The dark web is probably the most misunderstood aspect of the web. The average internet user views the dark web as the domain of cybercriminals, where crime is the norm. It is seen by some as the place where sensitive personal and business information are traded illegally without consequences.
While some of the assumptions above are not entirely false, the dark web is a lot more than this. While there are several cybercriminals lurking around the dark web, it is not exclusively for them. In fact, many big businesses, including Facebook and New York Times, call the dark web home. Many law enforcement agents, investigative journalists, whistleblowers, and others in similar lines of duty frequent the dark web too.
While the dark web is not synonymous with cybercrime, it is a breeding ground for most cybercriminals. Most big businesses understand this and take significant steps to protect themselves from the activities of cybercriminals on the dark web. Monitoring the dark web is also critical for small and medium businesses, as a critical step to counter cybersecurity breaches before they escalate.
Is your business yet to implement any dark web monitoring strategy? Are you still not sure of what the dark web is all about? We will discuss this aspect of cybersecurity in detail and point you in the right direction on how to protect your business further.
What is the Dark Web?
To explain the dark web in a manner that most people will understand, we will use a popular analogy: in this analogy, the internet will be treated as an iceberg.
Looking at the internet as a floating iceberg, the part above the water is the ‘surface web.’ This is the part you can reach easily with regular search engines like Google and Bing. It hosts the regular webpages webmasters want visitors to access easily.
The part of the floating iceberg under the water is referred to as the ‘deep web.’ This is the part you can’t access with search engines. It is the part of the internet that is personalized for the user, the part where registered users can log in to their accounts through usernames and passwords. Good examples of deep web include the part where individuals sign in to their bank account online; the part people chat with their connected friends through social media and messaging platforms, and other such places where the content is beyond the paywall. Ideally, the deep web is home to much more database than the surface web.
Coming to the ‘dark web,’ it is only a part small chunk of the vast deep web. It is the part of the deep web that is only accessible with specific browser software. The regular software used by the average internet user like Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome cannot access this aspect of the web. You will need specialized browsers like Tor and I2P to access this portion of the web.
Besides the fact that the dark web cannot be accessed through a regular browser, it is a web of anonymity. It is a highly restrictive area where users’ identities and locations are protected by strong and reliable encryption technology. Typically, the dark web routes data through many servers across the globe in a manner that makes it almost impossible to track down users.
Activities in the Dark Web
Just like in surface web, there are several activities going on in the dark web. There are legitimate news sites, discussion groups, and resourceful publications there. At the same time, there are several illegal activities, just like on the surface web. There are cybercriminals involved in illegal drugs, child pornography, buying and selling of compromised personal and business information, and several other despicable activities. There are several illegal marketplaces where users trade in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies to avoid being traced.
The major reason for the illegalities in the dark web is not far-fetched. The anonymity offered by the encryption technologies makes it an attractive ground for cybercriminals whose major concerns are to evade law enforcement agencies and collaborate with fellow criminals.
Why Small and Medium Businesses Should Be Concerned About the Dark Web
Ideally, most business owners and managers will not want anything to do with the dark web. Most employees are often not interested either. However, that does not mean that business information cannot get to the dark web.
In fact, most compromised business information are traded on the dark web. It is critical that businesses remain vigilant about the dark web and the possibility of their sensitive data getting into the wrong hands. A dark web scan can always reveal if business information has been used fraudulently on the dark web. Monitoring the dark web, therefore, is essential for all businesses.
Why is Dark Web Monitoring Essential?
Primarily, the fact that cybercriminals mostly target small and medium businesses is a good reason to take dark web monitoring seriously. No matter how careful your company is, and no matter how much you have invested in IT security, the chances of a breach can never be completely eliminated. A major breach can happen to any small and medium business enterprise at any time. It may be on the side of the business or its customer. By monitoring the dark web, such breaches can be identified in time, and the appropriate measure will be taken to curtail the effects.
Dark web monitoring is critical for any small or medium-size business that wants to keep its IT security game at the required level. Knowing that data breach can happen at any time, a company that wants to avoid the far-reaching consequences associated with stolen credentials must embrace dark web monitoring. Besides business loss, some of the severe implications of a data breach include virtual theft, heavy non-compliance fines, and damaged reputation.
Without dark web monitoring, so many things can go wrong in a business organization. A serious data breach will mostly lead to business losses. Ultimately, this may get to the customers. When a data breach that results from the actions or inactions of a small or medium-sized business affects the customers, the consequences will linger. Depending on the nature of the breach, few customers may decide to remain loyal. In most instances, customers dissociate with businesses when they suffer losses as a result of IT security failures on the side of the company. This can mark the beginning of the fall of such a business.
Comprehensive cybersecurity comes in layers. In addition to implementing serious IT security strategies, a small or medium-sized business must be willing to monitor the dark web. This is not really something that should be handled by an in-house IT security team. It is always better to work with a reputable partner that can scan even the darkest corners of the web to ensure that the company’s credentials have not been compromised.
The benefits of dark web monitoring extend to Managed Service Providers (MSP). When an MSP includes dark web monitoring in its services, the customers recognize the company as a full-service provider and not just an IT break-fix solution. When the customers realize that your business can also keep their business information and credentials secured, they will attach more value to your services. This will improve trust and customer loyalty.
Again, offering dark web monitoring service can be the magic you need to beat the competition. It will set any MSP apart from the crowd when it is added in an initial sales pitch. Most business owners understand the severe consequences of data breach and will welcome any additional service that will boost IT security, including dark web scan and comprehensive monitoring. The offering has the potentials to improve the revenue of your MSP business.
How to Implement Dark Web Monitoring
As hinted earlier, dark web monitoring is not something that should leave in the hands of an in-house IT security team. It is expected that they work with a reliable and reputable partner that will help them reach the darkest parts of the web to ensure that their credentials are secured. This is where KMT comes in.
How KMT Can Help
KMT is one of the most reputable Managed Service Providers. The company offers a range of IT services, including dark web monitoring. KMT can help your organization in many ways, including:
- Protection against data breach
- Efficient dark web monitoring for stolen business credentials
- Safeguarding personal and corporate credentials of highly-targeted executives and privileged individuals
- Extension of cybersecurity to the supply chain
- Efficient notification system once an illicit activity is detected on the dark web
- Additional alarm about infected machines and IT infrastructure to forestall future breach
- Protection against bad password hygiene
- Improved understanding of a company’s security posture.
The dark web is often misunderstood by most internet users. It is a restrictive area of the internet frequented by sophisticated web users who need to protect their identities and locations. The anonymity of the dark web also makes it a conducive tech space for illegal activities. Dark web monitoring is, therefore, a critical aspect of IT security for all businesses that understand that data breach can be devastating. By monitoring the dark web for clients, reputable Managed Service Providers like KMT will detect data breaches faster and react appropriately to help safeguard the business better. This is an aspect of IT security that every small and medium business must take more seriously.