Shining a Light on the "Dark Web"

Topics: Cyber Liability

The Dark Web is not as mysterious as you might think. In fact, most of the sites that exist on the Dark Web are public sites that can be accessed by anyone, provided you know where to look. If your clients don’t secure their company’s data and a cyber crook hacks their system – valuable data could be sold to the highest bidder.

What is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is a collection of websites that mask their IP addresses using programs such as Tor or I2P. By doing so, they make it impossible for search engines like Google or Bing to locate them and add them to their search results. Instead, users have to use the same software as the website (most commonly Tor) and know where to look for the sites they want to find.

Because these sites have hidden IP addresses and don’t appear in search results, it makes them very difficult to monitor and regulate.

This anonymity makes the Dark Web an ideal location to conduct illegal activity. You can find just about anything that is controlled or otherwise generally illegal to sell. If you can think it, it’s probably already there. And let’s not forget stolen personal and financial information.

On the Dark Web, you can find credit card information, Social Security numbers, login and password combinations, and any other form of identifying information. The authorities know the information is out there. Unfortunately, there’s not much they can do to stop it. The sites that host these types of sales are nearly untraceable, as are the identities of the persons buying and selling on them.

Even when authorities are able to discover the location of a site, taking one down doesn’t stop the trade. Back in 2013, when authorities shut down the best known black market site on the Dark Web, Silk Road, it took only a few weeks for Silk Road 2.0 to take its place.

How To Keep Data Breach-Proof

So what does all this mean for the more innocent web users among us? Remember that big breach that happened a few months ago? Or the one a few months before that? Every time a company gets breached, there’s an identity thief looking to sell the stolen information. Sites like Silk Road make doing that as easy as selling your old golf clubs on your favorite auction website.

The Dark Web is just one more reason it’s critical for your clients to keep their customer information secure – and keep an eye on your own data while you’re at it.

Cyber coverage is one way to keep assets covered in the event of an attack. Cyber Insurance policies often include a number of services to help companies prevent a cyber attack, as well as respond to a breach that has already occurred. In addition, AmTrust offers educational services, such as online educational material and loss control and risk management information for agents and their clients.

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