The Dark Web is the name given to the murkier areas of the internet. Places on the web that need special software, configurations or authorizations to access.

The contents of the dark web are hidden to normal search engines and the average internet user. This differs from the normal web, where anyone with internet access and a search engine like Google can find exactly what they’re looking for.

Most of the websites on the dark web need a specific browser to access them, known as Tor (The Onion Ring). This browser browser, which was first introduced in 2002 to offer anonymity to internet users, hides the identity and location of both the website owners and the visitors.

Tor and Hackers

High profile cyber attacks on large businesses and governments organisations are hitting the headlines on an almost weekly basis.

Besides well publicized hacks of the likes of the IRS, T-Mobile and Ashley Madison, smaller businesses are also experiencing their share of attacks increasing.

So where does all the software and know how for these crimes come from?

Much of it is coming from the “Dark Web”…

With the identity of all users and creators of dark web sites encrypted, visitors and website owners can write and post whatever they want without fear of being unmasked or prosecuted.

So it should come as no surprise that the dark web is where hackers share knowledge, buy and sell software and dispose of their stolen data.

According to research from Trend Micro, different countries have their own underground cybercriminal markets that operate in the dark web. Trend Micro examined markets in Russia, Japan, China, Germany, the United States and Canada (North America), and Brazil in 2015.

In every market except Canada, Malware (software that is used to attack computers and steal valuable data from them) was available for sale. In many instances the software is available for criminals with even limited coding skills.

In all the markets, stolen data dumps were also available for sale. For hackers the dark web is a one stop solution. Not only can they get the tools they need and knowledge to commit their crimes but they can then also return to the same marketplaces to sell what they’ve stolen…

Protecting your business

With a flourishing underground world for cyber criminals that is practically impossible to police, hackers aren’t going to be disappearing anytime soon.

While it’s vital to have up to date security software and an appraisal by security experts, it’s important for companies to have second line of defense. Employee monitoring software is an excellent choice for additional defense against Trojan horses, phishing attacks, in-house data theft and other forms of attacks.

Solutions such as KnowIT can be installed remotely onto all company devices where it can monitor software and internet usage as well as all communications. Managers can also choose to be alerted whenever sensitive data is accessed or copied. It’s a great way to spot any dangerous or unusual activity, whether inadvertent or deliberate.