A quick rundown of the dark web: What your business needs to know
The dark web is often thought of as a hotbed of cybercrime. However, there’s so much more to it than stolen data and shady transactions. It’s important to understand the dark web in terms of potential threats it can pose, as well as common misconceptions about its use.
Dark web: What is it, and does it pose a threat?
While the dark web is a part of the internet, it is hidden from normal users and is not indexed by any search engines. It requires certain configurations and/or special software to be accessed. It is used for a variety of illicit activities, primarily dealing drugs, weapons, and stolen credit card information.
The dark web has been linked to organized crime networks, terrorist groups, and hackers. In fact, cybercrime groups use the dark web to hire IT talents. A recent study by Kaspersky revealed that hacking gangs post job ads for positions such as software developers and “skilled attack specialists” on numerous dark web sites. Many of these job ads offer attractive compensation, with salaries ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 per month, making them irresistible to hackers for hire.
Due to the hidden nature of the dark web, the amount of data shared on it can be difficult to quantify accurately. This makes it more difficult for businesses to trace leaked or stolen information, which could be passing hands on the dark web.
Individuals are also at risk of identity theft or extortion if they have personal information stored on the dark web. For instance, hackers can use login credentials they got on the dark web to launch ransomware and phishing scams on individuals and businesses.
Can the dark web be used for good?
Despite being known as a hub of illegal activity, the dark web offers legitimate (i.e., legal) uses, such as providing platforms that serve as anonymous messaging boards and forums used by whistleblowers and journalists.
For example, some organizations have used the dark web for encrypted communication and other secure activities, such as sharing confidential documents or communicating with sources in repressive countries. It is also possible to use the dark web to host “darknets,” or networks of computers connected through Tor, a free software that anonymizes data and makes it hard for anyone to track its origin.
What are the myths and misconceptions regarding the dark web?
Given its mysterious nature, the dark web is surrounded by numerous myths and misconceptions regarding its existence and purpose. Here are some of the most common ones:
It’s illegal to access the dark web
Accessing the dark web itself is not illegal, as it is just a collection of websites hosted on special networks and services that make them difficult to track. However, any activities carried out on the dark web may be deemed illegal, depending on the jurisdiction.
Its main purpose is to help criminals carry out crimes
While it’s true that criminals may use the dark web to facilitate their criminal activities, this does not mean that it is only used for such purposes. The dark web can be used for a variety of non-illegal activities, such as bypassing censorship laws or accessing content not available to the public.
It’s impossible to be tracked on the dark web
It may be more difficult for someone to track your activities on the dark web, but it is not impossible. This is why it is always best to be mindful of your activities while on the dark web and take precautions to protect yourself from being tracked.
Illegal content is easily accessible on the dark web
Although the dark web provides access to some contraband, it is not as simple as just typing a website’s URL into your browser and obtaining them. The dark web consists of multiple layers, each with different levels of security measures in place.
The dark web and the deep web are the same
The deep web is something else entirely, and the dark web is only a small subset of it.
The dark web is an intriguing and complex ecosystem that can be used for both good and bad. It is vital to stay informed about the potential risks that come with using this ecosystem, as well as the opportunities for conducting secure activities online. Despite the many risks associated with using the dark web, there are ways to protect yourself when using it.
Want to learn more about how you can protect your Utah or Salt Lake City business from numerous threats, including those posed by criminals on the dark web? Request a free consultation from NetWize’s IT security experts today.