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Hacker on the Dark Web

The Dark Web in 2022: What You Need to Know; What You Must Do Now

In the late 1990s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) launched what would later be known as the dark web. Designed for anonymous communications with informants and others whose identities needed to remain secret, it was soon discovered and exploited as a “back channel” for cybercriminals seeking a payday.

What Is the Dark Web, and Why Is It Your Concern?

You have probably heard of the dark web, but you may not be familiar enough to understand the immense threat it represents. Estimated to be more than 500 times larger than the “surface web” (the public portion of the Internet), the dark web is a hidden portion of the Internet that standard browsers cannot reach. As cybercrime escalated in popularity (up approximately 750% from 2000 to 2020), the dark web presented a packaged solution for buying and selling stolen data.

Initially, many cyber thieves sold the data directly to corporations, but that limited its value and put them at risk of discovery. They soon realized the dark web could be a mechanism for long-term financial gain. Shortly thereafter, criminals began selling it to third parties — other criminals, corporate competitors and others. This soon became one of history’s most heinous “cottage industries.”

Because it is impossible to remove sensitive data from the dark web once it is released, business leaders must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure current, legitimate data will never be sold or otherwise compromised. In the modern era of cybercrime, it is mission critical for business leaders to neutralize its value.

Dark Web Monitoring: Your Best Defense

By actively monitoring the dark web and identifying whether proprietary information is for sale there, organizations are empowered to nullify the value of the exposed material. Here’s the catch. Effective monitoring isn’t a task an employee can perform. It is best handled by seasoned cybersecurity pros leveraging sophisticated monitoring technology.

    • The vendor scans the dark web, 24/7/365, looking for corporate data (often existing in the form of access credentials such as login IDs and passwords). If found, experts can work with their clients to determine whether or not the data is sensitive and current.
      • If this compromised intellectual capital is found, they work with the client to completely change the information (i.e. wholesale change of IDs and passwords) using security best practices. Of course, this then renders the stolen credentials as useless. If a cybercriminal experiences a “loss of reputation” due to selling worthless data, so much the better.

Best Practices in Dark Web Monitoring

Unfortunately, not all dark web monitoring solutions are equal. At JETT, we offer a comprehensive solution we believe is on the cutting edge. The following are some of its characteristics — elements we recommend for firms in all industries.

  • Continuous searches of the dark web to pull in raw intelligence in near real-time.
  • Proactive, ongoing monitoring to enable rapid threat discovery and allow firms to respond quickly, from changing passwords, logins and other credentials to updating security protocols.
  • Monitoring that encompasses millions of sites for both specific (e.g., corporate email addresses) and general information (e.g., the company name and industry).

The Dark Web Is Here to Stay. You Simply Cannot Ignore It!

In case you are wondering, why can’t someone — the DoD, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) or some global security group — just shut the dark web down, here’s a bit more information. There are legitimate — and truly important — uses of the dark web. For example, in addition to the DoD usage mentioned above, dissidents use it to communicate safely with the outside world in countries with government censorship.

As tantalizing as it might seem, the goal is not to eliminate the dark web, but rather to eliminate your firm’s vulnerability. For more information on JETT’s dark web monitoring service, email [email protected] or visit https://jettbt.com/security.

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