For many people, when they imagine the dark web, they imagine hoodie-clad hackers partaking in malicious activities, such as arms and drug trafficking. In reality, the dark web is a subsection of the internet that can be used by those with good or bad intentions.

Think of the internet as being an iceberg that is divided up into three sections. The tip of the iceberg, the part that is visible above the water, is the “open web” or the “surface web”. This subsection of the internet makes up about 4% of all the information on the web. The content that you can find here is available publicly and can be accessed by using a search engine, such as Google or Bing. This is where you’ll find many company websites, public YouTube videos, public documents, news articles, and much more.

Going slightly deeper, we have the “deep web”. This is the subsection of the internet that makes up 90% of the web, and contains information hidden behind passwords or paywalls. Here you’ll find things like most social media accounts, online banking, emails, private messages, company records, medical information, legal documents, official government intelligence, and pretty much anything you can imagine that requires a password or payment to access.

Finally, we have the dark web. This is the most private and difficult subsection of the web to access. It requires special software to access it, such as the Tor Project browser. It is much more difficult to find information on the dark web if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, as content on the dark web is not accessible using conventional search engine tools. The dark web can be utilised by people wishing to remain entirely anonymous online, such as journalists or whistle-blowers looking to avoid government censorship. Additionally, the dark web is utilised by many for illegal activities that you may normally associate with the dark web.

Now, as an honest business owner, you may be thinking, “Why on Earth would I be concerned with the dark web?”. Well, you remember the hoodie-clad hacker? They’re all over the dark web, and they often sell private information and business data that they have illegally acquired. Most CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners don’t even realise their data has been stolen and sold until their accounts are breached, their finances are depleted, or they are faced with a denial-of-service (DDOS) attack.

So, what can business owners do to be more proactive in the security of their data? If your company stores any sensitive data, such as client or employee information, company records, financial information, or any other sensitive information, dark web monitoring could very easily prevent a business disaster.

It may be a good idea to employ a dark web monitoring service to your business. These tools will continuously scan the dark web for any information relating to your company. This could be specific information, like corporate email addresses, or general information, like your company name or related industry. Dark web monitoring tools can help you search for any confidential information that may have been leaked, like login credentials or financial information. When a threat is discovered the monitoring service will alert you, allowing you to speed up your incident response time, and therefore resolve the issue much quicker.

CrowdStrike is a popular and trusted dark web monitoring service that offers a free trial before requiring any card information, allowing you to fully experience what the service offers before making any financial decisions.