Is Monitoring the Dark Web the ultimate way to Slow Down Cybercrime?

According to ITProPortal, the cybercrime economy could possibly 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 grown to be the mark of cybercrime and data breaches since they don’t have the interest, time or money to create defenses to protect against an attack. Many have thousands of accounts that hold Personal Identifying Information, PII, or intelligent property which could include patents, research and unpublished electronic assets. Other smaller businesses work directly with larger organizations and can serve as a portal of entry much like the HVAC company was in the prospective data breach.

A number of the brightest minds have developed creative methods to prevent valuable and private information from being stolen. These information security programs are, generally, defensive in nature. They basically put up a wall of protection to help keep malware out and the info inside safe and secure.

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

Unfortunately, even the very best defensive programs have holes in their protection. Here 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 most attacks is detected by traditional anti-virus meaning that 55 percent of attacks go undetected. The result is anti-virus software and defensive protection programs can’t continue. The bad guys could already be in the organization’s walls.

Small and mid-sized businesses can suffer greatly from a data breach. Sixty percent walk out 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 the data breach?

For many years I have advocated the implementation of “GUIDELINES” to safeguard personal identifying information within the business. There are basic practices every business should implement to meet 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 about or implemented into their protection programs. It involves monitoring the Dark Web.

The Dark Web holds the trick to slowing down cybercrime

Cybercriminals openly trade stolen info on the Dark Web. dark web links holds a wealth of information that could negatively impact a businesses’ current and prospective clients. That’s where criminals go to buy-sell-trade stolen data. It really is easy for fraudsters to gain access to stolen information they have to infiltrate business and conduct nefarious affairs. A single data breach could put a business out of business.

Fortunately, there are organizations that constantly monitor the Dark Web for stolen information 24-7, 365 days a year. Criminals openly share this information through boards, 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 on a monthly basis
Approximately one million compromised IP addresses are harvested each day
This information can linger on the Dark Web for weeks, months or, sometimes, years before it really is used. A business that monitors for stolen information can easily see almost immediately when their stolen information shows up. The next step is to take proactive action to completely clean up the stolen information preventing, what could become, a data breach or business identity theft. The info, essentially, becomes useless for the cybercriminal.

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

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

There won’t be much effect on cybercrime until the most small and mid-sized businesses implement this type 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 once you know that the information has been stolen. It’s the businesses that have no idea their information has been compromised that will take the biggest hit.

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