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Is Monitoring the Dark Web the easiest method to Slow Down Cybercrime?

According to ITProPortal, the cybercrime economy could be bigger than Apple, Google and Facebook combined. The has matured into an organized market that is probably more profitable compared to the drug trade.

Criminals use innovative and state-of-the-art tools to steal information from large and small organizations and either use it themselves or, most common, sell it to other criminals through the Dark Web.

Small and mid-sized businesses have become the target of cybercrime and data breaches since they don’t possess the interest, time or money to set up defenses to protect against an attack. Many have a large number of accounts that hold Personal Identifying Information, PII, or intelligent property that may include patents, research and unpublished electronic assets. Other small businesses work directly with larger organizations and can serve as a portal of entry similar to the HVAC company was in the Target data breach.

A number of the brightest minds are suffering from creative ways to prevent valuable and personal information from being stolen. These information security programs are, for the most part, defensive in nature. They basically set up a wall of protection to help keep malware out and the information inside safe and secure.

Sophisticated hackers discover and use the organization’s weakest links to set up an attack

Unfortunately, even the very best defensive programs have holes within their protection. Listed below are the challenges every organization faces in accordance with a Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report in 2013:

76 percent of network intrusions explore weak or stolen credentials
73 percent of online banking users reuse their passwords for non-financial websites
80 percent of breaches that involved hackers used stolen credentials
Symantec in 2014 estimated that 45 percent of all attacks is detected by traditional anti-virus and therefore 55 percent of attacks go undetected. The effect is anti-virus software and defensive protection programs can’t keep up. dark web links could already be in the organization’s walls.

Small and mid-sized businesses can suffer greatly from a data breach. Sixty percent go out of business inside a year of a data breach according to the National Cyber Security Alliance 2013.

What can a business do to protect itself from a data breach?

For many years I’ve advocated the implementation of “Best Practices” to safeguard personal identifying information within the business. There are basic practices every business should implement to meet up the requirements of federal, state and industry rules and regulations. I’m sad to say hardly any small and mid-sized businesses meet these standards.

The second step is something new that most businesses and their techs haven’t heard of or implemented into their protection programs. It involves monitoring the Dark Web.

The Dark Web holds the secret to slowing down cybercrime

Cybercriminals openly trade stolen home elevators the Dark Web. It holds a wealth of information that could negatively impact a businesses’ current and prospective clients. This is where criminals head to buy-sell-trade stolen data. It is easy for fraudsters to gain access to stolen information they need to infiltrate business and conduct nefarious affairs. An individual data breach could put an organization out of business.

Fortunately, there are organizations that constantly monitor the Dark Web for stolen information 24-7, 365 days per year. Criminals openly share this information through chat rooms, blogs, websites, bulletin boards, Peer-to-Peer networks and other black market sites. They identify data since it accesses criminal command-and-control servers from multiple geographies that national IP addresses cannot access. The volume of compromised information gathered is incredible. For instance:

An incredible number of compromised credentials and BIN card numbers are harvested every month
Approximately one million compromised IP addresses are harvested every day
These details can linger on the Dark Web for weeks, months or, sometimes, years before it is used. A business that monitors for stolen information can see almost immediately when their stolen information shows up. The next step is to take proactive action to completely clean up the stolen information and stop, what could become, a data breach or business identity theft. The information, essentially, becomes useless for the cybercriminal.

What would happen to cybercrime when most small and mid-sized businesses take this Dark Web monitoring seriously?

The result on the criminal side of the Dark Web could possibly be crippling when the most businesses implement this program and take advantage of the information. The target is to render stolen information useless as fast as possible.

There won’t be much effect on cybercrime until the most small and mid-sized businesses implement this kind of offensive action. Cybercriminals are relying on hardly any businesses take proactive action, but if by some miracle businesses awaken and take action we could see a major effect on cybercrime.

Clearing up stolen credentials and IP addresses isn’t complicated or difficult knowing that the information has been stolen. It’s the businesses that don’t know their information has been compromised that may take the biggest hit.

Is this the simplest way to slow down cybercrime? What do you this is the best way to safeguard against a data breach or business identity theft – Option one: Await it to occur and react, or Option two: Take offensive, proactive steps to find compromised info on the Dark Web and clean it up?

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