Threat Detection

Dark Web Monitoring Solution: It's Time to be Proactive

Learn how to effectively monitor the dark web and receive timely notifications if your data appears in this hidden segment of the internet.

February 9, 2024

Dark web monitoring is essential in shielding your data from cybercriminals. This proactive approach detects leaked information on the dark web, allowing for timely responses to potential threats and exposed data. In this article, we’ll explain the dangers and threats that the dark web poses to businesses and look at how dark web monitoring services can boost your cybersecurity strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Dark web monitoring is essential for identifying compromised information and cyber threats, employing continuous scanning, real-time alerts, and predictive threat analysis.
  • A comprehensive dark web monitoring strategy requires customization, scalability, real-time alerts, integration with existing IT infrastructure, employee training, and continuous improvement to adapt to evolving threats.

What is the dark web?

That’s a question that 31% of U.S. adults may ask when hearing the term. A 2022 survey revealed only 21% are “very familiar” with the dark web, and 48% are only “somewhat familiar.” The rest have either never heard of the dark web or have heard of it but don’t know what it is, let alone understand the importance of dark web monitoring and its role in cybersecurity.

The Dark Web vs The Deep Web

The dark web is a part of the internet that is inaccessible through traditional search engines or browsers, like Google or Bing. Instead, it requires specialized software, such as the Tor browser, to access it. This hidden part of the internet (not to be confused with the deep web) is often associated with illegal activities and has become a popular marketplace where you can go to dark web forums or sites to buy and sell stolen data, including compromised passwords, breached credentials, intellectual property, and other sensitive data.

Dangers and threats on the dark web

While some perceive the dark web as an outdated platform for criminal and malicious activity only, that’s not the case. It’s an anonymous online space that can either be appreciated or abused. However, that abuse is one of the main concerns in any cybersecurity strategy. Cyber threats are rising, and the dark web is partly responsible and very involved.

We’ve seen an increase in dark web threats such as credential-based cyberattacks deploying multiples phishing campaigns using multiple accounts to target organizations. For example, just days before this publishing, the popular remote desktop application AnyDesk announced a security breach on February 2. It was quickly revealed by cyber news outlets that the stolen AnyDesk login credentials were already being sold on the dark web.

What is dark web monitoring?

Dark web monitoring is the process of surveying and scan the dark web for any mentions or activity related to a particular individual or organization. Dark web monitoring involves using specialized tools and techniques to search the dark web for any potential threats or risks to an individual or organization.

These tools can locate stolen or leaked information—like compromised passwords, personally identifiable information (Pii) and breached credentials—being shared and sold among cybercriminals and notify you if you’ve been breached.

Dark web monitoring tools provide higher-quality detection of threats on the dark web than standard antivirus and antimalware programs or identity theft monitoring tools. The goal of antivirus and antimalware programs is to prevent malicious code from running from the start, but they’re ineffective after information has been stolen. With dark web monitoring tools, you can search for confidential or stolen data, including trade secrets, proprietary information, and login credentials.

Dark web monitoring helps businesses identify when a data breach occurred by detecting leaked or stolen information on the dark web, signaling an imminent cyber attack or the actual occurrence of data breaches.

Features of dark web monitoring

Dark web monitoring has some distinct features and characteristics. Below are the main features you should know.

  • Threat intelligence: Dark web monitoring tools decide which sources of threat intelligence are important - knowledge or data that enables the prevention or mitigation of hacking.
  • Threat hunting: Dark web monitoring discover emerging threats and protects individuals and businesses from attacks. The service acts as though a cybercriminal has access to the user’s system and investigates to identify unusual activity that indicates malicious behavior.
  • Rapid incident response: Dark web monitoring allows the user to quickly detect when cybercriminals have access to their sensitive data instead of going months without knowing that a breach even occurred. A rapid incident response plan can prevent potential data leaks.
  • Security platform integration: Security teams can enhance their entire security stack by integrating the data collected from dark web monitoring into other security platforms. This integration allows security tools to provide more accurate insights across the entire security stack, focusing on potential threats and network vulnerabilities.

As we’ve been over, dark web monitoring can be a valuable tool in the fight against cybercrime, and setting up alerts is a key part of that.

Dark web monitoring for business

No matter the size of your business, you can benefit from dark web monitoring solutions by using it to help secure your data and prevent cybercrime, such as credential-based attacks and ransomware, before they occur.

The dark web is evolving, and that means your business needs more than basic cybersecurity protection like endpoint security. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are finding workarounds for security protocols faster than they’re being updated.

A dark web monitor strategy allows your business to be more proactive by actively monitoring and detecting compromised assets from data breaches. Knowing what data cybercriminals have of yours allows you to stay ahead of attacks that depend on stolen identity data, like ransomware, account takeover, and online fraud.

Benefits of dark web monitoring for business

Dark web monitoring provides several key benefits that are crucial for any business that holds sensitive data. Here are a few of those benefits to keep in mind when considering making dark web monitoring a part of your cybersecurity strategy.

Around-the-clock surveillance

Dark web monitoring scans the dark web continuously, making sure your data and content are kept from the hands of cybercriminals.

Early detection to remediate security threats

Real-time alerts provided by dark web monitoring tools enable security teams to identify data breaches, compromising sensitive information such as PII data, session credentials, or leaked data immediately. This early warning system allows them to respond promptly and deploy remediation procedures before malicious actors can use it to hack into your system. Additionally, these tools can detect when such data, like credit card information, is compromised and offered for sale on the dark web, further enhancing the security posture against phishing or malware attacks.

Customer trust

If you have customers who trust you with their data, that trust could be lost in the event of a data breach. Dark web monitoring lets your customers know you’re committed to protecting their data, further boosting your reputation and customer confidence.

Competitive advantage

Monitoring the dark web allows your company to remain ahead of your competition by becoming aware of emerging threats before they do. Business partners will also likely trust you if they see that you take cybersecurity more seriously than your competitors.

Regulatory compliance

There’s also the matter of dark web threats and cybersecurity compliance. Dark web monitoring can help your business comply with data privacy rules and regulations that relate to personal data. This helps you avoid significant penalties and fines that could otherwise hinder your business operations.

Popular Dark Web Monitoring Tools

There are various dark web monitoring providers available in the market today. Some of the popular ones include:

  • Dark Web ID: Dark Web ID is a comprehensive tool that scans the dark web and alerts organizations if their credentials or other sensitive information is found. It provides real-time monitoring and analysis of hidden forums, marketplaces, and social media to detect potential threats before threat actors can use them.
  • Recorded Future: Recorded Future is an intelligence-led security tool that provides real-time threat intelligence from the dark web and other sources. It gathers information from underground forums, hacker communities, and other illicit online platforms to help organizations stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.
  • ZeroFOX: ZeroFOX is a dark web monitoring tool that focuses on social media platforms. It scans social media networks, including the dark web, for any mentions of an organization's brand, executives, or other sensitive information such as social security numbers or credit card data. This tool helps organizations identify potential risks, such as impersonations, phishing attempts or malware attacks, and take immediate action to mitigate them
  • SpyCloud: SpyCloud is a dark web monitoring tool that specializes in detecting compromised credentials data. It continuously monitors the dark web and underground forums for stolen usernames and passwords associated with an organization. By leveraging a vast database of compromised credentials, SpyCloud alerts organizations if any of their employees' or customers' credentials are at risk, allowing them to take necessary actions such as resetting passwords or enabling multi-factor authentication. You can use their API to integrate with multiple security solutions.
  • DarkOwl: DarkOwl is a comprehensive dark web scan that focuses on monitoring hidden services and marketplaces. It gathers information from these areas of the dark web and provides organizations with actionable intelligence to protect their businesses from cyber threats. DarkOwl's extensive database allows it to detect potential data breaches, intellectual property theft, or other malicious activities, giving organizations the opportunity to respond proactively.

Things to consider before committing to a dark web monitoring service provider?

When considering a dark web monitoring service provider, it's important to evaluate:

  • Scope of Monitoring: the monitoring scope should encompass a wide range of sources, including forums, marketplaces, and private sites known for illicit activities and what type of data can it bring?
  • Alert System: The service should offer real-time alert notifications to promptly inform you of any detected threats, allowing for quick response to potential breaches.
  • Pricing: Evaluate the cost of dark web solutions against their benefits and ensure that the cost fits within your cybersecurity budget.
  • Scalability: The service must be scalable to accommodate expanding data volume and monitoring needs.
  • Quality of data set: It should be comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date to ensure that all potential threats are identified and addressed promptly. Additionally, the service should be capable of distinguishing between false positives and genuine threats, ensuring that organizations can prioritize their responses effectively

Final thoughts on dark web monitoring

It’s important for everyone to safeguard their data from cyber criminals, but especially business owners who are at high risk. By adding a dark web monitoring solution to your existing security stack, you’ll have a more secure and robust solution to defend against cybercrime. A proactive approach helps further protect your assets, brand reputation, and customer trust.

However, it’s also important to remember that the dark web is just one factor of cybersecurity, and an all-around solution is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is darknet monitoring?

Darknet monitoring is the process of searching for and continuously tracking information on the dark web, which is an encrypted portion of the internet not visible to the general public. It involves tracking information about organizations, users, or malicious actors.

How does dark web monitoring work?

Dark web monitoring works by continuously scanning millions of dark web sources to identify any compromised information related to an organization.

What are some key features of dark web monitoring tools?

Dark web monitoring tools offer real-time alerts, customizable monitoring parameters, and scalability and integration capabilities, making them essential for any security operations

What are some best practices for dark web monitoring?

Regularly update monitoring parameters, collaborate with industry peers, and leverage automation and AI for improved threat detection when practicing dark web monitoring. These best practices help enhance security measures, mitigate threats, and minimize potential risks.

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