04 Oct Dark Web Guide: How To Keep Your Data Away From The Dark Web
The dark web isn’t just the backdrop of a gripping spy novel; it’s a very real and pervasive digital threat for businesses worldwide. If you’re a business owner or an IT professional, you’ll understand the unsettling thought of your company’s data being put up for sale on the dark web. In this second part of our guide to the dark web, we will delve into how to keep your business’s data secure and how to monitor the dark web for potential breaches.
A Quick Recap on the Dark Web
As mentioned in our last article, the dark web is an encrypted segment of the deep web, which is not accessible by standard search engines. For this reason, a lot of criminal activity online gravitates towards this corner of the internet, where sensitive data is sold, as well as malicious tools and services.
As a digital marketplace for criminal individuals and networks, protecting your company’s data from ending up on the dark web is paramount for retaining a strong reputation, customer trust, and undisrupted business continuity.
First, let’s explore some key steps you can take to secure your business from malicious access by cyber criminals, and then explore how you can scan the dark web safely for signs of a data breach, enabling you to respond proactively before more damage can be caused.
Steps to Protect Your Business Data from the Dark Web
Cyber criminals will use a range of methods to try to gain access to your data to sell on the dark web, it’s also worth bearing in mind that in some cases, they may be focused on causing harm to a business on behalf of a third party.
Some methods focus more on people, such as phishing attacks that try to manipulate users into taking a compromising action, while others use automated tools that crawl the web for vulnerabilities to exploit, granting access to business networks. By implementing the following measures, you can boost the cyber security posture of your business, preventing sensitive data from ending up on the dark web.
- Implement Robust Passwords: Mandate the use of strong passwords across your organisation. Emphasise combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider the implementation of a company-wide password manager to keep track of passwords efficiently.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): An essential layer for businesses, 2FA ensures that even if a password is compromised, there’s another barrier before access is granted, this is usually a code sent via SMS or email.
- Software Updates: Ensure all corporate software and tools, especially security-related ones, are updated regularly. Outdated software can be a gateway for cyber threats. You can use a patch management tool to streamline software updates across your IT environment.
- Staff Training: It’s not just about tech; people play a significant role too. Regularly train your employees on the latest cyber security threats and best practices, especially on phishing emails which focus on exploiting users.
- Wi-Fi Network Security: Your company’s Wi-Fi should be impenetrable. Use the latest encryption standards, change default credentials, and even consider hiding your SSID.
- Monitor Transactions: Especially for businesses, monitoring financial transactions for anything unusual can detect threats early on.
- Data Backups: Regular and secure backups can be a lifesaver in the event of data loss or ransomware attacks, enabling your business to get back on track.
- Firewalls: Ensure that robust firewalls protect your business networks. Firewalls are like a digital doorway that regulates what traffic can enter and exit your organisation’s network.
- VPNs for Extra Protection: Encourage or mandate the use of VPNs, especially when employees are accessing company data remotely.
- Stay Updated: Keep abreast of the latest in the cyber security world. Knowledge can be your first line of defence and help you to take preventative action.
Scanning the Dark Web for Data Breaches
As a proactive measure, businesses can use certain tools to monitor the dark web for signs of their data. Here’s how:
Use Specialised Monitoring Services
There are professional services like Recorded Future, Digital Shadows, or Terbium Labs that offer dark web monitoring services. These solutions will continuously scan dark web forums, marketplaces, and other platforms for mentions of your company or specific data sets, enabling you to respond much more quickly to both find and correct vulnerabilities and to take steps to protect your customers and business before further harm can be caused.
There are a number of platforms that offer dark web scanning features that enable businesses to be alerted if account credentials or sensitive information has been posted onto the dark web. These tools include platforms such as Echosec Beacon and ACID Cyber Intelligence for example.
Collaborate with a Managed Service Provider
A managed service provider with expertise in cyber security will be able to act as an outsourced partner for monitoring the dark web as well as providing a range of deep cyber protections in place. They can help to both prevent data from reaching the dark web in the first place by mitigating threats, as well as help you to respond quickly and proactively should sensitive information appear there.
The dark web, though seemingly distant, is a looming threat in today’s digital business landscape. With cyber crime escalating, businesses can’t afford to be passive. Regular checks, bolstered security measures, and a vigilant approach are a non-negotiable in today’s world. By implementing these steps and ensuring continuous monitoring, you can ensure that you’re not just defending your data, but also preserving your reputation and trust in the marketplace.
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