouded in mystery would be something of an understatement. Cybersecurity researchers have attempted to quantify the number of illicit platforms over the years. Probes uncovered thousands of domains, but cyber criminals leave some dormant, shift operations unexpectedly, and put some of the fiercest cybersecurity defenses in place to deter prying eyes.
We know that the dark web is immersed in the legitimate “deep web” that comprises anywhere from 96 to 99 percent of the internet. The average user cannot identify deep web platforms because they are heavily protected from appearing in commonly used search engines. Cybercriminals leverage the deep web protections and enhance sites used for illegal purposes by lacing them with malicious software. Even if you could employ the specialized search tools to peruse the dark web, the consequences of counter-attacks could be dire.
What Do Cybercriminals Sell On The Dark Web?
The threat posed by dark web activities to communities and businesses is far more serious than swiping someone’s Netflix account. Law enforcement agencies such as the FBI rely on internet task forces to break up drug rings, stop human trafficking, and illegal weapons sales, among others, in this digital underworld. In terms of a clear and present danger to your business, these are commonly sold items that could cripple your organization.
- Bank Account Numbers
- Credit & Debit Card Information
- Employee Login Credentials
- Healthcare & Employee Records
- Customer Identity Data
- Intellectual Property & Trade Secrets
Circling back to the Marriott International example, hackers penetrated the organization and pilfered off upwards of 500 million customer files over a four-year period. Despite the massive investment in cybersecurity, assets found their way to the dark web. Digital thieves also offer for-hire hacking services to attack rival corporations. If one of your competitors has a reputation for going low, they could easily hire a dark web cybercriminal to disrupt your operation.
Dark Web Knowledge Gives Businesses Security
When digital burglars use phishing schemes, social engineering, or even brute-force hacking tools to infiltrate your network, they plan to steal as much data as possible. An experienced hacker can slip into a network and mine your data without triggering cybersecurity alerts. To prevent this scenario, decision-makers are tasked with hardening system defenses. This means implementing strategies such as multi-factor authentication, zero-trust login profiles, enterprise-level antivirus software, fully patched software, and cybersecurity awareness training for employees, among others.
Given that major corporations can be unwittingly breached, the only way to know if your digital assets are for sale is to have a dark web scan conducted. A dark web scan carried out by a cybersecurity specialist penetrates illicit platforms and identifies the telltale signs your assets are posted. With this knowledge in hand, you can take proactive measures to shut down hackers. Going forward, dark web monitoring delivers valuable intelligence that your organization faces an imminent attack. It can provide advanced warning, and unethical competitor plans to hire a hacker to disrupt your operation.
If your cybersecurity has lagged at any time in recent years or you are concerned about the ramification of dark web activity, contact K2 Technologies and schedule a complimentary consultation today.