The Dark Web and How it Can Affect Your Business

Every Internet user should already know that the internet has many people looking to exploit the Web for ill intent. These people congregate on the Dark Web and small businesses need to understand what it is and what the risks are.

What is the Dark Web?

You and your employees spend time daily on the Web. They may be researching products and clients, checking out competitors and searching for information. Generally they are not accessing the Dark Web. The Dark Web houses dangerous and more than often illegal activity. Some of the dark side includes black-market drug sales, illegal firearm sales, and illicit pornography.

The Dark Web’s collection of websites is inaccessible using the standard search engines or browsers. To browse the Dark Web users need to employ a Tor or I2P encryption tool to hide their identity and activity.

To go into the Dark Web, you also need to be using the Tor or I2P service and you need to know where to find the site you are looking for. There are Dark Web search engines or directories, but they can be unreliable. Most often the people running websites on the Dark Web don’t want people to easily find them. Ultimately, it’s not somewhere you or your employees should be.

So, why do business owners need to know or worry about it? Because Dark Web users can buy a multitude of information that could affect your business. This information includes:

  • usernames and passwords.
  • counterfeit money.
  • stolen credit card numbers or subscription credentials.
  • software to break into people’s computers.
  • operational, financial, or customer data.
  • intellectual property or trade secrets.

The Dark Web is also where someone can hire a hacker to attack your computers and server or write a virus to infect your computers.

The Dark Web business risk

The Dark Web itself is not illegal and not all that happens on it is criminal. It is also visited by journalists and law enforcement agencies and is used in countries where their governments prohibit open communication.

But the ways a business can be adversely affected by information and activity on the Dark Web is growing. A 2019 research study found that 60% of all Dark Web listings could harm enterprises, and the number of those listings has risen by 20% since 2016.

Business risks from these Dark Web listings include:

  • denial-of-service or DOS attacks.
  • malware infection causing business disruption and / or data loss.
  • undermining your brand reputation.
  • loss of competitive advantage.
  • IP theft.
  • fraudulent activity.

With media attention on data breaches impacting millions, it is easy to think a small business is not at risk. However, bad actors don’t target a business for its size as they look for ease of access.

Dark Web information is up to twenty times more likely to come from an unreported breach. Privacy specialists told a Federal Trade Commission Conference victims included medical practices, retailers, schools, retail shops, service based offices and many other small businesses.

Reduce your risk

If your information ends up on the Dark Web, there’s little you can do about it. The positive is that you know that information is out in public and your business security has been compromised. So be proactive and takes moves to lessen the impact of the release of that information and keep your security protections current and install security patches regularly.

Consider upgrading your security by installing a unified threat management (UTM) device. A UTM plugs into your network and serves as a gateway to protect your business from malware, illicit access and other security risks.

Depending on the brand and model a UTM security appliance can provide the following features:

  • intrusion prevention
  • URL and content filtering.
  • application control.
  • anti-malware scanning.
  • data loss prevention.
  • email security.
  • wireless security.
  • remote access management.

A proactive services provider or IT consultant can help you take care of all aspects of protecting your business. For a monthly fee they can handle all your technology, patching, monitoring and assessment needs.

Stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats with an us, or learn more about installing a UTM. We can help protect you from the dangers of the Dark Web. Contact us today on 08 8326 4364 or support@dpcomputing.com.au!

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