Dark Web monitoring must constantly evolve to keep up with the tricks and tactics employed by the cyber criminals.

6 Min Read
Flashlight in darkness

The Dark Web is the seamy underbelly of the internet. It is where bad actors lurk and do business with their equally unscrupulous peers. While much of what makes the headlines is the sales of drugs, weapons and child pornography, there is a far more plentiful product being supplied there that can jeopardize individuals and businesses alike: information.

Personal information–from voter registration data to full credit card details–is well stocked on the Dark Web, and it’s being sold in bulk to criminals looking to exploit that data for identity theft, scams and online shopping sprees unleashed on unsuspecting citizens. When this information falls into the wrong hands it can ruin people’s credit and leave them with months or years of legal battles to undo the damage and reclaim their identities.

But businesses are just as susceptible to being undermined via information traded on the Dark Web. Login credentials, server information, transaction details, account information … There’s an endless trove of data that can be stolen and either ransomed back to the company or sold to the highest Bitcoin bidder before it’s employed for whatever nefarious purposes the buyer may have in mind.

An Ongoing Challenge

Dark Web threats aren’t going away, and declaring that a company’s data is safe today doesn’t guarantee it will remain so tomorrow. That’s why Dark Web monitoring must be performed on a continual basis, as a breach or theft can occur at any time followed by a rapid sell-off on the Dark Web.

But beyond simply running the same checks and scans daily or weekly, Dark Web monitoring must constantly evolve to keep up with the tricks and tactics employed by the criminals actively seeking to steal, sell and possess this illicit material. Because this requires dedication and subject matter expertise, companies should turn to partners that can provide them with Dark Web monitoring solutions that are always evolving to keep up with the latest trends. This will help companies as they try to remain ahead of (or, at least, aware of) the threats lying in wait for them.

MSPs can offer irreplaceable value to their customers by providing Dark Web monitoring services as part of their portfolio. Just as clients look to MSPs to take on the burdens of managing cloud deployments and regulatory compliance, an MSP can offer a state-of-the-art Dark Web monitoring solution that scours these illegal marketplaces for information that could be used against the company and its customers.

The Threat Is All Too Real

Until a business falls victim to an incident fueled by information traded on the Dark Web, it’s easy to dismiss the whole idea as something only the largest enterprises need to worry about. After all, why would cyber criminals pick on a small businesses when they could try and blackmail Facebook or break into Bank of America?

But SMBs represent a target-rich environment. Security protocols at such organizations are typically more lax than they are in top-tier enterprises, and there’s less chance of competition from other ne’er-do-wells similarly mining the Dark Web for the keys to the kingdom.

And unlike large businesses with deeper pockets and more entrenched reputations and business relationships, a Dark Web-fueled attack can completely ruin an SMB. In fact, 60 percent of small businesses end up closing within six months of a cyber attack. Even VC darlings with nine-figure valuations can find themselves shutting down after their user data is exploited and trust is dashed, thanks to the Dark Web.

What Dark Web Monitoring Looks Like

Once a company recognizes that Dark Web threats are real and could jeopardize the future of their business, it can engage strategic partners to continually monitor the Dark Web for potential problems.

With businesses turning to MSPs to service their IT needs, an MSP that does not offer Dark Web monitoring as an offering on the menu is simply irresponsible at this point in time. At Kaseya, we’ve recognized that the Dark Web represents such a fundamental threat to the clients of our MSP customers that we’ve acquired ID Agent to provide MSPs with a robust solution for providing scalable monitoring services for the businesses under their purview.

ID Agent’s Dark Web solutions include domain monitoring and searching for compromised emails, passwords and personal information in real time, spotting potential problems before they can turn into serious damage. Monitoring services can also extend to personal emails of employees because the information contained in those accounts could compromise the company, or employees could be using the same or similar passwords for corporate credentials.

A Must-Have for MSPs

MSPs should be offering Dark Web monitoring services to all of their clients and prospects. Although customers may not be explicitly requesting this protection, by entrusting their IT services to an MSP they’re expecting to be protected from cyber threats. If they’re not asking for it by name, MSPs should be proactively educating their clientele and pushing this protection for every opportunity.

The incremental revenue is one obvious upside–an account can easily generate an additional $5,000 or $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue by adding Dark Web monitoring services. But beyond the money, providing this service increases the MSP’s value to the customer and creates a stronger relationship.

Knowing that your MSP has your back and is looking under rocks for potential problems reinforces the benefits of outsourcing to an MSP. Plus, if a client does suffer a Dark Web-based attack, you can be sure the client will partially blame their MSP even if it wasn’t their fault to begin with.

Nobody Wants It, But Everybody Needs It

Dark Web monitoring is sadly here to stay. As long as there’s an internet, bad actors will look to exploit it despite the legal and moral reasons not to pursue a life of cyber crime. Acknowledging the threat and addressing it is the responsible move for any business, despite the inconvenience and additional cost.

As MSPs, it’s your job to sometimes be the bearer of bad news—in this case, that the Dark Web poses a threat to your customers’ business and livelihood. But having a solution in hand to proactively protect customers will make it a far easier pill to swallow–and preventative care they’re far more likely to take.

Contact ID Agent to learn more about how you can better protect your clients from the Dark Web.

Joining Kaseya in 2012, Miguel Lopez brings over 20 years of experience to his role as SVP, Managed Service Providers (MSPs). In this position, he consults daily with MSPs to help them solve their clients’ business problems with technology solutions. Prior to joining Kaseya, Miguel served as the director of consulting services for All Covered, a nationwide technology services company that is a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc. In 2008, All Covered acquired NetCor Technologies, a leading MSP that Miguel founded and managed since 1997. NetCor specialized in serving highly regulated industries such as healthcare, CPAs, law firms and retail companies.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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