Assassins for hire, drugs by mail order, and fake passports — what do all of these things have in common? You can find them all on the dark web. And although many businesses don’t think too much about the dark web, it can affect you and your business. Most notably, your information can end up there — and that’s exactly where you don’t want to find it.
In this article, we’ll learn more about what the dark web is, how it came into existence, and how you can protect your business from the trouble that lurks there.
What is the Dark Web?
So, first things first, what even is the dark web? It’s probably a term we’ve all heard at one point or another, but many of us have likely never ventured onto the dark web ourselves.
The dark web began much more innocently than one might assume. In fact, at its very beginning, in the late 1990s, it was the brainchild of a government entity — the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).
The NRL’s main goal was to cloak their online presence. They wanted to effectively protect their clandestine communications online while also anonymously monitoring the world market and getting access to hidden data without a trace. The software development stage went by the name, The Onion Routing Project.
Whether you’d call these beginnings “innocent” or not, to be sure, the NRL never anticipated their creation would morph into the toxic netherworld it is today. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the software was for government use only. But in 2004, it was open-sourced and went public. This effectively created an anonymous web browser for anyone and everyone to use.
The Onion Router
This anonymous web browser is called The Onion Router (Tor). Normally, when you surf the web, you can be traced wherever you go because you always have an IP address trailing your clicks and searches.
The Tor software program facilitates an Internet browser that messes with your device’s IP address. This effectively enables you to travel around the Internet anonymously. The way it does this is by bouncing your IP address to a multitude of diverse locations. For Tor to work, individuals from around the world “donate” their Internet browsing devices (computers, tablets, etc.). This is so that the bouncing IP addresses have more places to land.
As a result, if someone were to attempt to track your site visits when you were using Tor, it would be an impossible challenge to pinpoint your exact location.
How Does The Dark Web Affect My Business?
While Tor and the dark web can be used for good (namely, identity protection, which is often beneficial to whistleblowers or journalists, for example), it can also protect criminals. And it does protect criminals — lots of them.
Cybercrime is the number one thing going on on the dark web. Unless you have a good reason to require the benefits of The Onion Router, the dark web is definitely not a place you want to find your information. This is what we mean by being wary of your business getting mixed up with the dark web.
There are numerous threats that the dark web poses to businesses of various sizes, industries, and backgrounds. This is where cybercriminals can learn how to obtain information such as access codes and passwords, credit card information, gift card information, customer data, and more. It’s also where they can sell such information to third parties who can then do with it what they please.
In other words, you should want to know the moment your company name, address, or other company-related information is noticed on the dark web.
How to Protect Your Business From the Dark Web
Essentially, you can protect your business from the dark web by doing two things: ensuring a strong setup of cyber privacy practices and monitoring the dark web so that you’re notified the moment your information is out there.
Hiring a savvy cybersecurity IT company can help you accomplish both of these objectives. Accessing the dark web yourself to search for company information can be difficult and time-consuming. It requires knowing how to accumulate, parse, normalize, validate, refine, and enrich what you acquire. By finding a cybersecurity provider that will monitor the dark web for you, you won’t have to worry about this.
While the dark web may be a place that helps good journalists and a few others stay hidden and anonymous, it’s predominantly a place of crime and misdeeds. Keeping your business information off of the dark web is critical for ensuring a secure organization. By understanding the risks that the dark web poses, you can take the appropriate precautions for your company.
If you are wondering how to protect your business from the dark web, Executech offers a free dark web scan. With this dark web scan, we can determine if any of your company information is already on the dark web and where to go from there. Sign up for a free assessment to get started today!
To learn more about protecting you and your business from cybersecurity threats, check out our Ultimate Guide To Cybersecurity!