Seven Essential Facts about the Dark Web You Need to Know
Any company or individual with an online presence faces threats from the Dark Web. The following facts about this little-known part of the Internet help protect against those threats.
You may feel you can ignore the dark web the way you avoid dark alleys at night. That is not the case, since you and your company are exposed to some of the threats and activities that lurk within the dark web. That is why law enforcement authorities and major media firms maintain presences on the dark web to monitor information flow.
Facts About The Dark Web
Here are seven facts that underline the importance of understanding the operations of the dark web:
- The “dark web” is not synonymous with the term “deep web.” Everything on the Internet maintained behind a paywall or not indexed is part of the deep web. Most people are surprised to learn that up to 99 percent of the Internet is not accessible by normal search engines. All information such as fee-oriented content, memberships, and confidential items such as medical records make up the deep web. That small remaining percent of the searchable web is generally classified as the “clear web.”
- The dark web makes up only a small portion of the deep web. No one can accurately determine the size of the dark web. However, estimates are it makes up no more than five percent of the total Internet.
- The dark web is only accessible by downloading a specialized browser called Tor. This is an anonymizing browser that bounces users between multiple proxy servers. That process cloaks the IP address and identity of users. The system is slow and often frustrating because of this rerouting routine, but it serves its intended purpose of anonymity.
- Despite its name, not all occupants or activities of the dark web are sinister or illegal. The sites originated as the Tor network to facilitate anonymous communications. It has proven itself as a valuable tool in societies and nations where communications are monitored or censored. It also supports several whistleblower sites. These have assisted in addressing government and corporate wrongdoing.
- Beyond the acceptable uses of the dark web, it is increasingly hosting illegal and malicious players. The latest studies indicate that sixty percent of the participants engage in activities harmful to corporations and individuals. These include selling passwords and account information, offering guns and drugs, and providing hacked accounts access.
The types of services or applications found on the dark web and deemed harmful or presenting risks fall into 12 categories. These include facilitating DDoS attacks, phishing, financial data, intellectual property, and trade secrets. Malicious users utilize one or more of these services to defraud, disrupt, or devalue legitimate enterprises.
- The dark web’s primary currency is bitcoin, although other types of cryptocurrency are sometimes an option. This allows a transaction that keeps both sides of the buy-sell arrangement anonymous. Such arrangements also leave the field open to scammers. Thus, the dark web presents multiple risks with every transaction. While law enforcement has gained expertise at cracking some illegal activity on the dark web, it remains a caveat emptor environment in the extreme.
- Services are available for legitimate companies to determine if their information is being marketed or exposed on the dark web. There may not be much that can be done if it is. Yet, the awareness of a compromise can be useful in limiting the damage done.
The dark web is here to stay. Individuals and executives are well-served by remaining knowledgeable about their activities.
With over 35 years in the business of supporting and implementing technology for the SME market, and 6 years previously in Corporate IT and Voice. I have seen a great deal of change. The only common thread is I have always focused on the Business Wise application of Technology. We always try to look 5 years ahead of the current technology to make sure our clients are on the right track to meet current and future needs.