Arachnophobes may have found it difficult to log into AOL back in the halcyon days of the internet - why would anyone who is afraid of spiders voluntarily go onto a web?
We’re joking, of course, but while the internet we use day-to-day can be filled with some unseemly characters, the reason it’s called the web has little to do with spiders and much more to do with interconnectivity; a web of pages and sites all linking to each other.
The dark web, on the other hand, is much more worthy of its creepy namesake. To get anything done on the dark web, you need to scuttle about in hard-to-reach places, using strange software to access sites that can’t be found with a Google search.
What is the dark web? Why does it matter for business owners in Manitoba, and what can you do to protect yourself from some of the shady characters who dwell there? We’re going to answer all of those questions and more.
Let’s dive into the dark web:
The surface web, the deep web, and the dark web
The surface web is what most of us interact with every day - it’s defined as being the part of the web that’s indexed by search engines. That means you can find pages on the surface web with a simple Google search.
The deep web is just the opposite - everything that isn’t being indexed by search engines. The dark web is part of the deep web, but it’s only a small part. The deep web includes things like the page you use to access your bank account - pages hidden behind a login screen.
The dark web is a part of the deep web that can only be accessed by using special software or hardware. When most people talk about the dark web, they’re talking about the dark web that can be accessed by a specific web browser called the Tor browser.
Why you should care about the dark web
Using the dark web isn’t illegal - if it were, we wouldn’t have linked you to a dark web browser. In fact, many reputable organizations, like the BBC, have a presence on the dark web. In the case of the BBC, it’s to provide whistleblowers, political dissidents, and others with a method of transmitting information to journalists anonymously.
In fact, Tor was created by the US Navy to anonymize military communications. They succeeded in their goal. Unfortunately, not everyone who uses anonymous networks has a goal as admirable as the BBC.
The dark web is used by drug dealers, arms dealers, assassins, hackers, and other criminals as a way to offer services completely anonymously. Adding to this anonymity, the marketplaces on the dark web almost exclusively deal in cryptocurrencies, making it almost impossible to track purchases.
As a decision maker for your business - and as a human being - hackers are the main reason you should care about the dark web. Hackers almost never use the data they obtain themselves - instead, they sell it to the highest bidder. We’ve created an infographic of what your personal information might be worth on the dark web - your business information could be worth much more.
How to protect yourself from dark web hackers
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protect yourself from hackers by shoring up your network security. A combination of soft measures, like educating your team on cybersecurity risks, and hard measures, like email filters and MDR (medical device reporting), are necessary.
If you suspect you may have been the victim of a data breach, you can use our free Dark Web scanning tool to locate any data that may be on the dark web. You can then take steps to mitigate the damage caused by that data - contacting banks, changing passwords, and so on.
The best way to protect yourself is to have a dedicated team helping you secure your network and address threats. At Constant C Technology Group, we offer comprehensive IT services, including network security services.