It’s the section of the internet that is unknown to the vast majority of people. The Dark Web is a network of websites and servers that use encryption in an attempt to keep their activities secret. It isn’t indexed by search engines but it’s where fraudsters buy drugs, guns, credit card details and personal information. In fact, when researchers at King’s College, London, looked at the contents of nearly 3,000 sites on the Dark Web, they discovered that 57 per cent were hosting illicit material.

While the Silk Road, one of the best-known aspects of the Dark Web, is used by drug dealers and their clients, financial data is one of the most common forms of personal information sold and bought by fraudsters on Dark Web generally, while login details are also highly sought after. These can be used to access sensitive information on corporate sites as well as personal bank accounts. Information ends up on the Dark Web through sources such as data breaches, phishing or skimming and illegal activity by an individual within the organisation itself.

To prevent their data being traded on this sinister version of the internet, organisations need to ensure that they have appropriate controls and monitoring measures in place. A layered approach should include anti-cyberattack technology alongside staff training and awareness campaigns.

Given its lawlessness, complexity and lack of transparency, monitoring the Dark Web requires expertise and experience. It is often difficult for organisations due to a lack of highly skilled resources and skillset they typically have available. Instead, companies would be better served by working closely with a technology provider who can provide the relevant support along with assistance in closely monitoring the Dark Web for relevant data using specialist tools and techniques.