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Dark Web Monitoring

What is Dark Web Monitoring?

Dark web monitoring is a process of searching for and monitoring information found on the dark web. It finds stolen or leaked information, such as compromised passwords, credentials, intellectual property, and other sensitive data being shared and sold among criminals operating on the dark web. 

As organizations store more of their data online, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Dealing with these cyber attacks increases cybersecurity costs, which may ultimately affect consumers in the form of higher prices. That is why organizations are starting to use dark web monitoring as part of their cybersecurity efforts. 

The dark web is a hidden network of websites that is only accessible by means of special software. It is hidden from search engines and allows individuals to hide their IP addresses for safety reasons or to keep their illegal activities anonymous.

Is Dark Web Monitoring Legitimate?

Dark web monitoring tools are not illegal, but they do not take any action to remove your information from ending up on the dark web. They also cannot prevent your stolen information from being used. This is because the dark web has anonymous users, several layers of encryption, and no customer service. 

Dark Web vs. Deep Web

The deep web is an internet section that is not indexed by web crawlers or search engines, and the dark web is a part or division of the deep web that can be accessed only with special software. Although the former is used mainly for legitimate daily online activities, the latter is more anonymous and known as a haven for illegal transactions.

Here are other key differences between the dark web and the deep web:

  1. To access the deep web, you need a password, whereas to access the dark web, you need to use Tor Project or a similar browser.
  2. The deep web has a much broader scope compared to the dark web, covering a range of content that is not accessible by search engines.

Four Features of Dark Web Monitoring

Here are some of the features of dark web monitoring:

1. Threat Intelligence

Dark web monitoring tools map out useful sections of the dark web and determine important sources of threat intelligence—data or knowledge that allows you to mitigate or prevent hacking. With a dark web monitoring tool, you can subscribe to a feed of threat intelligence without the need to hire an expert to seek out, aggregate, and analyze it manually. 

2. Threat Hunting

A dark web monitoring service identifies emerging threats and protects you from targeted attacks, such as fake hacking. The service assumes that an adversary is behind your system and launches an investigation to identify unusual behavior that indicates the presence of malicious activity. 

3. Faster Incident Response

Without dark web monitoring, you may spend months not knowing that a data breach occurred. Dark web monitoring enables you to promptly identify when your sensitive information falls into the hands of cybercriminals. This, in turn, helps you reduce the overall window of opportunity criminals have to make copies of sensitive data and sell it. 

4. Integration into Security Platforms

You can also integrate the data collected by a dark web monitoring platform into other security systems. This allows you to create more accurate insights from the entire security stack.

Business Benefits of Dark Web Monitoring

Here are some of the business benefits of dark web monitoring:

24/7 Surveillance

A dark web monitoring service continuously scans the dark web to make sure an organization's content and data are safe from cybercriminals. It monitors the dark web 24/7 to quickly detect when sensitive information goes into the hands of criminals. 

Protects Stakeholders

Dark web monitoring can help identify sensitive information of clients, employees, and executives that end up on the dark web. Using this knowledge, companies can stop criminals from exploiting stolen information. 

Undermines Risks

Because a dark web monitoring service keeps track of the dark web 24/7, it immediately notifies a company of potential threats. This reduces the risks of data theft. 

Prevents Data Breach

An organization can sometimes be the victim of a data breach without even realizing it. Dark web monitoring services can instantly identify this stolen information before it results in widespread damage to a company. It can reduce the impact of these data breaches by safeguarding your IT system, repairing any vulnerabilities, and notifying all parties. 

How to Prevent Corporate Information from Exposure on the Dark Web

There are several ways to prevent corporate information from exposure on the dark web. Here are some recommendations to help you do so:

Conduct Security Awareness Training

Security awareness training can educate employees on the threats that they may face, how to respond to them, and how to keep corporate information safe. Effective security awareness training includes online training materials, employee acknowledgment of IT security guidelines, and simulations of real cyberattacks.

Be Careful with BYOD Policies

While bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies can reduce upfront costs and allow employees to work on devices that they are comfortable with, they can also expose employees to a range of attacks that can bypass a company's cybersecurity program. To mitigate the risks associated with BYOD policies, companies should consider using device data encryption technologies and define a well-structured policy for the use of corporate resources. 

Three Steps to Protect Your Business Information from the Dark Web

Here are a few steps to help you prevent your company's sensitive data from exposure on the dark web:

1. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly

The average employee uses the same password 13 times, which hampers the security of their accounts. A one-password approach places them at significant risk of theft, fraud, and professional liability. Thus, it is important that employees change their passwords every 30–90 days and use strong passwords for every account. 

They can also use a password manager to store their login information for all the websites they use and help them log in to them automatically. A password manager encrypts a password database with a master password—the master password is the only one that a user has to remember.

2. Browse Securely

Giving employees the ability to browse the internet for information is an important part of success in a modern company. However, this can put the company's website security at risk. To secure web browsing for the company, it is important to install or update security software, such as firewalls, anti-spam filters, anti-spyware, and anti-virus, on all company computers or network devices. 

3. Safeguard Information

Time is of the essence once the dark web monitoring tool alerts you that your company's information is on the dark web. To mitigate the impact, consider the following steps:

  1. Notify relevant individuals and departments. If you find your company's sensitive data on the dark web, make sure that all necessary personnel, departments, and organizations know what is happening.
  2. Monitor unauthorized changes. Look for any activity that seems suspicious, such as random purchases, messages, or emails sent to your customers or team. 
  3. Test and assess. Make sure to test and check your company's applications, network, and third-party website policies for potential vulnerabilities. 
  4. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). Consider using MFA with any application that is compatible. 
  5. Make sure your backups are safe. Make sure your company has multiple backups, with at least one located offsite. 

How Fortinet Can Help

Cybercriminals are not likely to let up anytime soon, so it is extremely important to do everything you can to protect your company's information. One way is using a high-performance network solution like FortiRecon, which protects your network, data, and users from continually evolving threats. FortiRecon offers top-rated solutions and centralized management that enable security consolidation and deliver a simplified, end-to-end security infrastructure.


What is dark web monitoring?

Dark web monitoring is a process of searching for and monitoring information found on the dark web. It searches for pieces of your personally identifiable information (PII) on websites frequented by cybercriminals. 

What are the features of dark web monitoring?

Here are the features of dark web monitoring:

  1. Threat intelligence
  2. Threat hunting
  3. Faster incident response
  4. Integration into security platforms

How to protect against the dark web

Some steps you can take to protect your company against the dark web include:

  1. Conduct security awareness training
  2. Be careful with BYOD policies
  3. Use strong passwords and change them regularly
  4. Browse securely