What Threats Does the Dark Web Pose to Businesses?
Today’s digital world has enabled numerous online business transactions and communications.
Businesses can now close deals in real-time and share essential information with a click of a button. This progress, however, comes with the risk of numerous hidden threats. One such threat is the dark web.
Hackers are often on the hunt for private business information, which they can sell to the dark web’s highest bidder. Information like account logins and employees’ social security numbers can cripple your business’ finances if they end up in the wrong hands. Besides the financial implications of this threat, your company’s reputation may also be on the line if hackers gain access to your information.
While you may have heard about the dark web, do you understand what it is? Do you know how you can steer clear from such attacks? Read on to learn more about how hackers can gain access and distribute valuable information on the dark web. Explore how rogue cybercriminals organize targeted attacks on the dark web and how security professionals can develop systems that reduce malware infection risks.
What is the Dark Web?
Tech specialists associate the dark web with malicious and nefarious criminal activity. The dark web entails an encrypted secret internet area that requires specialized knowledge and skills to access. Traditional search engines have no access to this area. Dark web users typically remain anonymous to cover their tracks as they engage in criminal activity.
The dark web uses The Onion Router (TOR) as its software program. This software distorts a device’s IP address allowing users to surf the web anonymously. TOR bounces IP addresses to numerous locations, making it difficult for one to track dark web users’ exact location.
How Does the Dark Web Put Your Business At Risk?
Whistleblowers and journalists rely on the dark web’s anonymity and privacy for identity protection. Criminals, however, take advantage of these features to cause havoc through cybercrime.
Your tech team needs to worry about the risk that the dark web poses on important company information. Hackers often look for loopholes on every end to gain access to essential data. Your tech systems are often at risk from email services, logins, apps, and mobile smartphones. Once they gain access to your systems, hackers usually target different types of data, including:
- Passport numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Login credentials
- Client records
- Social security numbers
With this information in their hands, cybercriminals can find third parties to purchase the data. Hackers have mainly targeted the gift card and credit card market, with an increasing number of fraud cases reported. Targeting individual users helps cybercriminals find account information that they sell in dark web market places. In 2017, cybercriminals targeted Amazon and modified third-party seller accounts to direct money to their bank accounts. Such successful attacks often undermine brand value. On the other hand, with credit card information, hackers can propagate fraudulent card use from the dark web. Businesses may fail to detect fraudulent card information until they start experiencing insurmountable losses.
Dark Web Attacks on Company Employees
Besides selling company data, cybercriminals may pose as staff members and ask for sensitive information from unsuspecting co-workers. In extreme cases, they solicit for money transfers, which will hurt your company’s finances. Cybercriminals are also known to send phishing emails with links leading to fake emails. Falling prey to these phishing attacks can expose your employees to malware. With your company emails and passwords, cybercriminals may also attempt to hack into your networks to access private documents. The dark web’s privacy allows malicious parties to communicate without fear of interception. They can quickly share best practices for compromising business networks, increasing their threat threshold.
Targeted Dark Web Attacks
The dark web risks grow further, given that businesses won’t always predict when the next attack will happen. Cybercriminals can purchase targeted malware infections and hacking protocols from the dark web. Hacking as a Service (HaaS) is gaining traction in the illegal market, much to businesses’ annoyance. With this access, hackers can either choose to cause mindless system disruption or steal data. They may also extort money from users with virus and malware distribution. If your business is infected, your operations may experience considerable downtime.
How can Businesses Protect Data From the Dark Web?
The threats that the dark web poses call for various cybersecurity layers in place to secure company information. Single security solutions may not have the desired effect of keeping these attacks at bay. Cybercriminals often adapt their technologies to counter modern security solutions, meaning that your business should be proactive in setting up network security solutions. Hiring a cyber security-savvy IT company can help protect your business from the dark web. Work with your tech partners to set up healthy cyber privacy practices. With managed IT services, your business can understand likely threat scenarios that can help your security planning efforts. Your data storage systems will inform such predictions.
Managed IT professionals can help create safeguards to reduce the risk of malware and virus infection from the dark web. Hackers mainly prefer the path of least resistance. Developing secure networks makes your business a challenging target, warding off potential dark web attacks. Businesses can also monitor the dark web to receive notifications whenever their information leaks. An MSP will find dark web access and accumulate, validate, and refine it to make sense of the cybersecurity attack. You can use this information to effect damage control and take steps towards securing your enterprise against future attacks.
Drive Business Efficiency with Reliable Managed IT Services
Modern businesses should not think twice about investing in information security. The dark web is only one of the numerous threats that can harm your business significantly. Outsourcing managed IT services can help you secure your company data. With data backups and cloud security measures, an MSP reduces the risk of data loss. The IT team can assess your business’ individual needs and help you create customized security solutions. Your MSP should also perform a dark web scan to identify risk areas and suggest possible solutions.