The Dark Web: A Hidden Threat To Your Business

Posted by Monique Phalen | May 14, 2020 9:49:40 AM





In today's digital world, being a business owner means that much of your business transactions and communications take place online. There are many hidden threats to your business you have to look out for, such as the dark web.

We can probably all agree that the internet is a crucial resource for the growth and day to day functions of your business. From the moment you log in to your applications in the morning to your dealings with clients and suppliers through emails and messages throughout the day, you’re always online. 

Most businesses rely heavily on the internet (or parts of the internet) to successfully run their companies, often unaware of the inherent danger and risks involved. 

One “small” overlooked threat that can cost your business significant damage to not only your reputation but your finances as well, is the dark web. We’ve all heard of the dark web, but what is it? And, how can we steer clear? 

Have you ever considered partnering with an external technology provider who is qualified to handle some or all of your IT needs? Outsourcing the management of your IT services with a professional and knowledgeable company can help keep your company data safe and secure. 

Before we dive into managed IT services and the security they provide for your team, let’s talk about the dark web. Knowing more upfront about the dark web means you’ll obtain a better understanding of what technology services your business, employees, and customers need.   

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A Technology Threat To All Businesses: What Is The Dark Web?

The dark web can seem complicated and even daunting to understand. So, don’t feel like you’re alone as we break it down for you. 

The dark web is an encrypted secret area of the internet that can only be accessed through specialized knowledge and tools. This private area cannot be found through traditional search engines (such as Google), and users of this area of the internet are entirely anonymous. 

This anonymity and inability to easily track or discover content within this corner of the internet is a pretty scary thing. Unfortunately, because it’s so easy to remain unknown behind a computer screen, the dark web is an area used heavily for criminal activity and transactions. 

However, not all activity that takes place on the dark web is criminal. Still, it has become a haven for dangerous activity because of its veil of secrecy. 

Illegal activities within the dark web range from the sale of counterfeit money, illegal drugs, pornography, firearms, and even murder for hire. Yikes… enough said!

So, maybe you’re thinking, while these illicit activities are considered criminal behavior, they don't necessarily pose an immediate threat to most businesses and individuals—which is a valid point.

Sadly though, one of the most prevalent criminal businesses on the dark web is the sale of stolen data, including financial information, identifying information, and account information.  This type of criminal activity puts millions of people and businesses from around the globe at risk of harm each year.

No One Is Immune To The Dark Web

As I briefly mentioned earlier, many have heard the term “The dark web.” They may have some understanding that it represents a venue for bad behaviors or dealings online. But, many are also unaware of how this area of the internet can affect their business. 

When it comes to technology nowadays, it is nearly impossible to avoid being at risk of having your information compromised on certain dark web sites. 

From your mobile smartphones to apps, logins, email services, and messaging, you are steadily at risk of being hacked or exposed. Being aware of the risk the dark web can pose to you is the first step in managing how you protect yourself from this pervasive threat.

What Kind of Information Can Criminals Purchase or Sell on the Dark Web?

Imagine your company's information stolen without your knowledge and being used against not only you but potentially all of your customers. The amount of destruction that can be done in a short time could be catastrophic for your business and your livelihood. 

What happens if your personal business information falls into the wrong hands? What if your financial accounts are directly affected? The damaging effects of these instances could significantly ruin the valued relationships you have with current customers and potential prospects.

It’s up to you to become more than just aware of the existence of the dark web. You must also understand the types of information potentially at risk and the consequences of it being used against your business or employees.

Below are some of the most common data for sale on the dark web:

  • Login credentials (for any number of platforms, including access to your own company software)
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card information
  • Social security numbers
  • Passports
  • ID cards and licenses
  • Access to proprietary information
  • Customer or patient records

Related: Top 25 Data Security Tips Every Small Business (SMB) Should Know

Is There A Difference Between The Deep Web And Dark Web?

Many employees are also surprised to find out that the internet they have come to know through search engines only accounts for a minimal percentage of the information available on the web. 

In fact, there is only a very small percentage of the internet that is discoverable through a search engine, and even smaller percentage accounts for the dark web and the remainder mostly comprises an area called the deep web.

It is important to differentiate between the deep web content and the dark web because they are often incorrectly linked together. 

Although both may sound equally threatening, the deep web is actually information available online through various sources. These sources could be ones such as educational institutions, governments, corporations, and other informational networks.

This information is usually accessible only to individuals that are granted access to this content. and therefore, are not usually discovered through search engine queries. 

Unlike the dark web, the information available throughout parts of the deep web is not inherently illegal or suspicious.

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The Final Say: Managed IT Services And Protection From The Dark Web

It can feel overwhelming to consider the many ways your information can be compromised and how to protect yourself and your business from harm. 

It is critical to take the time to protect your individual and business assets by ensuring you have the ability to backup your data, create security measures, and monitor the dark corners of the web for any possible transactions related to your personal or business information.

To fully protect yourself and your business, you must ensure you have a security strategy in place. What’s the best way to do that? Through managed IT services.

It is essential that you team up with a knowledgeable and professional IT team that can go over your business needs and advise you on the best course of action to keep your information secure. A great IT services provider should even be able to perform a dark web scan for you. How nice is that? 

Monitoring the dark web is your best weapon against this threat. But, you must also know what to do once a threat or vulnerability has been identified. Learn more about security threats to your business and the benefits of managed IT services by visiting our Technology Resources Page. Even better, reach out to one of our business technology consultants to discuss the best ways in getting your IT infrastructure in tip-top shape. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.

Topics: IT Services, Articles, All Topics, All Industries

Written by Monique Phalen

Mo is the resident IT go-to lady at AIS. She has traveled the world, run a marathon, is a self-proclaimed crossword champion, and can do ventriloquism. She has an uncanny memory ....down to the detail. She has completed 4 half marathons and hates running. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her 7 siblings and 20 nieces and nephews.

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