Itechra: Blog


A Beginner’s Guide to Dark Web Monitoring

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Are you new to dark web monitoring? Though the term might not sound familiar, it’s incredibly important for your organization to prioritize this cyber security measure.


Experian defines dark web monitoring as the process of searching for and keeping track of personal information found on a portion of the internet not accessible via normal means.


If you’re wondering what exactly this “not accessible” portion of the internet entails, let us break it down for you.


The internet has three main sections:

  • Surface Web. This area of the internet is easily accessed by all users and has few restrictions. It’s more commonly known as the world wide web. This part of the internet is indexed by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
  • Deep Web. This part of the internet is not indexed by search engines. Users need special permission to access the deep web, as it is not publicly accessible. Think banking sites and apps that are password protected.
  • Dark Web. The final part of the internet is where all illegal activity takes place. These websites are heavily encrypted and are not indexed by any search engines.

When you use a dark web monitoring tool, it’s similar to a search engine for the dark web. Your IT service provider should be able to use this tool to find stolen information and sensitive data that’s being shared and sold among cyber criminals on the dark web.


How Things End Up on the Dark Web


So, you understand that the dark web isn’t something you want your organization to be a part of, but how exactly can your information end up there?


A majority of the data found on the dark web comes from a variety of cyber security breaches, including phishing, data breaches, skimming, malware, or a combination of these threats. 


Stolen information can include:


  • Social security numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Important passwords
  • Credit card information
  • Passport numbers
  • Medical records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Subscription and membership information
  • Driver’s license numbers


Cyber criminals tend to package this information and sell it on the dark web in bulk. Though they can be sold for quite a large profit, if your information ends up on the dark web, the consequences are even larger for you.


For example, if your passwords are shared, cyber criminals can log into any of the accounts where those passwords are used. If you use the same password for more than one account, this can have a snowball effect on what hackers can access.


If your bank account information is leaked, criminals can drain your accounts and make fraudulent purchases. And if your Social Security number is sold, the criminal who bought it can open accounts in your name, file fraudulent claims, and more.


What to Do When Your Information is on the Dark Web


If your information ends up on the dark web, it’s important to take action immediately. This means changing all of your passwords, keeping an eye on your credit card and bank statements, and contacting anyone who might be impacted by those who now have access to your accounts.


Businesses whose information ends up on the dark web need to respond as quickly as possible. Work with your IT service provider to stay on top of any data breaches and scams. Chances are, you not only have the information of your organization to consider, but the information of your clients and customers too.


Your reputation as well as a variety of legal consequences are at stake, so make sure you’re prepared should your data end up on the dark web.


Who Needs Dark Web Monitoring


You might be asking yourself, do I really need dark web monitoring services? Regardless of the size of your business, we can assure you that the answer is a firm yes.


If you have access to private data or sensitive information, it’s smart to invest in a dark web monitoring tool. 


These tools, unlike other run-of-the-mill cyber security tools, will provide the insights you need to stay safe from the dark web. If you’re prioritizing the safety of your clients and customers, you’ll want to talk to your IT service provider about how to start monitoring the dark web.


Cyber criminals don’t just target larger corporations. Small businesses are involved in data breaches every day. With smaller cyber security budgets, many hackers actually target these businesses, since they typically have an easier time accessing their information.


Your business is a real target for data breaches, and if you want to protect your information, you’ll want to start taking dark web monitoring seriously.


How to Protect Your Info From the Dark Web


Looking to keep your information off of the dark web? There are plenty of things you can do to keep your accounts safe.


  1. Use a password manager and change your passwords regularly. Never use the same password for more than one account. Look into password randomization tools if you’re struggling to come up with unique, strong passwords. LastPass is one of our top recommendations for a password manager, and you can learn more about it here.
  2. Conduct regular cyber security trainings for your company. All employees should be aware of the cyber security risks they face on a regular basis. Conduct trainings and make sure everyone is up to date on the latest cyber security practices.
  3. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). We break down the benefits of MFA in this post. It’s an excellent tool to use to protect your accounts and add an extra layer of security.
  4. Work with a professional IT service provider. Should your budget allow, working with cyber security professionals is one of the best ways to protect your data and information. They’ll keep your organization up to date on the latest tools and softwares you can use to stay safe.
  5. Regularly back up your data. If you’re using a cloud service, you’ll also want to make sure it’s encrypted. Backing up your data will make recovery easier should anything happen to it.
  6. Avoid outside networks. If your employees are working from home or in public spaces, make sure they understand the risks of using a public network. Using a VPN can help with this, which we touch on here.


Advantages of Dark Web Monitoring


No matter the size of your business, you can benefit from dark web monitoring. With 24/7 protection, you can have the peace of mind knowing your data and information are safe.


Dark web monitoring can:


  1. Protect your organization from any data breaches and alert you to any kind of breach the moment it occurs.
  2. Reduce the chances of cyber criminals selling your data and information on the dark web. 
  3. Prevent the information of your clients and customers from being stolen and sold, as your monitoring service will protect any and all data from being exploited on the dark web.
  4. Detect any threat that might be potentially harmful to your business, whether big or small. No breach will go unnoticed when you use the right dark web monitoring service.


What to Look for in Dark Web Monitoring Services


If you’re ready to add dark web monitoring to your list of must-haves, you’ll want to make sure you work with the right provider. At Itechra, we provide detailed dark web monitoring services, so you can rest easy knowing your information isn’t at risk.


Here’s what to look for when it comes to dark web monitoring:


  1. Detailed reports and data tracking. Your provider should be able to share information with you in terms of what incidents took place and what risks were detected.
  2. Threat alerts. Your dark web monitoring provider should also share real-time alerts with you should any of your data be found on the dark web. You’ll want to be aware of anything that has been compromised.
  3. Supply chain threat monitoring. If you work in an industry that works with third-party vendors, your provider can share information that will allow you to determine whether or not they’re a risk to your company.
  4. Continued expertise and open communication. Working with a dark web monitor is an investment, and one that’s always going to be worth making. You simply need to make sure your provider has experience in the area and will remain honest while sharing their findings. You should feel safe knowing that your provider will alert you to any problems. 


Have any questions when it comes to the dark web? That’s what we’re here for. Send us a message today to learn more about how you can get started with dark web monitoring.

Itechra Team

Itechra Team

From 2000, we set out to solve what was then a major problem for small businesses: having difficulty keeping up with their IT needs. We noticed that large corporations often had multiple employees specializing in different aspects of the industry and realized this approach could work well also among smaller organizations who might not be able to sustain such teams, but still require help managing an oversized workload. We provide a single resource for all your IT issues.