Ten Ways Your Data Security Is at Risk on the Dark Web

October 15, 2019

According to IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty, cybercrime is the “greatest threat to every company in the world.” Data security is a top priority for organizations avoiding business disruption, reputation damage, and data and financial loss. In fact, the average total cost of a data breach was recently estimated at USD $3.92 million.

What does a data breach look like for you and your organization, and what is your data security strategy for finding and mitigating breaches? This article describes ten ways your sensitive information could be leaked and how data security solutions can help reduce the risk of an attack.

1. Providing fraud how-to’s

Dark web forums contain how-to discussions between individuals who plan to open fraudulent accounts. Users can also purchase detailed, step-by-step guides in dark web marketplaces. These guides are often associated with specific companies or organizations and updated to circumvent any new security strategies they implement.

2. Releasing a VIP’s personal data

The dark web and open web contain sites where users maliciously exchange or post information (identifying, financial, and/or technical) related to an individual. Known as “doxing,” this process is often motivated by politics, vigilantism or vandalism. Some doxing attacks inaccurately link illegal activities on the dark web to a company or its employees, putting your company’s reputation at risk.

The dark web contains anonymous forums and marketplaces where doxing is planned or where personal information is sold. Personal data is also published on Open Web sites such as Pastebin (dumping grounds for dark web links and other leaked data).

3. Selling bank account numbers and payment cards

Dark web marketplaces contain thousands of listings for full packages of PII, giving users unauthorized access to banking information and other accounts. Users can also purchase fraudulent bank cards—from debit cards to platinum or business credit cards.

4. Submitting fraudulent tax documents

Fraudulent tax documents such as W2s and T4s are frequently bought and sold on the dark web. This is particularly common in the leadup to tax season when cybercriminals attempt to submit fraudulent returns before the real taxpayer. If your company has suffered a data breach, your employees’ tax documents could have been compromised for this purpose.

5. Compromising national security

If your organization’s role is to provide nation-wide security (as a defense contractor or airport security strategist, for example), a security breach could have global consequences. Listings for leaked national security data, such as defense strategies, weapon plans or building blueprints are present on dark web marketplaces.

6. Leaking source code

If your organization’s source code is leaked, hackers can easily determine if there are any vulnerabilities present in your operating systems or security software. Source code can also be stolen and used by another organization. Unless you’re a big name that makes headlines, leaked source code can be hard to detect when it’s posted on the dark web or unindexed Open Websites such as Github and Pastebin.

7. Creating “spoofing” templates

Cybercriminals on the dark web create and sell “spoofing” templates as part of an identity theft or fraud scheme. Templates allow scammers to create fake websites or forms on behalf of a financial institution or other organization. This is sent to a real customer who enters their personal information, which the scammer can then exploit by opening accounts or soliciting loans.

8. Exposing databases

An organization’s database contains sensitive information about employee accounts and locations, as well as a company’s overall footprint, including partnerships and private contracts. Cybercriminals can use this information to carry out phishing attacks against employees or leak private company information on the web.

9. Selling access to private events

It’s not unheard of for dark web vendors to sell counterfeit passes or ID to gain access to private or high-profile events. If your data security has been breached, criminals on the dark web can determine how and when to pose as convincing journalists or event attendees.

10. Conducting inexperienced dark web searches

In an effort to discover attacks against your organization’s data security, an employee or third-party security vendor may attempt to navigate the dark web. This could result in more harm than good if the navigator is inexperienced. For example, repeatedly searching for a specific company or individual’s name within a dark web search engine could expose your efforts and elevate security risks.

A dark web search tool is essential to any organization seeking to protect their reputation, employees, and assets from information security threats. Because the dark web is difficult and dangerous to navigate, and because many Open Websites are not indexed by search engines, data security technologies are necessary to protect data that could be compromised in a cyberattack.

Flashpoint allows users to safely navigate the dark web without using a Tor browser. Users can narrow their searches with keywords and filters relevant to their organization and its potential threats. A dark web search tool helps users:

  • Discover leaked data and personal information on the dark web or unindexed Open Websites such as Pastebin.
  • Avoid the time, learning curve, and risk associated with manually or inexpertly navigating the dark web.
  • Easily catch marketplace listings for any of the above transactions related to your organization.
  • Proactively discover anonymous discussion boards where data security attacks are being planned.
  • Maintain their organization’s reputation by finding and dealing with data security risks before they get out of hand or into mass media.

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