It's common to spend plenty of time on the web, browsing through the headlines, studying celebrity gossip, checking your bank accounts, and scrolling Twitter and Facebook to keep track of your friends’ latest ventures. But did you know there is a whole other world on the web that is mostly hidden from view? There is, and it’s known as the dark web.
The dark web itself is made up of websites on the internet that cannot be found through traditional search engines. Instead users must rely on specific software such as The Onion Router (TOR) browser configurations or authorization to access these sites.
1. The dark web isn't just accessed by a small number of people
Despite the Dark Web's mostly negative connotation, new research has revealed that over 30 percent of Americans used it regularly during 2019. Last year brought about an increasing number of people beginning to use the Dark Web as a way of keeping their online activity hidden from governments and telecoms.
- 2 million active users connect to the Dark Web through
the TOR browser every day.
- 26% of North American and 17% of EU users access the
Dark Web daily.
- About 60% of the information on the Dark Web could
potentially harm organizations.
2. Dark Web activity is sky-rocketing post-pandemic
Reports of dark web activity have shown a tremendous spike in specific types of cybercrime on the underground during the COVID lockdowns. This includes gaming store accounts, compromised RDP credentials, money laundering services and narcotics.
- Over 1,400 COVID-19 related domains were registered in Q1 2020.
- There was a 738% increase in COVID-19-related terms
on the Dark Web in March 2020.
- Phishing attacks including COVID-19 scams have
climbed 667% in 2020.
- Dark Web use has increased by more than 300% in the
last 3 years.
3. The Dark Web economy is booming
In recent years, there have been drastic technology-driven changes in dark web criminal markets. These technology-driven changes, which mainly include the high use of cryptocurrencies and the use of secured browser technology such as TOR, have facilitated the widespread use of these markets for the trading of illegal goods.
- An estimated 2 to 5% of the global GDP is laundered on the Dark Web in one year.
- More than 75% of Dark Web sites appear to be marketplaces.
- The price for access to corporate networks increased by 61% in Q1 2020.
- Cybercrime yields in excess of $1.5 trillion in revenue per year.
4. Your data may already be on the Dark Web, even if you haven't had a breach
It’s not just personal data that are in danger. Firms of all sizes are at significant risk of companywide data breaches when employee accounts are hacked; once criminals break in, they can leverage stolen information for a variety of fraud schemes, such as business email compromise, invoice fraud, and employment fraud. They also gain access to corporate secrets, financial accounts, employee personnel records, and business plans, putting the company at high risk for financial and reputational damage.
- Information on 267 million Facebook users sold in Q1 2020 for $540.
- In Q1 2020 alone over 73.2 million new user records hit the Dark Web.
- 164 million user records from a dozen major companies were exposed in a single Q1 2020 dump.
- 53% of organizations have had a data breach caused by third party information theft.
2 Actions That You Can Take Today To Protect Your Data
5. Get someone to watch your back
Are your passwords for sale on the Dark Web? Is one of your staffers selling access to your systems? Were you exposed in a third-party Dark Web data dump? Find out with Dark Web ID. We’ll dive deep into the corners of the Dark Web to look for potential risks to your organization. Dark Web ID also watches for new Dark Web threats to your systems and data 24/7/365 to alert you to potential trouble quickly, enabling you to stop cyberattacks before they start.
6. Get ready to defend against your biggest threat
Over 90% of data breaches start with a phishing attack, and everything a cybercriminal needs to mount an effective phishing attack against you is available on the Dark Web. Prevent those attacks from landing with BullPhish ID. With 80 phishing kits and 50 video campaigns (including COVID-19 threats), plus 4-6 new training tools added per month in 8 languages, BullPhish ID ensures that your staff is ready to be your first line of defense against this Dark Web threat.
Want to learn more about how to protect your network? Click below to sign up for a free Network Assessment to get started!