The importance of dark web monitoring

This blog post was authored by Uriah Robins - Senior Manager, Security and Privacy on Protiviti's technology insights blog.

In today’s interconnected world, where adversaries seem to always be one step ahead, companies face an increasingly complex threat landscape. One of the most challenging and often overlooked threats is the dark web, an intentionally hidden part of the internet where threat actors can operate with a greater sense of anonymity. To adequately protect assets, companies need to do more than merely protect their physical and logical networks with the usual cadre of hardware and software (firewalls, intrusion protection/detection, etc.). They should also be considering the addition of a dark web monitoring service as part of their cybersecurity strategy.

Early data breach detection

Data breaches are becoming all-too-common occurrences and the dark web is the go-to place for bad actors to buy and sell this stolen data. Breach dumps, which are collections of stolen data obtained through breaches, are readily available for purchase on several dark web marketplaces using digital currency. Additionally, data is easily found being traded or just given away on a multitude of forums where actors gather to discuss and share their tactics, techniques and procedures. With so many sites dealing in data breach dumps, it is nearly impossible for a company to keep up with all the places its data could exist. This is where dark web monitoring can help. Dark web monitoring services can continually monitor these sites as new posts are made and provide early alerting for when corporate data becomes available, allowing the victim to begin investigating the breach immediately and mitigate the impact the breach may have.

Brand reputation protection

Sensitive information found in data breaches can be devastating to a company’s reputation, potentially causing a loss in customer trust and loyalty and ultimately impacting the company’s bottom line. This type of damage can be difficult, if not impossible to recover from, especially if the victim company is caught playing catchup to the exposed data. Proactive monitoring for breach data containing sensitive company information, leaked credentials, proprietary trade secrets and intellectual property allows the victim to rapidly respond to incidents when this data is discovered, minimising the potential damage this data could cause. Proactive monitoring allows the victim to rapidly respond to incidents by providing early detection of compromised data on the dark web. This enables them to swiftly initiate their incident response plan, mitigate the impact of the breach, protect affected individuals, and demonstrate their commitment to maintaining strong data security practices, all of which contribute to protecting their brand reputation. With early discovery, the company can quickly move into damage control and show a commitment to protecting its employees and customers.

Mitigate the risk of insider threats

All companies are vulnerable to insider threats, regardless of their size or revenue. With access to the most sensitive company information, insiders can be tempted to leak or share company information on the dark web for profit. Dark web monitoring focusing on forums and chat servers (ICQ, Telegram, Discord, IRC, Slack, etc.) can potentially uncover information being shared or discussions targeting the company. Such intelligence can help uncover malicious insiders before they are able to do severe damage, thus saving the company from reputational damage and financial loss.

Regulatory compliance

Increasingly, companies are being held to strict data protection regulations so that they can do business in a connected world. These regulations shape the way companies collect and retain consumer data, leaving companies responsible for this data in the event it is compromised. Monitoring for breaches and data leaks on the dark web can help organisations meet the regulatory requirements for reporting and show that appropriate mitigation steps are in place for such incidents. By demonstrating a commitment to protecting customer data, companies can avoid costly penalties, legal repercussions and reputational harm associated with non-compliance.

We operate in an online world, where the threat landscape is rapidly and constantly changing, requiring companies to be decisive and remain vigilant to safeguard their assets. Dark web monitoring services, such as those offered by Protiviti, offer a proactive and comprehensive approach to dark web monitoring, allowing organisations to detect data breaches early, protect their brand reputation, mitigate insider threats, take proactive security measures and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. By incorporating dark web monitoring into their cybersecurity strategies, companies can stay ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape and protect themselves, their customers and their stakeholders from the damaging consequences of cybercrime.

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Sam Bassett
Sam is the country leader for Singapore. With over 25 years' experience, he's primarily worked in financial services with consulting firms or directly in the banking industry to deliver change and support strategic, tactical, and operation goals across Asia, Europe and ...
Marek Kosmowski
Marek is a director with over 17 years’ experience. He heads digital and innovation in Southeast Asia for Protiviti, focusing on digital initiatives including digital banking, UX/UI, RPA, machine learning, AI, design thinking, blockchain, and customer experience. Marek ...

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