Why your small business needs dark web monitoring


Jul 15, 2022

Businesses are becoming more aware of the risks associated with phishing schemes and network probes, but many overlook the equally dangerous threat of the dark web. In fact, many small business owners are unaware that the dark web even exists. According to a study conducted by Switchfast, 26 percent of small business employees didn’t know anything about the dark web or the role that it plays in data breaches.

Cyber security has become an increasingly important issue for businesses of all sizes as the threat of cyber attacks continues to grow. If you're not aware of the risks associated with cyber attacks or the dark web, you could be putting your company at risk. Read on to find out all about the dark web and how a dark web scan from Milner can help prevent cyber attacks from affecting your business.

26% of small business employees don't know anything about the dark web or data breaches

What is the dark web and how does it affect my small business?

There are three parts to the internet: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. The surface web is the part of the internet where most people go online. The deep web is the part of the internet where many businesses and organizations store their data. The dark web is a small part of the internet that was created by the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in the late 1990s to protect their clandestine communications. It is only accessible by special software.

You can’t reach the dark web using a search engine. The dark web isn’t a specific site or page, but rather a type of network called a “darknet.” Any private and secure network that isn’t public or accessible through other means could be considered an example of a darknet. The dark web has some positive aspects in that it allows journalists and their sources to remain anonymous, but that anonymity has also made the dark web a hotbed of criminal activity

How can I protect my business against dark web threats?

The main thing you can do to protect yourself and your small business from the dark web is to deploy dark-web monitoring and response tools. With dark web monitoring, companies can select which identifiable information they want to monitor, as well as receive notifications when that data is discovered on dark web marketplaces. Because dark web monitoring is such a highly specialized and labor intensive activity, it typically involves outsourcing dark web monitoring to a credible company that can monitor the dark web on behalf of your small business and provide any alerts if they find your data has been breached. These companies can also perform what is known as a “dark web scan” which is typically a one-off scan to see if your sensitive and private information can already be found in dark web marketplaces. 

Here are some other ways you can protect your small business from dark web data breaches and dumps:

  • Set strict password protocols

    This is something that you need to ensure happens with all of your employees and even your clients as well. Much of the stolen data found on the dark web comes directly from business or online accounts held by your employees and clients. Some people use their passwords for more than one account, making it that much easier for bad actors to gain access to multiple accounts. A strong password should always contain numbers, letters and special characters, and should be changed frequently. It should never contain names, birthdays or any other “guessable” information. Set up two-factor authentication for your employees which gives you one extra layer of security. If your employees have a hard time remembering their passwords, have them set up a password manager that you’ve approved to handle the multiple passwords they may have to juggle. 

  • Involve your staff in security training

    By training your staff on the risks of their everyday behavior, not only will they protect themselves, but you will also protect your small business and the privacy of your clients. Make certain they are trained on safe email practices and how to avoid phishing scams, and make sure that your company has a mobile device security protocol, which includes letting your employees know to only transmit sensitive information when on a secure WiFi network and never while on public WiFi.

  • Guard your small business’s networks

    The basics of guarding your company’s networks include: building strong firewalls, having a disaster recovery plan, encrypting your data and using Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems.

  • Reach out to an expert for cyber security help

    While you can't ensure your information will remain private with absolute certainty, you can put protective measures in place to keep it safe. By knowing when sensitive information has been compromised, you can act quickly before too much damage is done.

    Milner offers dark web scanning services as part of its suite of IT security services. This dark web scan will search the dark web for you, looking for your information among the dark web's massive databases of stolen usernames, passwords, Social Security numbers, and credit card numbers listed for sale. If the company doing the scan finds your information, they will notify you of what they've found. You cannot remove this information from the dark web, however, knowing that it is out there for sale can help you take action to protect yourself and your small business against identity theft. 

Dark web scanning is an important part of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. If you are looking for IT security services that will help keep your company safe from potential digital threats, please contact us today! We have experts standing by ready to answer all of your questions about our service offerings or just chat with you in general about how we work.

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