SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

How to keep data off the Dark Web, even though it’s growing darker

By Contribution
Thu 9 Dec 2021

Article by Forcepoint company, Bitglass, leader of the Threat Research Group, Mike Schuricht.

A recreation of a 2015 Dark Web investigation by Bitglass reveals - no surprise - that the Dark Web is getting darker. So let's delve deeper into the research, which discusses the rapid growth of Dark Web activity and suggests ways to protect an organisation's data.

Cyber security professionals may be forgiven for believing they are in touch with the cyber threats out there. Still, as the world is becoming increasingly digital, the risks of breaches have reached another level. Further investigation into today's Dark Web has unearthed even more proactive and sinister threats posed to organisations, which emanate from the upper percentiles of cybercriminal intellects.

In sharing the reality of this Dark Web activity, cyber pros will be able to identify patterns to formulate a frontline defence strategy for their organisations.

The Dark Web has always been a mysterious space within the Internet where users can communicate and partake in illegal activities. But the growing sophistication of technology is skilling up cybercriminals in areas including AI and ML, which means what the threatscape looked like six years ago pales in comparison to that of the Dark Web observed by our latest investigation.

'Where's My Data' experiment

To find out how data is viewed and accessed on the Dark Web, Bitglass' threat research team re-created its 2015 'Where's Your Data' data tracking experiment. It created a fictional identity claiming to have a list of vetted login and password data originating from the RockYou2021 password compilation leak.

Researchers posted in various Dark Web marketplaces, also known as 'pastebins', with links to faux files with credentials that would allow access inside organisations in retail, government, gaming and media. The files were embedded with our proprietary watermarking technology, which traced the data after users on the Dark Web accessed it.

The research reveals a rapid growth of dark web activity with more serious dangers posed to organisations and a more anonymous profile of dark web viewers. For example, in 2021, 93% of viewers on the Dark Web are anonymous, compared to 67% in 2015.

Stolen data spread 11 times faster on the Dark Web than it did in 2015. Breach data received over 13,200 views in 2021 versus 1,100 views in 2015 - a 1,100% increase. In 2015, it took 12 days to reach 1,100 link views compared to less than 24 hours to surpass that milestone in 2021.

What's more, its reach was greater, with breach data downloaded from entities spanning five different countries. This increased interest and activity around stolen data on the Dark Web can be attributed to the increased number of data breaches as well as more avenues for cybercriminals to monetise exfiltrated data.

Another noteworthy finding was the international reach of cybercrime and that the location of cybercriminals proved to be closer than you may think. The top three downloads of stolen data originated from Kenya, the US and Romania.

Of all the types of data that our researchers seeded on the Dark Web, data to access retail and US Government networks received the most clicks, 37% and 32%, respectively.

Gaining access to large retailers' networks remains a top priority for many cybercriminals wishing to deploy ransomware and extort pay-outs from large and profitable organisations. Similarly, interest in the US Government information could be due to state-sponsored hackers or independent hackers looking to sell this information to nation-states.

How to keep data off the Dark Web

Some ways to check that an organisation's cyber security is working its hardest include:

  • Ensure security covers all devices, anywhere, not only on the corporate network
  • Implement mechanisms to track location and access of all data and credentials 
  • Employ a Zero Trust Framework 
  • Adopt a best practice approach to employee cyber-hygiene 
  • Block SaaS app login and access attempts with CASB by denying anonymisers and activity from unfamiliar or suspicious locations
  • Develop a security strategy that is independent of your underlying operating system infrastructure

Since hackers and cybercriminals use many of the same tools and technologies that tech experts are adopting, such as cloud computing, AI, and machine learning, it is vital to use advanced technologies to protect your data.

Undisputedly, the Dark Web activity has become even darker. And, as corporate data moves beyond the firewall, traditional security solutions have become obsolete. Only through best practice, new technology and a strategy that addresses current threat levels will data be secured.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Delinea’s Joseph Carson recognised with OnCon Icon Award
Delinea chief security scientist and advisory CISO Joseph Carson has been recognised as a Top 50 Information Security Professional in the 2022 OnCon Icon Awards.
Story image
Documentation
Adobe study finds lack of digital trust and utilisation in Australian Government agencies
New research commissioned by Adobe has revealed a significant lack of digital trust within Australian Government departments, along with the continued underutilisation of key digital processes.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
Story image
Digital Fingerprint
Decline in counterfeit cherries after digital fingerprinting
Reid Fruits says there’s been a dramatic decline in counterfeit products for its cherries over the past three export seasons to Asia because of digital fingerprinting.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
PwC
PwC's Consulting Business and PwC's Indigenous Consulting are proud to play an important role in helping Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience build IMAGI-NATION, a free online university for marginalised communities around the world.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
PwC
WSLHD and PwC’s Consulting Business came together to solve through the challenges of COVID-19. A model of care was developed to the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation guidelines with new technology platforms and an entirely new workforce.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Attack
Phishing attacks are making a comeback
No matter what approach or tool cybercriminals use to breach a network, they all have one thing in common: access.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Compliance
SentinelOne integrates with Torq to empower security teams
"With Torq, security teams can extend the power of SentinelOne to systems across the organisation to benefit from a proactive security posture.”
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Ransomware
Businesses unprepared to defend against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to impact organisations worldwide with high costs, but businesses are still largely unprepared.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.