The Dark Web: A Cyber Threat Intelligence Overview

What is the Dark Web?

The two portions of the internet which are often confused are the Dark Web and the Deep Web. The Dark Web refers to the portions of the internet that can only be accessed by using special software.  The Deep Web is any portion of the internet which is not indexed by a search engine. A common example of this would be the pages of a forum that require login credentials to access. The special software required to access the Dark Web masks a user’s identity to provide anonymity. 

The History of the Dark Web

The origin of the Dark Web comes from the U.S. Military, who used the principles of the Dark Web in order to communicate with intelligence assets and Americans stationed abroad during the mid-1990s. As a result, the concept of “onion routing,” encapsulating information in layers of encryption in order to mask identity, originated in a Naval Research Laboratory. Onion routing is the foundation of the Tor web browser, which is commonly used to surf the Dark Web.  

The Modern Dark Web

Today, the Dark Web is used for both legitimate and illicit purposes.  The Dark Web, and Tor in particular, help dissidents fighting for freedom in countries where internet censorship is common. Additionally, many journalists and human rights activists use the Dark Web for secure communication and organizing resistance movements. Like most technology, however, the Dark Web has become the place where criminals and those interested in illegal services operate with a degree of anonymity. Large underground markets have been developed for illicit goods and services such as professional hacking services and stolen private data like medical records and credit cards.  

The Dark Web and Data Theft

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, in 2015 over 170 million personal records of various types were stolen in a total of 780 cyber-security breaches.  In 2016, the number of breaches increased by 40% to 1,093 total cyber-security breaches, 93% of which were carried out on private-sector companies. Recently, large companies such as Pay-Pal, Target, and Yahoo and even government agencies such as the CIA have all suffered from cyber-attacks. These attacks show that any company is susceptible to a data breach. Many of the hackers who carry out these cyber-attacks are turning to the Dark Web to sell the data to prevent detection and remain anonymous.    

Defeating Dark Web Threats

At Bluestone Analytics, we are developing solutions that will mitigate the potential threat that hackers using the Dark Web pose. Our technology is used by organizations large and small to prevent leaks of sensitive information on the Dark Web and take appropriate action. The Dark Web is, for the most part, uncharted territory. As a leader in the cyber threat intelligence field, Bluestone Analytics is working to chart the Dark Web in order protect intellectual property and other sensitive data. Contact us here to learn more.