The dark web is the new Wild West and, much like pioneers who pushed the boundaries along the American frontier, settlers of the dark web object to limitations and obstacles upon their freedom. The road must be open.
Even though the dark web has been around for a while, it has recently piqued the attention of mainstream web users and businesses alike. “This is driven by a few things,” explains Tyler Logtenberg, Senior Product Manager at Media Sonar. “Modern television depicts the dark web as ‘mysterious’. And hacker groups like ‘Anonymous’ have become a ‘hip’ part of youth culture. Also, some high-profile breaches, threats, and investigations have originated on the dark web.”
“Modern television depicts the dark web as ‘mysterious’. And hacker groups like ‘Anonymous’ have become a ‘hip’ part of youth culture. Also, some high-profile breaches, threats, and investigations have originated on the dark web.”
There is no map to find your way through the shadowy frontier of the dark web. There are few rules, other than every man and woman for themselves. There are untold dangers hiding around every corner. To safely access the dark web, businesses need to work with investigators or tech companies that specialize in monitoring content across the dark web.
What Risks May Come
In 2018, cybercriminals realized businesses are better targets than individuals. Corporations have always been likely targets of crime. Criminals go where the money is, after all. The dark web serves as an enabler for criminals, and often traces are left behind to help identify threats and mitigate far-reaching fallout. Security teams across all industries need to take into consideration the dark web as part of their risk detection strategy.
These are just some of the many risks that businesses can uncover on the dark web:
Physical attacks: Visibility into the dark web can help to alert the corporation of a physical attack before it even occurs. Once the organization is aware of the upcoming attack, they are able to contact law enforcement and beef up security on the given day and time of the planned physical attack. Insight into dark web activity enables businesses to minimize and mitigate disruptions to their operations.
Stolen credentials: In cases of large breaches where personally identifiable information (PII) is shared on the dark web, visibility allows security teams to work with employees to reset passwords and scan for unauthorized access. This type of unauthorized access is seldom innocuous, especially when considering the damage that could result if malicious access to power plants or banking systems. This could result in needing to pay a ransom to regain control, or worse, physical damage to property or people.
Leaked intellectual property: Leaked intellectual property, whether resulting from a breach or insider threat, can expose business vulnerabilities to malicious persons. Think of the example where a software developer, with the best intentions, shares software code to elicit help from peers. Without meaning to, they may be exposing code vulnerabilities that result in damage to the company and the brand. It is important to ensure that all employees receive proper awareness education. It is equally crucial that businesses have visibility into the dark web to identify these risks to their bottom line.
Counterfeit products: Selling counterfeit products on the dark web is very common. Selling fake Prada bags might be bad for the business, but consider examples where counterfeit pharmaceuticals are sold on the dark web. If criminals are endangering people with counterfeit drugs, it is important to identify when this happens in order to protect the safety of buyers as well as protecting the brand itself.
Breach exposure: Last year was a big year for breaches to business systems. Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, Facebook, Google, and British Airways were just some of the companies that suffered breaches revealing millions of records from their databases. While the business is not the direct target of these breaches, organizations are exposed to regulatory and brand reputation risks when this occurs. Insight and visibility into the dark web can help to alert organizations of these breaches and allow them to take steps to educate their customers and understand their own vulnerabilities to reduce additional breaches in the future. In some cases, it is even possible to trace this activity back to specific users, and hopefully work toward identifying the culprits.
Hacking tools and tutorials: One of the reasons hackers are so effective in disrupting business operations is the community they have established behind the scenes in the shadowy corners of the dark web. It would be far easier if they were not organized if they were not talking to each other. With visibility into the dark web, businesses might be alerted of hacker tools that could make them vulnerable. In fact, in some cases, hackers might be providing instructions or tutorials designed to teach the community “how to hack XX company.” By keeping on top of this, businesses can mitigate future hacks that could be generated from those vulnerabilities.
How Can Businesses Stay Safe from Dark Web Threats?
Security teams need to consider vulnerabilities from all angles. Visibility across the entire internet, across all channels, security teams are able to take action immediately to reduce costs and damage from malicious activity originating from the dark web.
Digital risk identification software providers, such as Media Sonar, enables companies to monitor and investigate threats on the dark web to stay ahead of potential threats before they become crises.
“These [emerging technologies] can reduce costs by automating manual tasks such as developing risk reports or reviewing transactions,” according to Edward Hida, a partner with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory at Deloitte US. “They can also automatically scan a wide variety of data in the internal and external environments to identify and respond to new risks, emerging threats, and bad actors.”
Today’s CSOs and CISOs need to be aware of the risks on the dark web in order to protect brands, buildings, and bodies. Intelligence is necessary where what you do not know can hurt you.
The Media Sonar platform is used by corporations and law enforcement to get safe access to the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web in order to quickly respond to new threats as they appear. By being proactive, organizations can leverage the Media Sonar platform to anticipate and prepare for attacks before they even occur.
Book a demo to find out how Media Sonar helps you detect and investigate risks in less time.