KT Connections Blog

Tor: The Dark Web Network

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For many people, the World Wide Web is comprised of Google search, Facebook, Amazon, iTunes and a multitude of blogs, shopping and more. The majority of web users only see the surface of the web; however, the web is deeper than they know. In this way, the Internet is almost like an iceberg, with a small portion of it visible from the surface, the majority being the Dark Web -- the part of the iceberg you normally don’t see.

This part lies under the surface, and it was this part of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. If you’re not careful, it can do the same to you and your business.

It Wasn’t Originally This Way
The purpose of the Dark Web isn’t exclusively for nefarious use. Initially, what is now known as the Dark Web was just a series of encrypted networks whose job was to provide anonymity to people using the Internet. As you can imagine being able to surf anonymously can be of great value to specific industries such as journalists or law enforcement and other organizations whose goal isn’t criminal.

In fact, the most popular network, TOR was created by the U.S. Navy to share sensitive information over encrypted networks. TOR, a.k.a. The Onion Routing Project, works by redirecting your traffic to a variety of random computers or servers which causes your IP address or place of origination to become much more difficult to trace. So for example, if you’re trying to access a website in New York, the request could be routed from France to Germany, to London and then finally to New York. The purpose of the routing is to shake off anyone who might be tracking your use.

Restricted to .onion pages, which are encrypted explicitly for security and can only be read by a TOR compatible browser, .onion sites aren’t accessible via Chrome, Edge or any ‘regular’ web browser. Due to this TOR makes it very difficult, although not impossible, for a user’s web usage to be tracked and this is where the problems started.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, whenever you reduce the risk of being caught, some people will act upon their baser instincts.  

As users’ personal data increased in value, the ability for a cybercriminal to capture this data created a need for a way to get rid of it. Most importantly, since much of the stolen data taken from enterprise-level companies also carries with it great attention and higher penalties if caught, hackers needed a place to sell it with minimal risk. The TOR network, with its built-in anonymity, was a perfect fit.

All Is Not Lost
The unfortunate reality is that some of the largest organizations in the world have been hacked, the information about their employees, their vendors, and their clients left exposed. Ultimately, this stolen data is left on the Dark Web for the highest bidders to use for their own purposes. Worse, some of it may be yours, and there’s nothing you can do about it because you don’t know if it’s there and of course once it’s there, it’s there. So, while you can scan for it, you can’t remove it.

Prevention Is Better
A Dark Web scan can provide you with the tools needed to assess your level of exposure, letting you know what actions are needed to secure your information, such as changing passwords, cancelling credit cards and so on. However, this is all reactive - your data is still out there and will be forever, because the Internet never forgets.

The best thing you can do to protect your data is to take the steps necessary to prevent it from being stolen in the first place. Some things you can do to protect your business and staff include:

It only takes one threat to expose your entire network infrastructure to criminal elements, and your company cannot afford to allow this to happen. In order to ensure the ongoing success of your business, we recommend that you reach out to KT Connections for a network audit and security consultation. For more information about our effective security solutions, call us at 605-341-3873.

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