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The Dark Web

In the modern world cyber security should stand at the very top of your business concerns; there are some that argue it has, in fact, taken priority over even the physical security of your organisation. A criminal is far more likely to attack your business via technical means than by lowering themselves through the skylight in the dead of night. Our reliance on technology has grown to levels no one could have anticipated a few decades ago. The access that we all have to technology – and how much it is integrated into our daily lives – is astonishing, but with such a rapid rate of growth there are always problems. The more web connected devices you have then the more likely you are to become a victim of a cyber attack.

Let’s not pass the buck – it isn’t the landscape’s fault that we are vulnerable to potentially business defining cyber attacks, it is our own. We must educate ourselves on the threats posed by cyber criminals and familiarise ourselves with cyber security measures – this is the best way to combat them and give your business the best chance of remaining safe and protected.

Most commonly, cyber attacks – depending on their severity and goal – result in your sensitive data either being distributed or sold on the Dark web. The Dark web is relatively well known nowadays but, for those that don’t know, it is a place designed for criminality. We will now explore it in more detail and attempt to stress the seriousness of your business data being distributed or sold there.

The Dark Web

The Dark Web is used for illicit activity by criminals, being a place for them to buy, sell, and advertise illegal goods and services anonymously. The Dark Web is by no means a small venture designed by a couple of criminals, it is estimated to be 5% of the size of the total internet (which doesn’t sound like much but think about how large the internet is – 5% is a large amount).

The word ‘community’ is used here loosely because there is no sense of community in the activities they undertake when on the Dark Web, and it is an extremely dangerous and illegal place to navigate. If your data was to find its way on there it could spell the end of your business altogether.

So, let’s explore the ways your data could find its way to the Dark Web.

The ways your data may end up on the Dark Web:

 

Ransomware

Ransomware is software that is malicious in nature. It works by locking and encrypting your data. The cyber criminal responsible for the attack will then hold it to ransom, demanding money before giving you access back.

With a Ransomware attack your information remains on your computer but it is encrypted and is completely out of your control. The cyber criminal responsible for your attack will then deliberately create a sense of urgency by giving you a time limit in which to pay the ransom, or else they threaten to delete your data, or worse release it onto the Dark web. Unfortunately, some understandably believe their threats and pay as requested.

It is understandable that businesses pay up, but think about it – how likely are you to actually get your data back; not very, unfortunately. Often business owners are left embarrassed, by paying up and then still being no closer to having access to their data. Or, you could get lucky and be granted access again, only to find that the cyber criminal now knows you are financially able and willing to pay, meaning that you will likely be the victim of an attack again at a later date.

 

Phishing

A Phishing attack is when a cyber criminal uses fake/fraudulent emails to gain access to private information.

Emails allow them to carry out their attack by the use of malicious links. The cyber criminals use the email to manipulate the recipient, making it appear to be from a trusted source (such as the recipient’s bank or a trusted colleague, for example). They often base the email around a time sensitive subject to make the recipient panic, act without thinking, and click on the attachments or links, in the process granting the cyber criminal access.

 

Malware

Malware is designed with the intent of causing damage and destruction, or with the aim of stealing private data.

Malware is usually designed and managed by a group of cyber criminals or hackers. They are looking to make money from either selling the software over the Dark Web or by spreading the Malware content themselves.

 

Insecure connections

Sometimes referred to as ‘man in the middle attacks’, hackers will intercept data that is being sent across an insecure network (public Wi-Fi, for example). Public Wi-Fi has very poor levels of security so be careful because you are very vulnerable when using it. A relatively new method is the ‘rogue hotspot’, which involves the hacker setting up a public portal that imitates a nearby legitimate one – these hotpots can then be used to distribute Malware, direct users toward malicious sites, and listen in on web traffic, all without the user knowing they are on an illegitimate source.

 

Third party failure

Third party tools can cause problems too. They are a common way for your credentials to find their way onto the Dark Web, often just because levels of security are simply not good enough.

If you think it is time to implement some measures in order protect your systems from cyber attacks and lessen the likelihood of your data ending up on the Dark Web, please don’t hesitate to take a look at our full range of  IT services and support – we can help you achieve peace of mind with expert advice, the correct tools, and education around the use of those tools.

Now that you are familiar with some of the ways that your credentials can find their way onto the Dark Web, we will take a closer look at it, why you should take care if your credentials are exposed, and how to be best prepared for an attack to avoid them becoming exposed in the first place.

 

Your Digital Solution

Implementing new technological measures to transform your organisation digitally can be a difficult task to undertake alone. We will identify, implement, and maintain the relevant and best new technology and constantly strive to enable your business to get more from it. Our success can be attributed to one thing: TRUST. Ever since our very first year in business our clients have been happy to recommend us to other businesses, and we have grown steadily as a result of these opinions. We will educate you and your team on the best ways to avoid cyber attacks from being successful. Our experts will work with you (IT support), and become powerful partners in your quest to a prosperous future with technology. We can help you to truly get the best from your IT in the most secure way possible. Don’t hesitate – contact us now!

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