What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web is often home to lots of data that has been gleaned from data breaches; usernames, passwords & PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Users of the Dark Web will be privy to information that could be critical to your business’ survival. This could leave you at risk of extortion or worse.
The Dark Web is an entity that not many everyday users are aware of. This is one of the remaining mysteries in the IT world. You could think of it as its own special Internet, separate from the Google, Facebook and Amazon staples we’re all familiar with. This part of the web is only accessible by special software that allows Cybercriminals to stay anonymous. These Cybercriminals can also operate in an untraceable environment. This is where illegal online activity takes place, including the illegal trade of data. Which could be yours.
Using your Data
These Cybercriminals can use your details in a number of ways via this part of the web. The most common use of stolen credentials is to use them to log into products and services to glean even more data from you. This could be financial information, PII, passwords or otherwise. The initial details these Cybercriminals gain can be from the Dark Web. Once they have gleaned more from you, they will go back to the Dark Web and sell the new data. Secondly, they could use the credentials they have obtained as bait and demand a ransom. This could be ransom in return for the deletion or return of your compromised accounts.
It is not all doom and gloom when it comes to your credentials as there are easy ways to prevent them from being stolen in the first place! Be wary of weak passwords, lack of authentication and lax security measures. User education is just the first step in your journey towards being secure and resilient. You will never be 100% free from cyberattacks. However, by mitigating the risk as much as possible, you reduce the chances of your data floating around in the depths of the Dark Web. Think of it like the part of the ocean that is undiscovered by many – this is the Dark Web. Those classic nature documentaries that show a dark abyss with scary looking fish swimming about. This is a great metaphor for the Dark Web.
The reason that the Dark Web can sometimes be a force to be reckoned with is the unknown uncertainty that it brings. If your data is lost to the Dark Web, you will not really know who has access to your data. Unless you are an expert in traversing it. In the case of usernames and passwords that is a bad thing! It goes a long way to protecting yourself. Do this by taking advantage of robust passwords and additional authentication methods. This will boost your defences.
In addition, try not to recycle or reuse passwords if possible. This makes it more difficult to gain access to multiple services. Just think, if you have the same password for a banking app that you do for a trivial service you may have used once. If somebody finds out the password for that “forgotten” service and tries to use it on everything else registered to your username or email address. Things probably won’t turn out that great.
Unfortunately, many users on the Dark Web use it for malicious means. Therefore, it’s imperative that you understand that you don’t want your credentials in the hands of cybercriminals. From a business aspect, you leave yourself vulnerable to all manner of mishaps if you take for granted cyber security. Therefore, the risk that the Dark Web can impose upon your livelihood.
What can you do
There are ways to see what data may have been compromised. BCS have a tool that runs scans on the Dark web to see if any of your accounts have been compromised. This tool produces a report that outlines the date the details were found on the dark web, what user and password has been compromised, the origin and type of breach, the source as to where this data now is and finally, if there is any PII. From here, we can then ensure that passwords for any compromised accounts are changed and equally, when reviewing the historical data breaches, we are able to see which users are at much higher risk of fraudulent activity via email. Additionally, from here we can set up a monitoring tool to raise a ticket for us to resolve if there is any further activity on your company domain.
If you want some further advice on how to combat cybercriminals, you can contact us on 01843 572 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.