So what is the dark web ? You’re happily browsing the internet, thinking you’ve got a pretty good understanding. You can navigate your way around Google, Facebook, Amazon, and your favourite shopping sites.
However, you’re actually only visiting four per cent of the internet. There’s a whole world hiding beyond these safe surface-level sites, known as the Dark Web and it’s a much less friendly place.
What exactly is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web , sometimes called the Dark Net, is a conglomeration of websites that cannot be found on search engines like Google or Bing. Nor can they be accessed via traditional web browsers. Encryption tools such as Tor ( acronym: The Onion Router) are used to hide the locations and identities of the websites.
Tor works on the concept of “onion routing.” Firstly, the data is encrypted then transferred through different relays in the Tor network. This creates multilayered encryptions, which is similar to the layers of an onion.
Tor was created to protect military communication channels. But now it has a much broader utilisation for both Dark Web purposes and highly secure communication. You typically have to access Dark websites utilising Tor.
People can create sites on the Dark Web to hide the location they’re operating. They may also use it to remain anonymous as Tor protects all IP information, identifying information, as well as data transfers. For this reason, it is a hub for online criminal activities.
Why Do People Use the Dark Web?
One of the most prevalent uses of the Dark Web is buying and selling illegal goods, such as recreational drugs, weapons, fake identities, and even organs. The proliferation of cryptocurrencies—like Bitcoin—has facilitated these sales.
People living within dictatorial societies that restrict communication also take to the Dark Web so they can share their thoughts freely.
The most dangerous use of the Dark Web for businesses is the exchange of credentials (usernames and passwords) and identities.
An individual’s stolen credentials are available on the Dark Web for as low as £1.
Hackers appropriate these purchased credentials to:
- Gain access to important financial information and steal identities
- Access accounts for further phishing [read our blog on phishing] attacks
- Threaten people with exposure of sensitive information.
- Compromise other accounts using the same passwords and continue the sale of personal information
What can you do about it?
The average person will never have a reason to access the Dark Web. However, your credentials may be available on the Dark Web, which could potentially lead to problems. Once your credentials are on the Dark Web, there is precious little you can do to have them removed.
At the very least, you should be practising proper password management and activating two-factor authentication. Click here to read our blog on protecting your password.
We recommend utilising a full Dark Web monitoring service that alerts you if credentials appear on the Dark Web. These services continuously scan the Dark Web for your information and alert you whenever something suspicious appears.
These alerts don’t necessarily mean a breach has occurred, but they are excellent heads up that something terrible may be occurring.
You can then create a plan of attack to prevent a security breach or reputational damage. Granted, there will be your fair share of false positives, but we firmly believe in operating in the better safe than sorry camp.
How should you get started with Dark Web Monitoring?
Our team can run a preliminary scan of your domain, revealing the likely breaches in the last 36 months.
We’ll then review that report with you and come up with a plan of action to alleviate any significant dangers. Click here to request that scan.