For something we can’t hold, can’t watch in action and rarely even see ourselves, we certainly place a lot of importance on our personal data.
Yet the value of yours and your business’ can’t be overstated – not least with so many cyber criminals willing to steal or pay for it.
What Happens with Stolen Data?
Data theft isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Statistically, most of us have already been victims.
In 2014, internet service company Yahoo! suffered a breach affecting a confirmed 3billion users, with dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers and hashed passwords among the information compromised. Whatever caused the loss – be it state-sponsored hackers, as Yahoo suggested, or a simple case of company error – the price was our own privacy.
Yet over on the Dark Web, where most of this stolen data ends up, that personal information has a price of its own, and cyber criminals are more than willing to cough up the goods if they think they can turn our credentials into collateral. The Dark Web, the ‘hidden layer’ of the internet accessible only by specialist browsers, provides exactly the kind of anonymity that allows for a booming cyber crime industry.
While the Dark Web isn’t inherently sleazy – even Facebook has its own Dark Web presence – its most infamous website, Silk Road, arguably bolstered its reputation as the perfect online black market. Providing user anonymity also makes it especially attractive for anyone looking to buy or sell illicit goods.
Why is Your Data Valuable?
Data is the currency that keeps the Dark Web’s cyber crime industry afloat; it’s abundant, flexible and more of it is always being made. It could be sold directly to other criminals by the original thief, or used by the buyer for more illicit money-making campaigns; credential-stuffing attacks, extortion or account hijacking, for example.
Stolen data is more than just credentials, however. To criminals, it’s a veritable list of ‘marks’; accounts already proven to be lacking in security and susceptible to further threats or campaigns. Yours isn’t just being hijacked, it’s being interpreted, and smart criminals know how to draw conclusions from your internet activity.
How Do You Protect Your Business Data?
Your most powerful protection against data theft is, quite simply, knowledge.
Your company’s collective awareness of phishing methods, security techniques and policies helps stop breach attempts in their tracks. With so many methods reliant on human error or trust, layering your security with threat-conscious staff is often the most effective method available. Regular Phishing Training helps protect against one of the most popular and successful methods in a hacker’s repertoire, providing a strong first line of defence.
Layering your company security will help you prevent, mitigate and – should the worst ever happen - recover from catastrophic breaches.
Better Understand Your Cyber Security Setup With Our Free Questionnaire
Our Cyber Questionnaire provides a quick and concise breakdown of your company’s security infrastructure, letting you prioritise in your next IT Security Assessment.
With just a few details about your current security systems and habits, we’ll be able to suggest the most pertinent protections for your next Cyber Security review.