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You’ve undoubtedly heard of the dark web before; that scary place where the world’s most crooked individuals run amok. But what is it really? How and where does it operate, and how is it different than the internet experience we know and use everyday? It would take a small manual to fully explain all the elements necessary to fully answer these questions, so we’ll just tackle the most common and most pressing question in this article – What is the “Dark Web” Anyway?

There are essentially three layers of the world wide web: the surface, deep and dark respectively.

  1. The Surface Web is the outermost layer, or crust if you will, of the entire web. The surface web is available to the general public and accessible through your regular search engines like Google or Bing or browser like Chrome or Internet Explorer.
  2. The Deep Web or “invisible web” is composed of content that is not indexed by the aforementioned search engines, like banking websites or email clients. These websites are not “crawled” by the software that indexes other websites for search engines. Simply speaking, this is where content lives that is not brought up to the surface web through indexing. These websites can still be accessed if you input the URL directly, though many such websites require login credentials.
  3. The Dark Web is a small percentage of the internet that is only accessible through specialized software such as a Tor browser. The dark web acts as a platform for the dark net, which is an overlay of networks that allow users and website operators to remain completely anonymous and untraceable, making it an ideal playground for hackers and cyber-criminals. Because hacking IS a for-profit business, there are criminal entities who steal, combine and sell personal information on the Dark Web, like passwords, social security numbers, bank account information and credit cards. The sad reality is that a number of small businesses have their information exposed on the dark web without even realizing it.

So what’s a company to do?

Fortunately, there are a number of dark web scans that are able to identify your business information on dark web marketplaces (markets where sensitive data is bought and sold by hackers to be exploited later). We HIGHLY recommend reaching out to your IT support provider and requesting a dark web scan to determine whether or not your company has been compromised on the dark web. But remember, a scan is just a way to identify problems, not resolve them.

For a real solution that works, you need an expert IT consultant with experience protecting businesses from dark web threats. Contact PCI today at 914-934-9775 and ask our representative about dark web protection for more information on how you can secure your livelihood from hackers and cyber-criminals.