Dark web monitoring is a surefire way to achieve optimal cybersecurity – it is the only mechanism that can be used by organizations to identify cybercriminals and discover stolen credentials.
For users and organizations looking to stay safe online, it is critical that they understand the importance of investing in trusted tools that have been designed to scan darknet spaces for the above-mentioned reasons.
Significance of Dark Web Monitoring
The cybercriminal commerce has grown over the years to become a highly profitable venture among underground networks.
Stolen user data alone has become a full-time job for criminals who are reportedly raking in an estimated $2 million annually. Credential theft entails the employment of various techniques ranging from sophisticated software to bots designed to crack user passwords.
Essentially, cybercriminals breach company firewalls to compromise even the most sophisticated organizations structures belonging to big companies. According to experts, data breaches have become far too common that companies and individual users cannot afford to operate online without proper protection.
As a general rule of thumb, passwords are designed to enable unique access to confidential websites and information. It is an unfortunate reality that a very large number of people fail to choose strong passwords that would guarantee online safety.
Instead, in addition to the fact that most user passwords are weak and therefore easy to crack, it turns out that most people choose a single password combination to access several accounts – or simply use modifications to make small changes to a password meant for multiple platforms.
Point to note, in cases where a cybercriminal hacks one of the accounts they will use the stolen credentials to gain access to all the other accounts linked to the same password.
In general, cybercriminal access to an organization’s internal systems accords hackers with an opportunity to assume ownership of the newfound data. The data dump may then be used to access user accounts for a variety of reasons, including the theft of user funds and sale of the stolen credentials across dark web marketplaces.
Dark Web Monitoring Tools
The standard range of tools used in dark web monitoring is comprised of scanners, crawlers and scrapers.
These technologies work by patrolling underground forums that are known to deal in the sale of stolen user data, marked by the occurrence of cybercriminal advertisements to promote and sell credentials that have been harvested in data breaches across the world.
As soon as a dark web monitoring tool detects a match, the information is passed to the account owner or organization who is alerted about the existence of their sensitive information in the darknet.
Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge the unfortunate reality that far too many times, dark web monitoring instruments have failed to alert account owners in good time – by the time a scanner, crawler or scraper has detected stolen credentials-for-sale on the dark web, the offensive threat actors have already sold the stolen data or used them for more sinister purposes.
Still, dark web monitoring should be a critical element for organizational cybersecurity as long as it is designed to detect exposures way before cybercriminal elements act upon stolen data.
How Do They Work?
As soon as a dark web monitoring tool discovers stolen credentials on the dark web, it swings into an authentication process – which would prompt an account owner to change their password or demand a second authentication factor to ascertain that an account takeover has not taken place.
As advised by experts, the best dark web monitoring tool will not only discover stolen credentials in dark web forums, but clean the data and crack hashed passwords so that victim organizations and individuals can actually access the useable data.