Why Small Businesses Need to Monitor the Dark Web?
The dark web presents a cybersecurity threat for businesses of all sizes.
19:10 18 September 2020
Criminals take advantage of the heavy encryption, anonymized, and unindexed space to engage in illegal activities. Many high-profile breaches have direct links with this hidden part of the internet. Hence, the need for businesses to pay attention to risks posed by the dark web.
Taking the threat of cybercrime for granted is no longer an option, even for small businesses. A breach can undermine the future of your company by triggering severe financial woes. Cyberattacks destroy customer confidence and your organization's overall reputation. In turn, your company loses its competitive edge in the marketplace.
For this reason, many organizations are taking preventive steps to reinforce security against the threats. Ferrel Fuller from Houston IT company ChaceTech shares insights into the dark web and offers dark web scanning for organizations throughout Harris County.
Dangers Posed by the Dark Web
Cybercriminals rely on the dark internet to communicate and trade in illicit items freely. They use the space to share ideas on how to compromise the security of IT infrastructure. Many bad actors engage in gift card fraud, which affects businesses.
Card information is widely available via darknet marketplaces. These illicit activities can undermine the reputation of a brand.
In 2017, hackers operating from the dark parts of the internet attacked third-party seller accounts on Amazon. The information stolen during the attack became available to buyers in dark web marketplaces. Cybercriminals changed the bank account details to divert funds from the Amazon seller accounts to the hackers. Some sellers lost over $100,000 before Amazon detected the breach.
Credit card fraud is also one of the most common illegal activities on the darknet. Many stolen corporate credit cards appear in the marketplaces. This reality endangers the financial stability of small businesses. To counter this problem, companies need to implement cybersecurity protocols that safeguard credit card information.
Some stolen information for sale on the dark web include:
- Intellectual property
- Bank account information
- Login credentials
- Trade secrets
- Passport details
- Identity cards and driver's licenses
- Credit card information
- Social security numbers
- Protected health information
Intellectual Property Crimes
Many organizations, including small businesses, are grappling with challenges in protecting intellectual property rights online. The proliferation of cybercrime activities in the darknet is compounding the issue.
Many people visit the darknet to gain access to marketplaces like Silk Road, which offer wide-ranging items. Some services and goods available to buyers infringe on intellectual property rights.
The dark web is a source of countless counterfeit goods. Buyers can also access product keys, trade secrets, and pirated digital products. IT experts recommend enlisting a service provider's help to monitor and gather intelligence regarding threats to your organization's intellectual property. In turn, you can implement preventive and enforcement measures.
Bad Actors Targeting Small Businesses
Cybercriminals regularly plot and attack small businesses from the dark web. The reasons for targeting smaller companies are numerous. Criminals believe that smaller firms lack the resources to invest in cutting-edge cyber defense technologies. The widespread perception of vulnerability motivates hackers to steal sensitive information from small businesses and sell them via the darknet.
Many small firms fail to uphold basic cybersecurity practices like using strong passwords. In doing so, businesses provide hackers with accessible opportunities. It is common for some users to opt for weak, predictable passwords like '12345' or 'password,' eliminating the need for criminals to employ advanced techniques like brute force attacks.
Hacking as a Service (HaaS) on the Dark Web
Most businesses suffer breaches without knowing attacks are coming. Darknet marketplaces help inexperienced cybercriminals launch attacks successfully by selling tools and techniques, including malware and hacking as a service (HaaS). Bad actors gain unauthorized access to IT infrastructure to disrupt operations or steal protected information.
In some cases, they compromise websites and other IT assets to distribute viruses and malware. Hackers may subject owners of the infected systems to extortion attempts. A company with an infected information technology infrastructure is more likely to experience considerable disruptions to its day-to-day operations.
Unscrupulous business owners often take advantage of hacking as a service to cripple their competitors' ability to operate normally.
Corporate Credit Card Risks
In recent years, many cybersecurity tools and services have begun warning users about the risk of their personally identifiable information appearing on the darknet. For this reason, IT companies offer dark web scans and monitoring services to check whether credit cards and other sensitive data are available on the dark side.
The entire cybercrime underworld poses a threat whenever hackers steal payment card information. Attention has shifted from point of sale (POS) terminals to online payments due to the challenges of developing skimmers to compromise cards at POS terminals. Bad actors hiding in the darknet now focus on online skimming, which targets e-commerce platforms.
Protecting Your Business from Dark Web Threats
Partnering with an established IT company is a cost-effective way for small businesses to protect against the threats posed by criminals operating in the darknet. Highly skilled IT professionals can help implement robust safeguards against evolving cybersecurity threats. Taking a multi-layered, proactive approach enhances your company's ability to detect and thwart attacks.