How Does the Dark Web Put Your Business at Risk?
Denver-based OWL Cybersecurity recently released a report showing that nearly every Fortune 500 company is exposed and has a presence on the the Dark Web. OWL gave each of the companies a darknet intelligence (DARKINT) index rating, stating that “the Index ranking reflects the attractiveness of the target. It is not a “risk of breach”. It is more closely aligned to the attractiveness of the target to a hacker while taking into account the effectiveness of their cyber defenses.”
While OWL isn’t assigning or citing a specific risk-breach, they are exposing the dangers of the dark web — and it isn’t just Fortune 500 companies that should be concerned. Everybody is at risk because of dark dealings in this shrouded corner of the internet, and nobody should take it lightly.
What Exactly Is The Dark Web?
Not to be confused with the deep web, the dark web/darknet is a collection of thousands of websites that you can’t access via normal means and that aren’t indexed by search engines like Google or yahoo. In order to access it, you need to download special anonymization software like Tor.
Photo via Wiki Commons
This software allows the dark web to exist unhindered by a centralized authority, because everything that goes on there is almost completely anonymous. Nevertheless, it functions as the world’s largest black market, where you can find anything ranging from human organs to illicit substances — and worse.
While officials in several countries have dealt blows to the black market dealings of these online marketplaces, it’s hard to tell whether these efforts are working, or whether cutting off the head of the snake only causes two more to replace it. After the Silk Road was busted back in 2013, and with a new ring of busts by US and Dutch authorities on AlphaBay and Hansa in August, it appears that other black market sites are booming, with listings rising as much as 28% over the last week of July.
How Is My Business At Risk?
You might think that since you don’t do that much business, or that you don’t handle very much information, that you’ll probably never have to deal with problems stemming from the dark web — but I’m sure that’s also what the victims of the Amazon-related fraud incident in April thought too. Somehow, Amazon back-end credentials were leaked to the darknet, allowing fraudsters to log in to the accounts of third-party sellers (even ones that had been long-dormant!), change associated bank information to divert funds into their own accounts, and then sell fake items at deeply discounted prices. Nearly hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost before authorities were alerted and the true businesses owners were able to get their accounts back.
Other ways that you might not realize your computer is risk is via the spread of ransomware and other types of malicious code. Ransomware like WannaCry, which spread massively in May, are sold via the darknet. Hacking as a service …read more
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