The Dark Web Threat to Your Business and How to Protect Yourself

Did you know that your entire identity can be illegally sold on the Dark Web for as little as $10 to $12?  Did you know that your entire company bank account can be cleaned out in a matter of minutes by criminals with less than a high school education?

In a world of increasing online interactions, digital payment systems, and organizations keeping databases with sensitive information, such as corporate information and personal identities, company bank accounts are being stolen from right under our noses!

There are hackers out there who are looking to steal your company’s money.  If they can’t get to that, they’ll immediately go after company or personally sensitive information and exploit all of it for their own personal and financial gain. Whether it’s company banking information, credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers or geographic location, cyber criminals can find a nefarious use and market for nearly any kind of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), making your company, employees and customers vulnerable to identity theft.

The Authorities Won’t Help You for Losses Under $100K

It may not be so surprising to hear news that large companies like Anthem, Sony, or Equifax have been hacked and that hundreds of thousands of PII records have been stolen. But what probably will surprise you are the stories that don’t make the news.  It’s hard to interpret the loss of $140 million in terms that a $10 million company can understand, but the impact on the $10 million company might be even greater.

The real target of cybercrime is YOU

It’s actually much easier to target small businesses and regular people, just like you—and the payoff is enormous!  In fact, Accelerate has clients that have fallen victim to cyber criminals and whether the theft itself was $10,000 or $100,000, the end result can be catastrophic.  In fact, one company who had $16,000 stolen went to the FBI and was told,

“Sorry, it’s under $100K and we don’t have the bandwidth to help you.  I hope you have insurance.”

Don’t think for a second this can’t happen to you!

Is your company banking information on the dark web?
Contact us to request a FREE DARK WEB SCAN 

How the Dark Web Ties In

The Dark Web is a dangerous place. It’s an alternative internet for all kinds of illicit, disturbing activities. Drugs, weapons, and other illegal products, information, and services are bought, sold, and traded for shockingly low prices.

For businesses, this is particularly concerning due to the amount of sensitive company, employee and customer data kept between your various systems. A single system breach can result in the loss of hundreds upon thousands of Personally Identifiable pieces of data, potentially putting your employees, customers, and your entire business at risk for exposure to cyber criminals.

Full of digital chat rooms, forums, auction houses, and shops, the Dark Web is a breeding ground for people and organizations who live outside the confines of the law. Identities are sold to the highest bidder, leaving your business or clients in a tangle of complications that could take years to rectify. Even fingerprints, passwords, PIN numbers, credit cards, and electronic signatures are objects of interest on the Dark Web.

Basically, every aspect of a company’s or person’s identity has a black market value on the Dark Web.

Why Business Identity and Personally Identifiable Information is Valuable

In addition to protecting your sensitive business information, protecting the personal data of employees and customers has become a standard component of a business’s information security policy, especially considering that our technology is shaping the way that we interact with the world around us. And this comes at a cost, because smartphones, tablets, or computers, can be stolen or lost, or company networks can be compromised.

Business and personal identities are valuable to criminals for a number of reasons:

  • Setting up a fraudulent loan in another person’s name.
  • Making fraudulent insurance claims or filing for government benefits.
  • For medical identity theft, such as obtaining illegal medical care or gaining access to pharmaceuticals.
  • Using the information for ransom, blackmail, and extortion.
  • To make purchases, open up credit lines, and commit crimes such as espionage, illegal information, phishing, or even terrorism.

Last year, Equifax was the target of a major attack where hackers exploited a known web server vulnerability and stole Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from over 145 million Americans. Everything from Social Security Numbers, birth dates, and addresses, to credit card numbers and driver’s licenses were compromised. Those affected are still trying to find answers and reverse the damage done to their identities and their private information.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering what preventative measures your organization can take to ensure that your business doesn’t fall prey to these kinds of identity threats.

How to Protect Your Business’s Money and Sensitive Data

You should know that since 2015, ransomware is up over 16,000 percent (not a typo).

  • A company is hit with ransomware every 40 seconds
  • 6 in 10 malware payloads were ransomware in Q1 2017
  • There were 4.3x new ransomware variants in Q1 2017 than in Q1 2016
  • 15% or more of businesses in the top 10 industry sectors have been attacked

Truly scary stuff. So, let’s get to the steps you need to take to prevent this from happening to your business.

Here are some basic actions that your business can take to protect itself from hacking and other security breaches:

  • Encrypt data by utilizing full disk encryption tools that are standard to a majority of operating systems.
  • Set your company computers to automatically log out after about 6 to 10 minutes of non-use.
  • Secure all hardware with lock ports that can prevent physical theft of electronic equipment.
  • Ensure that all personnel is appropriately trained in security awareness so any possible risky situations can be avoided.
  • Develop an internet policy that is specific to your organization and provides definitive guidelines as to the types of internet practices that are prohibited on company devices.

You have to remember that cybercriminals are very good at what they do. They will try to catch you off guard or pretend to be someone you know and trust, like getting an email from your boss, requesting you to transfer sensitive customer information, for example. And once you unknowingly accede to their dishonest request, you’ve exposed a customer’s private data to theft. So, in this example, be sure to call your boss to confirm the request if it seems out of the ordinary or in contravention to your private data handling policy.

There are other ways can you protect your business as well:

  • Use paper shredders or other devices when disposing off hard copy information.
  • Protect ATM pins and passwords properly with complex verification information.
  • Properly dispose all of your company’s IT equipment and storage media, and sanitize all information. This includes data kept on old smartphones, hard drives, computers, cameras, servers, and USB memory drives.
  • Closely monitor all online transactions and histories so you can become quickly aware of any unfamiliar credit card purchases or activities, check for any sudden changes in your credit score (which indicates someone may be using your credit cards), and ensure hardcopy bills for utilities, rent, etc. are arriving on schedule.
  • Implement preventative measures to protect passwords with two-factor authentication, which necessitates an additional step beyond an email and password.
  • Avoid using the same passwords and emails across work, social, and consumer websites.

Is Your Information Up For Sale in the Dark Web?

Is your information on the dark web?
Contact us to request a FREE DARK WEB SCAN 

You may just be surprised! Click this link to find out of….

With cyber attacks occurring at an increasing rate, our Cyber Security Experts can help protect your company’s cash and help guard you from identity theft and illegal misuse of valuable personal information. Protect your credit assets and name with services that can determine if your personally identifiable information exists on the Dark Web.

Accelerate, can perform an in-depth Dark Web Search for your company’s private information. This can be a dangerous, risky place for your business to navigate, so don’t attempt to handle this task alone. Leave it to experienced professionals.

Contact Accelerate today and begin taking proactive steps to safeguard your business’s sensitive data, and that of your employees and customers.

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