The internet is a marvel that connects the world. Businesses have boomed with the correct use of this exceptional technology, giving customers every conceivable product and the best customer service.
But for all the good the internet does, it can also do bad. Cybercriminals have found many ways to use the internet to harm businesses and individuals alike. They rely on sophisticated tactics to steal data, attack systems, and even leak personally identifiable information.
Speaking of information, did you know cybercriminals can sell your data on the dark web?
What is the Dark Web?
Whenever someone accesses a website through a web browser, they access what is known as the surface web. This is the series of servers, websites, and other online data that is easily reachable and generally well-protected. However, the internet consists of more data than just this.
A network of much more difficult-to-reach sites and databases is known as the dark web. These sites are unregulated and inaccessible to most people, requiring special software and knowledge.
Though the untraceable nature of the dark web has been used for good causes, it is mostly used for nefarious purposes, such as trading illegal goods and information.
What is Dark Web Scanning?
The dark web is often treated as a repository of data, especially personal data gathered from companies and groups. When a company suffers a security breach and loss of personal data, chances are the information will be listed and sold on the dark web.
Dark web scanning is a process wherein an IT professional searches the dark web for any signs of specific personal data. They can help businesses that have experienced a data breach determine whether that data is present on the dark web, and if someone is trying to sell it or use it maliciously.
All businesses should use dark web scanning in their cyber security. It combines human and artificial intelligence searches, which run consistently over a long period. If your data is found on the dark web, you can take steps to prevent further damage.
Why is it Important to Invest in Dark Web Scanning?
Dealing with a cyber security breach can be a harrowing experience, especially when you know what may come from intercepting data. However, there are many reasons why these breaches need to be avoided.
It protects employees and customers
Identity theft is a huge problem faced by people these days, and it is through dark web black markets that this data is often spread. Stolen data is used in many nefarious ways that impact everyone. Data stolen from businesses includes customer and employee data, putting everyone at risk. It also puts the business itself at risk, leaving people mistrustful of using them for their lack of safety.
Data breaches are extremely costly
The government requires all businesses to do whatever is practical to protect their customers’ data, making breaches a potential crime. Not only does a data breach potentially cost a business customers, it also incurs some hefty fines and potential lawsuits. Between litigation, fees, fines, and lost customers, losing data can end a business.
Strong cyber security deters attacks
Companies known for their robust cyber security may be less likely to be targeted. Hackers can get through many systems and perform amazing and terrifying feats with the internet. But like most things, they’re more likely to choose easy targets. The tougher a company is to break into, the less likely it will be attacked.
Smaller businesses are even more at risk
Statistics show that stolen data is twenty times more likely to come from a small business than a larger one. Corporate giants like Google or Wells Fargo have almost endless budgets for cyber security. This makes them much less likely to be targeted and passes attention on to smaller businesses.
How Else Can You Protect Your Business?
Aside from hiring an outside company to handle dark web scans, there are many everyday practices that businesses can employ to prevent data breaches. Some are small tweaks to a system, while others require teamwork, but all serve the same purpose.
Every small business should consider the following:
Properly guard the business’s network
Some small businesses choose to skimp on security software and cyber protections. This is always a terrible idea, especially when that business has anything to do with the internet. This doesn’t just mean trading online; networked computers and online banking can pose potential structural weaknesses.
Practice strict, safe password protocols
Often, the easiest way for hackers to break into a network is through unsafe passwords. By guessing or cracking an employee’s password, a hacker can easily break into a network and begin wreaking havoc. Therefore, systems such as two-step authentication have become a popular practice these days. By employing strict password protocols, each system user can ensure their station or user identity cannot be easily breached.
Hold regular staff training sessions
Everyday online behavior can drastically affect a network’s safety without a user knowing. Unassuming emails or seemingly authentic links can lead to viruses or other systems used by hackers to breach systems. All these methods work because some employees don’t know how to find the clues that suggest a dangerous site. By providing regular training sessions for staff, they can learn how to use a network and the internet, identify risks safely, and further protect the business on a personal level.
Partner with an MSP
The best security comes from having a second set of eyes scouring the web for illicit sharing of company information. You can partner with an managed IT services provider that offers dark web scanning–their experience will come in handy when it comes to reducing your risk of malicious information exposure.
The dark web is a place that no business wants any exposure to. But with the increase in cybercrime, it’s important to keep tabs on it to ensure none of our company’s credentials are up for auction. With proper steps and right partnerships, you can safeguard your reputation and sensitive data.