Dark web threats and how to detect them

Picture this: a hooded hacker logs onto the dark web and searches for their next lucrative scam. Their sources might reveal databases of your customer data, phish kits to trick your colleagues, or a backdoor key to your private network. You might not even know about their plots until it’s too late. 

While that might not be the case right at this moment, threats do exist in these shady channels. Covert channels beneath the surface web spawn plenty of attacks against legitimate businesses. Separating the myths from reality helps businesses identify risks, protect themselves, and keep their clients safe.

What is the dark web?

Legitimate businesses and websites index their content online, making them fully accessible, traceable, and accountable to digital authorities. In the dark web, by contrast, users hide their content on unindexed pages, encrypted forums, and closed messaging channels. Dark web users often hide their IPs too, and this mutual anonymity fosters illegal and illicit activity. 

Authorities frequently tackle the most prolific dark web sites, such as the notorious Silk Road, which the FBI shut down in 2013. Similar illicit marketplaces appeared, expanded, and disappeared in the years since. However, users contentiously participate in hard-to-identify and difficult-to-remove spaces, from encrypted messaging platforms to paste bins. Recent reports also highlight increasing counterfeit activity across the dark web. Businesses must therefore take a multi-channel approach to understanding and detecting these threats.

What kinds of threats appear on the dark web?

Understanding the types of dark web threats that cybercriminals level at legitimate businesses helps inform your protection strategies. Some of the most common digital risks include:

•          Breached customer data

When cybercriminals steal data from your customers, either directly from the source or by breaching your databases, they often capitalize on this data by retailing it on the dark web. Searching for any breach data pertaining to your company helps you identify when to shore up your defences. 

•          Breached colleague data

Phishing attacks target companies themselves, extracting password and login details, among other proprietary data, to sell to the highest bidder. The sooner a business identifies these leaks and changes its passwords, the better.

•          Phish kits

Phish kits containing all the tools to carry out a cyberattack, or even PhaaS (Phishing as a Service), appear all over the dark web. Identifying any kits with your company’s name on them helps you forewarn your team and your consumer base.

          Backdoor and intranet access

IBM lists backdoor access as a cyberattacker’s top priority, occurring in more than 1/5 of all recorded attacks. Scammers extract login details or hack servers and facilitate access online for financial gain on the dark web. Discovering these plots helps you close and lock any backdoors in your infrastructure.

•          Threat plots

Cybercriminals plot all kinds of attacks on the dark web, from digital attacks like phishing and DDoS to physical attacks on stores and employees. Always intercepting these plots helps businesses strengthen defences to disarm any attacks. 

How can businesses combat dark web threats?

Beyond insider access or decryption keys, software solutions provide vital insights into the dark web’s deepest recesses. Digital scrapers access unindexed content, trawling to identify anything that’s relevant to your business. The right solution helps you search multiple channels, from breach databases and paste bins to encrypted messengers. 

Setting up AI scrapers to hunt for key terms related to your products and your team delivers accurate and up-to-date dark web threat intelligence. With these insights, businesses take action against cyber-criminals, facilitating strategies to safeguard your digital assets, employees, customers, and partners.

EBRAND’s Digital Risk Protection platform, for example, delivers machine learning dark web detection combined with cutting-edge risk detection across your online attack surfaces.


Ultimately, learning more about dark web threats in real-time provides vital insights for your strategy going forward. Understanding why and how scammers operate beneath the surface web increases your chances of stopping the problem and protecting your revenue. Finally, discovering what’s possible with different software solutions helps you make the best decisions for your businesses. If you want to learn more about digital risks and how to solve them, EBRAND experts are happy to help

We’d also love to see you at InfoSec2023, where our team’s discussing digital risks and cutting-edge solutions. Come visit us on Stand S30 at the Bavarian Pavilion, and we’ll tackle digital threats together.

In the meantime, explore this free dark web fact sheet from our team:

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