What would we do without the internet? A life without our primary source of information is somewhat inconceivable these days. We spend hours online at work and continue to do so in our free time. We use it for research, to shop, to communicate, and to stay connected. Could you imagine a world or even running your business without it? We can’t.
The internet has not just changed our lives it has also changed the way businesses operate and it’s helped them thrive. Although it offers us so many possibilities, the internet also has its dark side and comes with its risks too. And those risks lurk in the underworld of the internet – the Dark Web. But what is the Dark Web, and is it really a threat to your business?
When thinking about the Dark Web, the first thing that comes to mind is hackers in hoodies with their faces covered sitting in dark rooms typing away on their keyboards. But the Dark Web is not all about illegal activities, it’s a space visited by all sorts of people – not just criminals with bad intentions.
To understand the Dark Web, we need to look at the internet as a whole. The internet can basically be divided into three parts and be compared to an iceberg to illustrate its vastness: the Open Web, the Deep Web and the Dark Web.
The Open Web is the “visible” part of the internet (the tip of the iceberg that sits over the water) that we use to look for information via search engines. Whereas the Deep Web is the invisible part that you’ll find underneath the water and consists of the content that sits behind a password or a paywall like online banking platforms, databases, business intranets, or social media. The Dark Web is a small part of the Deep Web that you can only access through certain software. Unlike “regular” browsers, the Dark Web doesn’t register a user’s IP address but anonymises traffic so the user’s identity can’t be detected.
The Dark Web is the illegal paradise for criminals to buy – or sell – drugs, weapons, porn, and sensitive data or credentials. But it is also visited by journalists or organisations who want to keep their identity anonymous in order to publish information without the fear of being identified, detected and punished.
As the Dark Web offers hackers the possibility to communicate freely and discuss tactics or ways to comprise a business’ network without the risk of being monitored or interrupted, businesses of every size can be at risk. But it’s not just a means of communication, as mentioned above, the Dark Web provides hackers with platforms where they can sell and buy stolen data. This data could include your business’ passwords, email addresses, and usernames.
Whenever your employees use their emails on third-party websites, it puts your business at risk, as they tend to use the same password for several websites, including work and personal use. Another way information on the Dark Web can damage your business is for your staff to fall for common email scams like gift cards or credit card frauds, which can undermine your brand value and put your business at risk for fraudulent card use.
Taking a proactive approach is essential to protect your business from cybercriminals, as the techniques to attack your systems constantly change and evolve. Here are some steps that you can take to protect your company data and reputation:
Regular threat monitoring of content published on the Dark Web can help your business reduce the risk of being attacked and shorten your recovery-response time.
Cyber Awareness Training:
Make sure that your staff are familiar with phishing emails and know how to look out for them. Employees pose one of the biggest threats to business security. We’ll help you to get your staff trained and up to speed with our cybersecurity awareness training.
Offer your staff a platform where they can safely store their passwords without having to memorise every single one of them. This will prevent your employees from using the same passwords across several websites.
Add another layer of protection with Multi-Factor Authentication to your accounts. If someone does get hold of your password, they’ll need an authentication code to log in successfully.
Get Cyber Essentials certified to protect your business from the Dark Web. The Government-backed scheme will not just protect your business, it will also reassure your clients that you take all the required measures to keep their data safe.
Not sure what to add MFA to? The safest bet is to use it on everything that’s valuable to you or holds personal data. When you apply MFA to access, it requires users to confirm their identity by entering a code from another device, email, phone, authenticator app etc. While this is a slight inconvenience for users as it takes a few seconds longer to log in, remember that also means it’s an inconvenience for hackers and is likely to deter them.
Ratcliff IT can help you understand these risks, provide your staff with training and offer comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. The better you’re protected, the harder it is for hackers to attack you. Cybercriminals will target businesses that have very little or no security measures in place, the size of businesses doesn’t matter, it’s the most vulnerable ones that they’ll go for, whether that business is big or small.
Don’t let cybercriminals get hold of your data, start protecting your business from the threats lurking on the Dark Web.
Chat to one of our experts to discuss our cybersecurity solutions.