It’s already a challenge for businesses of all sizes to deal with common cyberthreats such as malware, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and zero-day exploits. On top of these threats, the dark web is also quickly becoming a concern for most organizations.
The dark web — a hidden part of the World Wide Web that's only accessible through a special web browser like Tor — enables users and website owners to stay unidentified. This makes it an ideal place for shady characters to do whatever they please.
The dangers of the dark web
The dark web is typically used by cybercriminals to buy and sell dangerous and illegal items like drugs and weapons. However, it’s also being used for selling leaked and stolen company data and credentials. These can come from hacktivists furthering a social or political message or from people who wish to destroy a company’s reputation.
The price of stolen data is subject to the laws of economics. The lower supply, the higher the price will be. Alternatively, if a recent hack has flooded the black market with a massive supply of stolen data, prices will significantly drop. Online payment login credentials go for as much as $200, while medical records cost up to $1,000. US passports are priced at $2,000 each.
Businesses tend to have a reactive approach when it comes to cyberattacks. This is a dangerous practice to have because no one can ever really tell when their data has been stolen. When organizations finally take action, it’s usually too late, and their image with customers and the general public has already been damaged.
So what can you do?
Remember that small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are just as vulnerable as large enterprises when it comes to dark web attacks. It helps to become proactive when protecting your business’s data so you can prevent people from using it for identity theft, data breaches, or similar crimes. Here are some measures you can take:
- Dark web monitoring
Binatech’s ID Credential Monitoring service detects compromised credentials on the dark web in real time, 24/7/365. Your organization is then notified immediately if these critical assets are found.
In other words, dark web monitoring reduces the amount of time between the occurrence of a data breach and you finding out about it. It shrinks criminals' window of opportunity to create copies of your data and sell them. Lastly, the service keeps your clients, employees, key executives, and high-profile personnel from being exploited on the dark web.
- Have a strong password policy
To prevent account takeover, one significant step is to implement a strong password policy in the office. This doesn’t mean using special characters and numbers, as these can be difficult to remember. Instead, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends the use of passphrases.
Passphrases are sentences or a combination of words, such as “vinylbookspoonsandfork” or “deepdishpizzaisdelicious1469”. A long password containing dictionary words is easier to remember and exponentially harder to hack than eight random letters and symbols.
Require your employees to change their passwords only after data breaches, as frequent changes can cause password overload.
- Use multifactor authentication (MFA)
MFA uses more than one method of verifying a user’s identity. For instance, after users enter their password, they can be prompted to scan their fingerprint or enter a one-time code sent to their smartphone.
Through this technology, even if a hacker gains a hold of a user’s login credentials, their attempt to infiltrate the account would be futile without fulfilling the subsequent security measures.
- Awareness training
Your business might have the latest security software to protect your data, but remember that no system is perfect and not all technology can detect everything malicious, so it’s also up to your employees to be vigilant.
Your staff needs to be aware of what is on the web, how data is stored and accessed, and the ways to mitigate the risk of breaches. For example, cybercriminals use phishing tactics to steal login details from unsuspecting users. You can conduct live simulations of phishing attempts by sending out a fake email to everyone in the company. See who will fall for the bait, then provide the necessary training to those who struggled with the exercise.
- Prohibit using Tor in the office
Provide clear guidance in your employee manuals when it comes to safe internet usage. This includes policies about the websites they are and aren’t allowed to visit. You can also block Tor so none of your employees can run it in their PC. Implement sanctions should these rules be broken.
Your data’s safety is non-negotiable. Binatech works hard to ensure that your information doesn’t get exploited by cybercriminals. With the dangers of the black market looming, your business can’t take chances. Sign up for a FREE dark web scan today.