Why Dark Web Monitoring is Crucial to Protecting Your Business

Why Dark Web Monitoring is Crucial to Protecting Your Business

The dark web is home to a ton of criminal activity—including a myriad of cybercrime services that can irreparably damage your company.

You can find cybercriminals taking advantage of anonymity and operating illegal businesses such as selling personal information – compromised credentials, email addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers and other kinds of personal data and financial information can all be bought and sold on the dark web. Cybercriminals attack businesses worldwide—but especially in the United States. In 2020, the U.S. was the target of 46% of cyberattacks, more than double any other country, according to Microsoft.  

Organizations must invest in a dark web monitoring tool to protect their team from potential threats—even identity theft. Keep reading to learn more about dark web monitoring, its benefits and other ways to protect company information from reaching the dark web.

What Is Dark Web Monitoring?

The dark web is the non-visible collection of Internet sites unavailable on public search engines. It can only be accessible by a specialized web browser, which keeps Internet activity anonymous and, as a result, creates an environment that is known for illegal activity. 

Dark web monitoring is a process that protects organizations from the dangers of the dark web by searching the dark web to uncover if an organization’s private information is on it. If and when this information is found, alerts are sent out to the company to allow it to take quick action and secure the breached accounts.

Over 24 billion usernames and password combinations are in circulation in cybercriminal marketplaces, many on the dark web, according to Digital Shadows White Paper. To put this number into perspective, this is equivalent to nearly four compromised records for every person on the planet!

Why Your Business Needs Dark Web Protection 

Below are some of the benefits of dark web monitoring: 

  • Identifies data breaches sooner — The moment your information is found available on the dark web, a dark web monitoring tool will notify you and your team immediately, prompting you to take action and mitigate damages.
  • Prepares organizations from future threat actors — If your company’s information makes its way to the dark web, dark web monitoring gives you insight into your network’s vulnerabilities. It forces your team to assess your security posture and improve it to prevent future attacks and breaches.
  • Protects your team’s personal information — Dark web monitoring notifies you when any of your vault records are found online. This knowledge allows you to take action quickly, potentially preventing criminals from using stolen information for extortion or blackmail.

How Does Dark Web Monitoring Work?

If a user submits their email address to a dark web monitoring tool, the service scours the dark web for any breached accounts that match the email address. 

For example, BreachWatch is a dark web monitoring add-on feature that works with Keeper Password Manager. The powerful feature monitors the dark web for breached accounts by matching records stored within your Keeper Vault. The dark web monitoring tool delivers in-depth monitoring of billions of records on the dark web while upholding our zero-knowledge security architecture. BreatchWatch offers:

  • Automatic notifications for any records in your vault that match a breached credential.
  • Remediation of breached passwords within the app.
  • Unlimited scans of employee passwords on unlimited devices.

Suppose the tool comes across a compromised account. In that case, it prompts you to resolve the issue by requesting you go to the affected site and update your credentials. The Keeper browser extension will recognize you’re updating your credentials and prompt you on-screen to generate and save new credentials on the existing record. If you ignore the alert, the record will be skipped on future scans, and your vault will continue to show that that record is at risk. 

BreachWatch also integrates with security information and event management (SIEM) tools to protect against more sophisticated attacks. 

How to Protect Your Business Information from the Dark Web

In addition to using a dark web monitoring service, teams should practice good cyber hygiene and implement solutions that can prevent their details from landing on the dark web. Use these tips below to strengthen your company’s security posture.

Practice Good Cyber Hygiene

Before equipping your company with advanced tools and devices to upgrade cybersecurity, start by educating your team on good cyber hygiene practices. Below are some rules to follow:

  • Practice password hygiene. Use a different password for all online accounts. Rotate passwords every 30 to 90 days. Use autofill to prevent cybercriminals from obtaining your information using keystroke logging tools.
  • Know how to spot a phishing scam. Social engineering tactics put your team at risk. Be sure employees watch out for phishing scams by noticing common signs such as grammatical errors, suspicious email addresses and a tone of urgency.
  • Invest in basic security software. Install antivirus and malware software to strengthen your cyber posture. Update outdated software and equipment since older models and versions may have increased vulnerabilities.

Use a Password Manager

A password management tool offers several benefits that help prevent data breaches from occurring. Some useful features include strong password generation and multi-factor authentication (MFA). In fact, just MFA can block over 99.9% of account compromise attacks, according to Microsoft.

Password managers provide you with a digital vault containing all your credentials. While some dark web monitoring tools only search for a single email, Keeper’s BreachWatch add-on protects all the credentials inside your vault by scanning the dark web and searching for any compromised records on the dark web that match records in your vault. 

Create a Plan in Case of a Data Breach

Even if you educate your employees and invest in the top security solutions, one little mistake can put your whole team at risk. Be proactive by creating an incident response plan for if (and when) a data breach occurs.

Your plan should include action items to:

  • Contain the breach. Disable devices and disconnect your network to prevent a cyberattacker from causing further damage. 
  • Alert the authorities. Get in touch with Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Depending on the severity of the breach, IC3 team will forward it to federal, state, local or international law enforcement. Alternatively, you can alert the FBI.
  • Assess the situation and take action. Identify the teams and devices that were affected by the breach. Freeze or update the compromised accounts and any other accounts at risk.
  • Notify victims. Reach out to the parties affected by the breach and inform them of the situation. 

Why Companies Are Choosing Keeper

As cybercriminals adapt their attack strategies, an increasing amount of compromised credentials are making their way to the dark web, putting more victims and companies at risk. 

Keeper’s cybersecurity solutions takes your security to the next level. Start your 14-day free trial today and see how our password management tool and dark web monitoring add-on can protect you and your team. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the surface web?

The surface web is the part of the World Wide Web that can be accessible by anyone using the Internet. 

What is the deep web?

The deep web, also known as the invisible or hidden web, is the section of the World Wide Web that is not indexed by search engines. For example, content on the deep web can include:

  • Medical records
  • Legal documents
  • Data stored on private databases

    Deep web content often contains sensitive information you would not want available in a public web search. Typically, if you are required to log into an account using a username and password or another level of authentication, the information you access is on the deep web.

  • What is the difference between the dark web and the deep web?

    The dark web is a part of the deep web. Regular browsers cannot access this sliver of the deep web. Instead, dark web users rely on The Onion Router (Tor) browser to gain access to the dark web. The dark web offers anonymity to users, which is why it is often the hub for criminal activity.

    How can I check if my email has been compromised on the dark web?

    Using a dark web scanning service is the easiest way to determine whether or not your email address is available on the dark web. 

    What is OnionLand?

    OnionLand is the name of a notable site that acts as a search repository for finding items on the dark web. 
    However, the term OnionLand is also often used colloquially as a synonym to describe the dark web in general. The reason people call the dark web OnionLand is that this section of the Internet is only accessible via onion routing. 

    What is a dark web Onion Browser?

    Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a free, open-source browser that allows you to use the Internet anonymously. People use Tor browser to access the dark web. Although anonymous, Tor does not fully protect you from the dark web and its dangers. There are several dark web browsers available, however, Tor is the most popular choice.

    Craig Lurey

    Craig Lurey is the CTO and Co-Founder of Keeper Security. Craig leads Keeper’s software development and technology infrastructure team. Craig and Darren have been active business partners in a series of successful ventures for over 20 years. Prior to building Keeper, Craig served at Motorola as a software engineer creating firmware for cellular base station infrastructure and founded Apollo Solutions, an online software platform for the computer reseller industry which was acquired by CNET Networks. Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University.