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Is Your Data on the Dark Web?

04.23.21

How can an organization protect itself against cyberattacks

Is Your Data on the Dark Web?

April 23, 2021


You may not realize that the internet you access through a search engine such as Google or Bing is only a small percentage of the World Wide Web. Behind the searchable web is the Deep Web. It's another layer of information, but it's not indexed, making it unavailable through standard search engines. That doesn't mean the information is not accessible; it just means it's not as easy to find. 

A subset of the Deep Web is the infamous Dark Web. Because it relies on anonymity, the Dark Web lends itself to criminal activity. In many ways, the Dark Web is a virtual black market where anything is for sale. It can also serve as a haven for anyone wanting to hide in plain sight. 

Cybercrime

The image of a lone hacker hiding in a backroom no longer exists. Cybercrime is an organized business. These cybercriminal organizations are not the same as organized crime syndicates. These organizations are loosely formed groups of individuals who come together because of functional skills that together make it possible to commit specific crimes. For example, one hacker may be prolific in password encryption, and another may be an expert in a specific operating environment. By combining their resources, they can make more money than if working alone.

IBM's most recent study on data breaches found that:

  • A data breach costs a company about $3.86 million.
  • It takes about 207 days for a breach to be identified.
  • The lifecycle of a breach is 280 days from identification to containment.
  • 58% of breaches in 2020 involved personal data.

Based on the data, a well-designed cyberattack could comprise a system for over a year -- 200 days to discover it and another 300 days to contain it once identified. During that time, critical data could appear on the Dark Web without a company realizing it.

Cyber Marketplace

The Dark Web is the marketplace for criminal activity. Hackers can market their skills or sell viruses, ransomware, or other cyber tools. Criminals put up websites just like any other business, where they showcase their talents or offer hacking tools. There are even competitors offering to sell cybersecurity tools for the same price but with more features. 

It is also where stolen data is sold. One site may offer passport data for $50.00 (US) per passport, while another may offer the data for $48.00 (US). Marketing operates on the Dark Web. Hackers offer one-time discounts or bundle data such as social security and driver license numbers that sell for a lower price. It's estimated that the economic losses as a result of cybercrime are close to $1 trillion

Cybersecurity

How does an organization protect itself against cyberattacks? The first step is to assess current cybersecurity measures.

  1. Is your hardware secure? Safeguarding hardware includes mobile devices and laptops that may be used offsite. Unguarded laptops or mobile devices are easy targets for anyone wanting to access a proprietary network.
  2. Is your data encrypted? Storing data without encryption means that once cybercriminals get past perimeter defenses, they have easy access to all digital assets.
  3. Are your backups held offsite? Ransomware attacks now attack backups that are stored on the network as well as production files. Unless a system backup is stored offsite, cybercriminals can destroy both a company's live and backup systems.
  4. Have you checked the Dark Web? Many times systems are compromised and data were stolen without a business being aware that it happened. 

Having a company such as Synergy Infosec perform a dark web investigation can help minimize possible exposure. Scheduling a one on one consultation with a Synergy Infosec security specialist can provide a comprehensive assessment of a business's cybersecurity profile.




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