There’s an area of the internet that is invisible to day-to-day online users, the Dark Web, often used for nefarious or criminal activity. It’s not something that you can just stumble upon. You have to purposely log in to get to it.
What is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web has evolved into a marketplace, an ecosystem for criminal activity. The markets that are available there are becoming extremely advanced and it’s not hard to see the attraction for criminal individuals, gangs or organisations.
The malware ecosystem
When it comes to the production of malware, the Dark Web has a major role. It is home to experts in various areas that form the “malware supply chain” and is used as the marketplace for these experts.
Experts locate vulnerabilities in software and then put this knowledge up for sale on the Dark Web. This is then purchased by someone who is a specialist in developing an “exploit”, a bit of software that can put into practice whatever it is that the vulnerability exposes. The exploit is then sold to one (or more) “distributors” of malware, who need a way of getting their malware payload on to your machine. The exploit is their vehicle to do that.
Why should businesses care?
Almost 50% UK SMEs spend less than £1,000 on cybersecurity. Yet, the Dark Web sits behind most of the business threats that we try to resolve through enhanced cybersecurity. Businesses must shield themselves and look out for warnings of being exposed to the Dark Web.
What can businesses look out for?
You might receive an email that aims to fool you into thinking that your device or computer has been compromised (sometimes called a phishing email). Techniques include blackmail or “sextortion”. Attackers claim they have footage of you in compromising situations e.g. watching pornography and try scare you into paying a ransom by threatening to send the footage to your spouse or to publish it on the web.
Information exposed on the Dark Web is not just emails, but personal details and passwords too. Within the email, the attackers might explain how they got your password, but it’s all nonsense. What they have done is bought your details from the Dark Web.
What can businesses do?
Sometimes, the passwords in these malicious emails are old passwords that are still floating around on the Dark Web. Ensure that you find and change all similar passwords in use.
Companies make extensive use of cloud-based systems and other third-party systems. If an ex-employee leaves your company, you can disable their account, but they might use the same password for other accounts. These passwords could appear on the Dark Web and it still has a negative impact on your business.
How can we support businesses against the Dark Web?
We now have researchers who combat these attackers. We work behind the scenes to identify when details related to a domain appear on the Dark Web. This gives companies early warning that someone’s account details have been posted, giving the affected business a chance to mitigate the risk that it poses.
Nimbus Blue Ltd will be exhibiting on stand 14 at The Ultimate Business Show which takes place at the AECC on June 12. The event is free to attend.