Last time around we talked about the Internet’s “dark web,” which in short cannot be accessed on a standard web browser but instead requires a special network to keep all activity completely untraceable and anonymous. Sounds pretty nefarious? That’s because it can be and although research conducted via the dark web by journalists, law enforcement officers, activists and others can be used for the good, there are a lot of cybercriminals out there who make use of the dark web for illegal purposes.

So, is the dark web a threat to your business? In a word “yes.” The dark web has the potential to create havoc on any business.

In fact, a cybercriminal can purchase any number of password-cracking programs and buy or even rent what are known as exploit kits containing attack tools. Cybercrime in the dark web is thriving because the activity is untraceable and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. Also, people can be hired through third parties to conduct attacks, adding yet another layer of anonymity.

These cybercriminals take the term crafty to new heights. Their commerce sites have the same features as any e-retail operation, including ratings, testimonials and shopping carts. But they are set up by scammers who constantly move around to avoid being found out by their victims. Even commerce sites that have been in existence for more than a year can suddenly disappear if the cybercriminal owner decides to cash in and abscond with escrow money they’re holding for customers.

That money, by the way, is usually in bitcoin, a crypto-currency that allows two parties to conduct a trusted transaction without knowing each other’s identity. Most e-commerce providers offer some kind of escrow service that keeps customers’ funds on hold until the desired product is delivered. But the sole purpose of setting up a fake e-commerce site is to take the money and run.

The fact of the matter is that regardless of size or sector, if a business is connected to the Internet, it is vulnerable to an attack. Common business breaches that can take place via the dark web include:

  • Customer data
  • Health records
  • Employee information
  • Gift cards
  • Insider trading information
  • Proprietary product information
  • Intellectual property
  • Refunds
  • Support services, like tutorials
  • Financial data
  • Credentials

The ramifications to a business attacked via the dark web can be devastating. It can devalue your business by undermining brand trust. It can cause reputational damage. It can cause you to lose ground to a competitor. It can disrupt your business operation. It can defraud your organization via IP theft. The money and time to repair the damage done could prove costly.

It’s not possible to protect confidential information 100% of the time, but with regular risk assessments and real-time monitoring, your business will stand a better chance against cybercriminals.

Dark web scans and monitoring services can alert a business through the use of real-time threat intelligence and immediately alert you to suspicious activity. Monitoring also protects against a further breach with early detection of compromised information.

Next time we’ll take a deeper dive into measures you can take to protect your business against an invasion via the dark web.