Is there anything more mysterious than the dark web? It’s commonly mentioned but many business executives simply don’t know what it is and how it works. Nowadays, as threats become more sophisticated and advanced, it’s vital for ALL business executives to understand the dark web inside and out. Why? Because you never know when an attack will leave your confidential data on the dark web.

What is the Dark Web?

First and foremost, let’s answer the question directly: what is the dark web? The dark web, also referred to as the backweb, is a frequently misunderstood network. Similar to the internet, the dark web is a network of websites, communication tools, and forums. URLs on the dark web end with the .onion suffix to denote that they’re properly encrypted. Traditional browsers aren’t able to access these websites due to a lack of proper security plugins.

Although the dark web is commonly used by cybercriminals, it does serve some reputable purposes. Cybercriminals use the dark web for the purpose of selling stolen information, guns, drugs, and other illegal activities. How do they get away with it? The answer is simple. The dark web requires users to run a series of security tools to help keep all web traffic anonymous.

This gives cybercriminals the ability to do their illegal activities without being caught. The Silk Road is a great example of this. As an online marketplace, The Silk Road was used to sell drugs and weapons. In 2013, the FBI took this online marketplace down. Unfortunately, a multitude of copycat websites were created in its place shortly afterward.

How is the Dark Web Used for Reputable Purposes?

The dark web is starting to sound pretty scary, isn’t it? The truth is, there are many reputable purposes behind the dark web. ProPublica, an investigative news organization, uses the dark web to communicate with sources in a secure, anonymous manner. There are many other legitimate organizations that use the dark web for wholesome, and in many cases, admirable purposes, including:

  • Facebook
  • The Office on Drugs and Crime
  • The United Nations Law Enforcement Department

The dark web gives those in law enforcement helpful insight that allows them to keep the public informed on threats.

How Big is the Dark Web?

We know cybercriminals depend on the dark web. And we know many reputable organizations do as well. So how big is the dark web? Is it as commonly used as the regular web? In the simplest terms, no. The dark web only has an estimated 10,000 – 100,000 active sites at a time. This is because illegal sites are commonly discovered and taken off the servers. Of course, those illegal sites are replaced rather quickly.

What Should Business Executives Know About the Dark Web?

Business executives should know as much as possible about the dark web. The questions above give important insight into what it is, how it works, and how it’s accessed. This is vital to know because sensitive information is routinely stolen and sold on the dark web. Think about all of the government and corporate hacks that have happened in the past few years. If you’ve been impacted, your personal information is likely on the dark web.

Naturally, law enforcement around the world monitor and shut down illegal activity on the dark web. But the process of having sensitive data sold and used illegally is fast. This can lead to a range of issues:

  • Identity theft
  • Financial theft
  • Compliance violations
  • And much more

As a business executive, it’s important to be aware of what’s possible on the dark web. For instance, healthcare organizations need to be especially careful as medical records are an incredibly sought-after find. Why? Because medical records belonging to the terminally ill or recently deceased offer a great opening for identity theft and/or financial theft that will go unnoticed for a short time.

How to Protect Your Sensitive Data from Being Stolen and Sold on the Dark Web…

Naturally, the first step to protecting your sensitive data from being stolen and sold on the dark web is working with an IT company that will safeguard your network. This may include implementing the following:

  • Comprehensive security solutions, including anti-virus software, firewalls, web content filtering, access control, and more.
  • A cybersecurity policy that outlines proper protocol in terms of login information, how to handle threats, and more.
  • Employee training wherein they train your staff on a regular basis so they know what to look for and how to respond to threats.

Plus, dark web monitoring can be used to keep an eye out for any sensitive data at rest or in transit – ensuring it doesn’t end up on the dark web.

Keep your sensitive data out of the wrong hands. Call our team and with an IT company that keeps your company safe.

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