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Protecting your small business from the dark web

The dangers of the dark web are not a problem facing only large multinationals. Small business owners are also at risk of cybercriminals breaching company systems. While small businesses used to be seen as immune to cybercrime, this is no longer the case.

And while some small business managers are taking steps to enhance their cybersecurity protection, the dark web just isn’t on the radar for many.

Why small business owners should know about the dark web

Think of the dark web as synonymous with anonymity. Dan Patterson explains in an article for TechRepublic: “Much like the Internet – or Clearnet – that is accessed every day by billions of people, the dark web is a network of websites, forums, and communication tools like email. What differentiates the dark web from the Clearnet is that users are required to run a suite of security tools that help anonymise web traffic.”

And this is why the dark web has become infiltrated with cybercrime. Not everything is illegal on the dark web, but it is a massive marketplace for stolen personal information and company data. Any data breach leads to information being traded on the dark web by people looking to steal identities and anything else they can turn to their advantage.

Despite its dangers, many small business owners aren’t aware the dark web exists. A report from Switchfast (an IT business focusing on small businesses), shows that 26% of small business owners don’t understand the dark web. Furthermore, they have little to no understanding of how the dark web can exacerbate data breaches.

It’s also possible that small businesses may not even know they have been a target until their data is being used by someone else. Even if small businesses understand the existence and dangers posed by the dark web, it’s difficult to access and navigate.

How can small businesses implement protective measures?

Small businesses can deploy dark web response and monitoring software and tools. Many options allow companies to select which information they want to monitor. They then receive notifications if that data turns up where it shouldn’t. This helps to alert the business to any data breach and give them the opportunity to limit further damage.

Most attacks against small businesses involve identity or account takeovers, so this is the kind of data that should be monitored. The most commonly stolen forms of information are personal identification information and user credentials. As this kind of data monitoring is labour intensive, and not particularly suited to small businesses with finite resources, many choose to outsource it.

Even with this in place, businesses should take steps to minimise any impact from a possible attack. This involves having recovery procedures in place in case a cyberattack does affect them.

James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited says: “As with any form of security procedure, training should be given to employees and small business owners. Human error almost always forms part of a successful cyberattack. These reports show that the awareness among small business owners of the dark web and the dangers it represents is relatively unknown for many.

“This suggests that there is a distinct training need. Small businesses should implement regular security and training exercises for all workers, in order to reinforce security best practice among employees unaware of the best way to respond to a threat. “

About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.

Turner Little and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Material on this page has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.