Do you know what the dark web is and how it could out your small business at risk? If the answer is no to either or both questions, please read on. You may be familiar with the ‘dark web’ as a place online somewhere where illegal or dangerous activities take place. This is correct but there is much more to the dark- or ‘deep web’ than you may think.
Especially if you are a small business owner. Part of the “Deep Web”, the Dark Web is, where illegal activity takes place (Drug deals, hacking, counterfeit money, etc.) The dark web term emerged with the advent of the internet search engine over 20 years ago.
The information contained on this ‘hidden’ part of the internet would shock most people. However, small business owners should be very aware of the pitfalls of not having correct security measures in their IT setup in place.
Characteristics of the Dark Web:
- Information that is INTENTIONALLY hidden from search engines is qualified to be in the Dark Web
- Most websites are on the .Onion domain and only accessible through a Tor browser
- The information found on the Dark Web is technically public information…just not found by the general public (visiting the Dark Web is NOT Recommended!)
- It is mostly community based…web sites go up/down/up again overnight and this is where financial details are sold- credit card info, identity information, child pornography and illegal drugs
How can hackers target small businesses and why they at risk:
They can do this by gaining access to sensitive data of a target’s IT network in a manner of ways. George Torsten has summarised it well in Secuity Week in 2018, see here for full article. ”The easiest way for a cyber-attacker to gain access to sensitive data is by compromising an end user’s identity and credentials.
Things get even worse if a stolen identity belongs to a privileged user, who has even broader access, and therefore provides the intruder with “the keys to the kingdom”. …it’s not surprising that most of today’s cyber-attacks are front-ended by credential harvesting campaigns. Common methods for harvesting credentials include the use of password sniffers, phishing campaigns, or malware attacks.”
Why should small business owners be concerned about hacking and dark web criminals:
We know that small businesses are at great risk from hackers. These criminals sell their information on the dark web. According to the Federal Trade Commission in the US. In 2017, the Federation found that, data stolen from businesses ends up on the dark web. Then these criminals buy and sell it to commit fraud, get fake identity documents, or fund their criminal organizations.”
We can say that this is not good news for small business. This is why we need to make sure we are careful in our security measures. We can help in this regard as IT Security experts.
Information available for sale on the dark web is up to 20 times more likely to come from an entity whose breach wasn’t reported in the media. Many of these are smaller retailers, restaurant chains, medical practices, school districts, etc. In fact, most of the breaches the U.S. Secret Service investigates involve small businesses.
This is also becoming more common in Ireland where we have seen high profile data breaches. Even in organisations such as the HSE, a Government Department and many small businesses. A very worrying trend overall for every small business and organization who have less resources than larger, richer ones.
What we can do at Cinnte to help you:
We have posted recently about the importance of cyber security for small businesses. We want to help educate businesses like ourselves, about how they can keep employees and clients’ information secure online. You can subscribe to our blog for updates on all areas of IT and keeping your business secure, productive and free of disaster.
You can start by signing up for our free dark web scan by emailing us at email@example.com. We will perform this for free for small businesses and give you a detailed report afterwards. We can advise on measures to help protect and prevent your credentials being hacked or stolen by cyber criminals.
How well do you know your IT provider and what they are doing in the background to protect and ensure your IT runs smoothly:
Do you know if your IT support provider is keeping your information and your business safe? We at Cinnte Technologies have come up with a 5-point checklist to help you figure this out.
You know that in 2019, any small business needs secure, fast and reliable IT support and IT services to function and to be successful. Because over and over again we are shocked when one of our Engineers does an audit.
Common Problems we see in IT networks that we audit:
In 98% of the computer networks we review, we are finding a number of problems. These include faulty or non-existent backups, poor security, shoddy reporting and flawed systems that are very costly to maintain. These IT systems are usually not aligning with the business operations. We have written before about why we do it better than most other companies, read this piece here
The 5 top questions you must ask your IT support provider:
We believe that there a few basic important questions you need to ask your IT provider and yourself.
- Do they answer their phones “live” and respond to support issues in a guaranteed time frame?
- Are they remotely monitoring your network 24-7-365 to keep
critical security settings, virus definitions, and security patches up
- Do they INSIST on monitoring an offsite as well as an onsite
backup, or are they letting you rely on outdated tape backups?
- Do they consistently offer new ways to improve
your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a
- Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are
These are just five critical questions you need to ask your IT provider. We have came up with a full, detailed list of 16 that you should put to them and you can download this here-
Why regular IT Audits and IT Network checks with an IT provider are important:
We know that you’re busy running your business, so forget to think about the security of your IT network until disaster strikes. What else in your business is more valuable than the data on your network? Just imagine how devastating it would be to lose it! That’s why a regular network check or IT Audit is so important. You can sign up to this for free with us here
We’ll conduct a comprehensive review of your network’s security settings to make sure your data is safe and secure!