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      How Secure is Your IT Network? Is Your Data Available on the Dark Web?

      Is your IT network secure from cyber crime? Cyber crime is becoming one of the biggest threats to business in the U.S.

      Is your IT network secure from cyber crime? Cyber crime is becoming one of the biggest threats to business in the U.S.

      If your business relies on an IT network, then you can’t afford to stay uninformed about the Dark Web. Understanding what the Dark Web is and how it could be a danger to your business is the initial step towards avoiding this particular cyber threat. What is the next step? Dark Web monitoring. Here’s an analogy – you know where to buy staples such as gasoline or bread. But what if you wanted to buy several Social Security numbers or needed a line of credit in a stranger’s name? If you’re shopping for these and similar information, then you go to the Dark Web. The Dark Web is a shopping center that cyber criminals often go to buy or sell stolen data.

      In fact, it’s possible that your information could be for sale right now for as low as $3 per record. Do you want criminals to be able to get a good deal on your personal information?

      What is the Dark Web?

      The Dark Web is a fraction of the much larger deep web – the common name for the extensive collection of websites that can’t be accessed through normal internet browsers. These sites are hidden from standard internet searches (also called the Clearnet) by using overlay networks. They’re built on the frameworks of networks that already exist, and there are a lot of them. In fact, the deep web accounts for the majority of information online. Which, when you stop and consider how vast the corner of the internet you visit is, nothing short of frightening.

      How Does Your Information Get on the Dark Web?

      Cyber criminals use a range of tactics to steal your information in order to sell it.

      • Phishing – Phishing emails are sent to large groups of users at the same time in order to try to “fish” sensitive information by posing and reliable sources including legitimate-looking logos.
      • Spear Phishing – A focused type of phishing using data from social media or other sources to con a group of users.
      • Executive Whaling – Targeting business executives and admins to siphon off money from their accounts or to steal confidential data.
      • Social Engineering – Using LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites to glean information about an organization’s personnel including contact information, connections, friends, and ongoing business deals.

      The deep web is where you can find private personal information such as school and medical records, private emails, and bank statements. If you want to gain access to any of this information, you musts be able to access an overlay network using specialized software and passwords. This keeps sensitive information safe, and prevents standard search engines from indexing it.

      What Makes the Dark Web a Hot Marketplace for Illegal Data?

      With the added security of the deep web, it becomes attractive for anyone who doesn’t want their activities known. But, unlike the deep web which prevents outsiders from accessing information, the Dark Web is filled with websites that permit anyone with the right browser to access their sites. One of the most popular is Tor.

      Cyber crime costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars every year. Much of the information hackers steal from businesses ends up on the Dark Web for sale to anyone who wants it. But, the real danger of the Dark Web is that it has become a training ground for hackers and would-be hackers. While hacking is competitive, there is still a willingness among cyber criminals to share information and techniques.

      It is this access to the “tools of the trade” as well as guidance necessary for pulling off hacking schemes, cyber attacks, and other scams that makes the Dark Web dangerous to your business. Unfortunately, anyone with the time and inclination to learn how to steal your valuable data can find an online tutorial, pay for hacking software, and then set their sites on your company. And while they may not be the stories you hear on the national news, mid- and small-sized companies are targeted every day by cyber criminals who want to make a fast buck.