An Introduction To Dark Web Monitoring & It’s Benefits

Criminals are getting more sophisticated and ingenious in their methods of attack which is evident in the meteoric rise in cyber attacks. An increasing number of organizations are falling prey to cyber attacks which lead to huge financial impacts and losses in intellectual property. This stolen data or information typically ends up for sale on the dark web, which is why organizations are starting to add dark web monitoring capabilities as part of their cyber security efforts. This article aims to shed light on what dark web monitoring is, it’s benefits and best practices a business should adopt to protect themselves.

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web consists of a decentralized network of internet sites that are designed to provide users with a high level of anonymity, by routing all their communications through multiple servers and the utilization of encryption methods.

To the uninitiated the web might seem like a huge place with the amount of data available via search engines like Google or Yahoo. This cannot be further from the truth, the websites available to individuals via traditional search engines only make up 4% of overall data available on the web. The remaining 96% is available on the deep web.  Our activity on the majority of the web can be actively tracked and monitored, however a subsection of the deep web called the dark web allows for anonymity. 

The web can be divided into the following three sections:

  1. Surface Web - commonly referred to as the world wide web, it can be accessed by anyone, anywhere without any restrictions. All information on the surface web is thoroughly indexed by search engines like Google and Yahoo. 
  2. Deep Web - this includes 96% of the information on the web and is not indexed by regular search engines, requiring special permissions to access it. For example your private Facebook profile or Amazon account exists on the deep web as it does not appear in any Google searches. 
  3. Dark web - a type of web that is not indexed by any search engine and is commonplace for illicit activities, makes up 1% of the Deep web.

What is Dark Web Monitoring? 

Your organization's information can end up on the dark web, data might be related to your personal information, bank details, credit card/ debit card information, health records, credentials or more. In the event it does, criminals can now access your information and can cause personal/financial damage as well as reputational damage to your organization. For example, if a criminal was to find your social security number on the dark web, it would allow them to open fraudulent accounts in your name, file fraudulent tax returns and health insurance claims, and more. Therefore dark web monitoring is a useful tool in preventing or reducing the damage of a cyber attack or data breach. 

Dark Web Monitoring keeps track of an organization’s sensitive data on the dark web and notifies them if said data is found. It helps organizations limit the damage of a data breach and take necessary action to protect itself, it’s employees, clients, and more from a potential attack. Dark web monitoring involves scans that use a combination of people power and artificial intelligence to monitor chat rooms, blogs, forums, private networks, and other sites criminals are known to frequent.

Benefits of Dark Web Monitoring 

There are a number of key benefits to implementing dark web monitoring as a part of your organization’s cybersecurity strategy, below are four main benefits: 

1. Increases the chances of identifying and reducing the impact of data breaches 

Dark web monitoring involves scans that scour the dark web for stolen customer lists or data, employee login credentials, and the business’s email domains and IP addresses. If this information is discovered to exist on the dark web it can help your organization identify an ongoing data breach or a data breach that has occurred in the past, by identifying these attacks early, an organization can mitigate damages to finances and reputation. 

2. Dark web monitoring can better prepare organizations for future threats

By scanning the dark web, organizations can learn of past breaches and what data was stolen. Information Security teams can identify which systems were compromised and how exactly vulnerabilities were manipulated by attackers. Using this information organizations can create a robust action plan on how to prevent future attacks from happening. 

3. Dark web monitoring can help organisation safeguard their employee and client data 

Dark web scans can help identify sensitive information of employees or clients that end up on the dark web, this knowledge can then be used to stop criminals from exploiting stolen information that ends up on the dark web. 

4. Help organizations reduce the time between a data breach occurring and finding out that it occurred

Without dark web monitoring, organizations can spend a long time in the unknown after a data breach occurs, 24/7 monitoring of the dark web enables organizations to promptly identify when their sensitive information falls into the hands of criminals. This in turn also helps organization reduce the overall window of opportunity a criminal has to make copies of sensitive data and sell it. 

StickmanCyber can set up processes to conduct dark web monitoring, and discover any data breaches and instances of company data being available on the dark web, and prevent it from being leveraged by cyber criminals.

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