Traversing the Deep and Dark Web Isn’t Just for Hackers Anymore.
Understanding the nuances of cybersecurity and the Deep and Dark Web (DDW) is the best way to keep your data and organization safe.
In years past, talking about the “dark web” or the “deep web” was something that wasn’t done in polite company. However, today’s information security professionals are now bringing these terms to the forefront of business conversations.
While traversing the DDW may sound a bit perilous, not everything on it is illegal or bad. It’s time to clear up some confusions that surround these hidden parts of the Internet. If so, you can leverage your knowledge to proactively confront hackers and potential cyberattacks.
What is the DDW?
The Deep and Dark Webs are actually two different entities. The Deep Web refers to information on the Internet that’s not accessible by standard search engines such as Bing and Google. It doesn’t usually contain criminal information, but, instead, transactional details such as Instagram account information, banking transactions and confidential emails—Simply, data that’s stored behind a password-protected paywall and hidden from general assess.
The Dark Web is slightly more nefarious, and is technically a portion of the deep web that sells illegal products such as drugs and weapons. The dark web also provides cover for journalists and areas where the Internet is heavily censored.
The Dangers of the Dark Web
One of the key tools used to access the Dark Web is anonymization software such as the Tor browser. With it, people can surf and connect anonymously to these dark webpages. It’s unclear how much of the DDW is being used by cybercriminals, and how much is simply being used by people who choose to remain undetected and unidentified.
It’s no secret that the Dark Web is a clearinghouse for the purchase of DIY tools for hacking—essentially tool kits that help less-sophisticated hackers launch attacks through malware, ransomware and phishing emails. While the average person purchasing these kits isn’t suddenly going to be a hacking genius, streetwise actors make these contacts to further their risky agendas.
Security Changes Are on the Horizon.
A key element of concern is the upcoming upgrade to .onion services managed by the Tor Project. These are designed to upgrade the privacy and security of individuals who want to remain anonymous. The majority of people using these services are completely above the law, and use them to circumvent censorship.
However, the concern lingers that those hosting servers on the Dark Web are now safe is they want a darker path for their surfing. In the past, Dark Web sites were discoverable if you knew their specific location. However, the updates slated for late 2017 are expected to provide a basis for next-generation encryption of applications. This would be a marked departure from the widely-publicized. onion URLs found on social media sites and traditional websites.
Security Threats from the DDW
Because most cybercriminals originate their attacks from within the Dark Web, understand the DDW is the first step towards preventing hacking threats of your business data,
Upcoming NY state regulatory requirements require that organizations take responsibility for formal assessment of cybersecurity risks, and implement an active cybersecurity program designed to address those risks. This requires a thorough understanding of the Deep and Dark Web.
This information can benefit a broader audience than just information security professionals, as DDW data may hint at security or fraud schemes against your organization—or even physical attacks against your company executives. It would be difficult to overstate the benefit that can be gained from taking steps to ensure you’re as well-prepared and knowledgeable as possible about these threats.
If you find it difficult to get your business leaders to invest in cybersecurity education at the level required to gain a true understanding of the DDW, let them know that the payoff can be significant in the form of details about competitors, mergers & acquisitions, and risks to your business.