To the everyday person, the mere thought of the “Dark Web” sends chills up the spine. It makes you think of hooded people in shadowy lairs, hacking sophisticated systems and monetizing from society’s most nefarious underground industries.
The Dark Web’s association with drug dealing, human trafficking and other heinous ventures has made its threat to legitimate businesses seem almost like an afterthought. Some small business owners can’t fathom why a cybercriminal capable of hacking a giant corporation or cashing in on other illicit activities would waste time hacking their relatively fruitless company.
The truth is, no business, no matter the size, is beneath the threat of attack. Not when you consider the Dark Web’s emergence over the last few years as an information superhighway and marketplace, where all stolen data, big and small, can be seamlessly sold in exchange for untraceable cryptocurrency.
In 2018, the threat of the Dark Web is greater than ever. Some experts estimate the deep web, which encompasses anything that a search engine can’t find, is about 400 to 500 times larger than the common internet.
Cybercriminals are scouring the Internet looking for easy targets. If you don’t have a plan in place to neutralize the threat, your business could pay a steep price.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web can best be described as the “underbelly” of the Internet; a shrouded place that’s only accessible via special software. Comprised of a series of encrypted networks that mask users’ names, locations and IP addresses, the Dark Web essentially paves the way for people to commit crimes with little risk of being personally identified.
Over the last decade, businesses everywhere have been engulfed by the Dark Web. When Target was hacked in 2013, 40 million debit and credit cards belonging to shoppers were discovered on the Dark Web, according to CNET. The same publication reported that 200 million stolen Yahoo! logins were marketed on the Dark Web in 2016.
Just a few months ago, a notorious cybercriminal in the U.K. was found to have allegedly breached 17 different companies, including Uber and Groupon, and sold their stolen customer data on the Dark Web. There are countless other stories of big and seemingly secure corporations falling victim to such types of attacks.
The risk to small business
While large-scale data breaches dominate the headlines, small businesses are an even more tantalizing target for some cybercriminals. According to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, 43 percent of cyber attacks are lodged against small businesses — a 9 percent increase compared to 2014, according to Fortune.It goes to show that cybercriminals don’t discriminate based on the size of a business; they only care about its vulnerability. This makes small businesses a prime target, since many don’t have the resources or expertise to combat or even recognize an attack when it occurs.
It’s imperative that all small businesses take their security seriously, especially those that store passwords, financial data and other compromising personal data. If your business is hacked, your customers’ data could end up for sale on the Dark Web. And that would be very bad for everybody. Fortunately, there’s an affordable way to guard against these attacks.
Take a Proactive Approach
The most fundamental mistake small businesses make when it comes to security? Being reactive instead of proactive. They ignore Dark Web threats until they’ve been attacked, and then they’re left scrambling to solve a problem for which there may not be an immediate
The key is to assume a breach will eventually happen, so that when one does occur, you already have safeguards in place to neutralize the attack, as well as protocols for reporting the attack, which small businesses owners are required to do in the event of a data breach.
The best way to be proactive is to invest in Dark Web Monitoring from a security expert like BrevAll Technologies. A perfect alternative for companies that don’t have the resources to invest in onsite IT staff, we will monitor the Dark Web 24/7 for compromised information associated with your business. And if there’s been a breach, we will jump in before that
information can be used for identity theft and other crimes.
The Dark Web is only getting darker. It’s time to step up and make sure your customers’ information — and business’s reputation — is protected. Otherwise, it could be lights out.