It goes without saying that in today’s day and age we take the internet for granted, for checking emails or browsing the internet to setting a kettle to boil on your way home from work. It is fair to say the internet has transformed the way we live our lives and run our businesses.
But, as with all good things, there are those that seek to use these tools to exploit others and profit from our misfortune. I am, of course, talking about the dark web.
Understanding the layers of the internet
Before we focus on the dark web though, it is important to gain an understanding of the other ‘layers’ that make up the web.
The ‘surface web’ or ‘clear web’ is the everyday internet we all know and use. Using regular browsers, the surface web covers pages and information one would access via any regular search engine. Search engines access these pages by indexing links across websites.
You may have also heard of the ‘deep web’ as well as the dark web and these terms are often used interchangeably, but there is an important difference. The deep web refers to information that isn’t indexed by a search engine, and therefore cannot be found by browsing Google and other search engines.
This information sits behind varying levels of security, from paywalls and sign-in credentials to content blockers installed by the owners. Examples of information stored on the deep web include medical records and data stored on private company databases.
The dark web is just a tiny section of the deep web and is a completely different story. While the deep web holds relatively harmless data, the dark web is known for its harmful, and largely criminal, activity.
Accessible only by special routers called ‘The Onion’ and/or ‘Tor’ servers, these are undetectable by regular search engines and those using it hold complete anonymity when browsing. In fact, anyone using the dark web, whether they are browsing or publishing, are completely unidentifiable.
Why should this be a concern for me and my business?
You might think there is no relevance between you and the dark web at all, but that is not the case.
You may not know it, but it is incredibly likely that important personal information, be that your own or data connected to your business, are for sale on the dark web. From your passwords and credit card information to your home address or even the addresses of your staff, it is likely this information is being held somewhere on the dark web with a price tag attached.
Should this information fall into the wrong hands, it is only a matter of time before it is used against your business in the form of a malicious intrusion on your network. The Federation of Small Businesses noted that in the UK there are around 10,000 cyber-attacks on small businesses a day, with the average financial impact for an individual attack at around £1,300 - not an insignificant amount of money for a small business.
So, what can I do to protect my business?
At swcomms, we can run a dark web search to identify exactly what information on your business exists in the darkest corners of the internet. Once we have identified the threat, we can help you to take steps to address the threat and make changes to the information held to effectively render the information useless.
These checks are ongoing, so you can be the first to know of any new threats that arise. By actively monitoring your information, any breaches can be addressed fast, stopping any would-be criminals from taking advantage.
If your business could benefit from a dark web search or would like to discuss the range of other cyber security solutions we can offer, please do get in touch.
>Cyber insurance is key for UK businesses in 2022 - but what about your IT support?
>Choosing the right passwords is not a laughing matter
>Businesses advised to boost cyber security amid threat warnings