The Dark Web and Its Impact on Your Business


Business owners today know the internet is not only a force for good. Some people exploit the Web for ill intent. They congregate on the Dark Web, and small businesses need to understand the risks.


What is the Dark Web?


You and your employees spend time daily on the Web. They’re researching clients, checking out competitors, and searching for information. They are not accessing the Dark Web. The Dark Web houses dangerous, often illegal activity. This includes black-market drug sales, illegal firearm sales, and illicit pornography.


The Dark Web’s collection of websites is inaccessible using standard search engines or browsers. Users employ a Tor or I2P encryption tool to hide their identity and activity, and they spoof IP addresses.


To go into the Dark Web, you also need to be using the Tor or I2P service. Plus, you’d need to know where to find the site you are looking for. There are Dark Web directories, but they are unreliable. The people on the Dark Web don’t want their victims to find them. Ultimately, it’s not somewhere you or your employees need to be.


So, why do you need to know about it? Because Dark Web users can buy:


  • usernames and passwords

  • counterfeit money

  • stolen credit card numbers or subscription credentials

  • software to break into people’s computers

  • operational, financial, or customer data

  • intellectual property or trade secrets


The Dark Web is also where someone can hire a hacker to attack your computers.


The Dark Web business risk


The Dark Web itself isn’t illegal, and not all its traffic is criminal. It is also visited by journalists and law enforcement agencies, and it’s used in countries prohibiting open communication.


Yet the number of Dark Web listings that could harm your business is growing. A 2019 research study found that 60% of all listings could harm enterprises, and the number of those Dark Web listings has risen by 20% since 2016.


Business risks from these Dark Web listings include:


  • undermining brand reputation

  • loss of competitive advantage

  • denial-of-service attack or malware disruption

  • IP theft

  • fraudulent activity