From Awareness to Action: Safeguard Your Business With These Dark Web Statistics
Brief: This article examines the top dark web statistics vital for Canadian IT leaders to make sound cyber security decisions, offering insight into the dark web and tips on protecting your business against cyber threats.
“The only way to deal with the future is to function efficiently in the now.”
– Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
If you’re in IT Management, you’re familiar with the dark web, perhaps even having spent some time there yourself.
You know that the dark web’s infamy stems from its role as a marketplace for illicit activities, including the trading of personal data. This is no abstract threat, it’s a real, operational risk.
The alarming reality that personal and corporate data can be, and often is, traded for minimal costs is not just another stat. Credit card details and government-issued IDs, possibly even from your company or customers, can exchange hands for as little as C$6 and C$173 respectively.
Robert A. Heinlein’s advice is a great reminder that in order to protect ourselves from the dangers of having our secure information published on the dark web in the future, we should take action to prevent that from happening right now.
With that in mind, let’s arm ourselves with data, and take a look at 12 shocking dark web statistics that will help you better understand the current threat landscape and the dangers associated with not maintaining an active defence.
Beyond reviewing key dark web stats, we make recommendations for actions you can take to protect your business from these types of events. You can then use this information to develop your own cyber security policies, and help justify the investment in cyber security to senior leadership.
Read on, and avoid becoming just another of these 12 dark web statistics.
1.) 7.7% Increase in Cyber Attacks on Canadian Companies
This dark web statistic highlights a concerning trend for Canadian companies, with cyber attacks against businesses experiencing a surge from 78% to 85.7% in a single year.
This sharp increase is a clear signal that threats from the dark web are on the rise in Canada. Given this reality, it’s evident that your firm is not merely at risk—it very well could be a specific target.
Based on this, Internal It Managers can take several proactive steps to protect their users and data:
Strengthen Cyber Security Frameworks: Review and enhance your cyber security policies and procedures. This could include updating firewalls, deploying advanced threat detection software, and ensuring that all systems are up to date with the latest security patches.
Employee Training and Awareness: Implement regular training sessions for your employees to recognize and respond to cyber security threats, such as phishing attempts and suspicious activities. Promoting a culture of security awareness is key to preventing successful attacks.
Dust Off Your Incident Response Plan: Develop or update your incident response plan to ensure swift action can be taken in the event of a cyber attack. This plan should include steps for containment, eradication of the threat, recovery of systems, and communication strategies both internally and externally.
2.) Cost of Data Breaches in Canada: $5.4 Million in 2021
What does the cost of a breach look like?
According to IBM, the financial impact of these breaches, hit $5.4 million in 2021. This represents a significant cost to your average SMB.
You can use this data to support funding for cyber security investments, by highlighting the following points in your proposal or discussions:
Cost of Breaches vs. Cost of Prevention: Present data on the average cost of a cyber breach for businesses similar in size and industry to yours, compared to the investment required for enhanced cyber security measures. This comparison often shows that prevention is far less costly than recovery.
Return on Investment (ROI): Emphasize the ROI of cyber security investments, not just in terms of preventing losses but also in safeguarding future revenue by protecting your brand’s reputation and customer trust.
This increase isn’t just a quantitative change, it’s a qualitative one, where the nature and sophistication of cyber threats have advanced significantly.
For IT Managers, this means constant learning about the dark web, where threats are not only more numerous but also more complex and harder to detect.
It’s crucial to stay ahead, which means constantly updating your cyber security playbook.
To do this, IT leaders are incorporating advanced data analysis and leveraging intelligence-led threat assessments in their cyber security programs.
4.) Over 30% of North Americans Regularly Access the Dark Web
The increasing use of the dark web by everyday people (including employees) rings alarm bells, not just for IT professionals but for anyone concerned about cyber security.
With nearly one-third of North Americans familiar with the dark web, its growth and rise in illicit activities are undeniable.
The dark web isn’t exclusive to hardcore criminals anymore; it’s become a space where the average person might unintentionally wander into dangerous territories, and where anyone with internet access can potentially launch cyber attacks, thanks to the widespread availability of hacking tools and information available on the dark web.
This dark web statistic highlights a reality that forces IT professionals to overhaul their security strategies. In fact, many are investing in advanced cyber security technologies and services like network monitoring, threat detection systems, and cyber security insurance, to protect against and respond to the broad spectrum of threats originating from the dark web.
5.) 133,927 Executive Credentials from C-Level Executives On the Dark Web
The surge in cybercriminal activities targeting high-value individuals within Canadian Professional Services firms casts a glaring spotlight on a disturbing trend in the dark web.
Executives have unrestricted access to the firm’s sensitive data, and are finding themselves increasingly targeted.
This threat isn’t just theoretical; it’s quantifiable, with over 133,927 executive credentials known to be circulating on the dark web. Such exposure can lead to corporate espionage, devastating data breaches, and significant financial and reputational losses.
These risks show the necessity of implementing stronger safeguards around those who occupy the C-Suite of the company.
In response, many It Managers are implementing robust cyber security training for executives, focusing on recognizing phishing attempts and securing personal information, coupled with employing advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), encryption, and regular monitoring of personal data on the internet to quickly identify and respond to potential breaches.
6.) The Mother of All Breaches: 26 Billion New Records
With 12 terabytes of information and over 26 billion records now on the dark web, the breach is a wake-up call.
This breach isn’t just about the volume of data; it’s the variety—from personal IDs to financial information, now easily accessible for malicious use.
What makes this particular dark web statistic—and data leak—such a concerning event is that the MOAB reindexes thousands of breaches into a searchable database, possibly revealing new information from old incidents.
The risk this poses to businesses cannot be overstated.
MOAB simplifies launching identity theft, phishing, and targeted cyberattacks. Given the habit of employees reusing login credentials, the potential for credential stuffing attacks—where attackers gain access to more accounts—is high. This breach also sets the stage for highly targeted spear-phishing campaigns.
Moreover, the MOAB’s inclusion of government and corporate records heightens the risk of identity theft and fraud.
In response, internal IT Managers should immediately implement stringent cyber security measures, including conducting thorough security audits to identify vulnerabilities, enforcing strong password policies and multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access, and educating employees about the risks of credential reuse and how to recognize phishing attempts.
If you’re responsible for your cyber security posture in-house, consider investing in advanced threat detection and response systems to quickly identify and mitigate any potential breaches stemming from the MOAB incident, while also reviewing and updating your incident response plans to address the new scale and scope of cyber security threats.
7.) Cybercrime Get Organized as Gangs Pay 10-20% of Earning to Central Boss
For IT Managers in Canadian Professional Services firms, it’s critical to recognize the advanced level of organization within cybercrime syndicates. These groups operate with a sophistication that might surpass common perceptions.
This dark web statistic not only highlights the hierarchical nature of these illegal operations but also points to their scale and sophistication. Such a system suggests that these criminals are not only well-funded but also highly organized, capable of executing coordinated and sustained cyber threats against businesses.
Cybercrime syndicates targeting Canadian companies are highly organized and sophisticated, operating with a level of coordination and funding that may exceed many organizations’ current cyber security defences.
The first step for an IT Manager would be to conduct a comprehensive security assessment to understand your firm’s vulnerabilities and update your cyber security strategy accordingly, prioritizing continuous monitoring, advanced threat detection, and employee education on the evolving nature of these cyber threats.
8.) Over 23 Million Fortune 1000 Employee Passwords Compromised
The recent revelation that over 23 million plaintext credentials linked to Fortune 1000 employees are accessible to cybercriminals on the dark web is raising alarms across Canadian companies.
For IT managers, the issue goes beyond the staggering number of exposed passwords. This situation reveals the profound vulnerabilities in current security frameworks and the multitude of risks they introduce, from data theft to corporate espionage.
This is another dark web statistic that serves as a potent reminder that Cyber security strategies need to evolve. Advanced cyber security measures and rigorous password management are now indispensable to protect sensitive information and preserve business integrity.
In response to an event like this you should immediately initiate a company-wide password reset for all employees, especially for those with access to sensitive or critical systems.
Simultaneously, implement or strengthen multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all corporate accounts to add an additional layer of security against unauthorized access, effectively reducing the risk of compromised credentials leading to data theft or other security breaches.
9.) 65% of Active Criminal Gangs Use Spear Phishing Powered by Dark Web Data
Spear phishing is on the rise, and it’s getting personal. If you’re managing IT at a Canadian business, here’s something you need to hear: 65% of cybercriminal gangs are now using data from the dark web to
It’s not just about those random spammy emails anymore. These are clever, convincing scams aimed right at your firm’s most sensitive data and finances. With such a high number of gangs turning to spear phishing, it’s clear we’ve got to step up our game.
One thing you can do to counteract the rise in spear phishing is to launch an urgent cyber security awareness training for all staff, emphasizing the sophistication and personalization of these attacks. Educate your team on how to recognize and respond to suspicious emails, such as verifying the sender’s information and not clicking on links or attachments from unknown sources.
Additionally, implement email filtering and phishing detection tools to automatically identify and quarantine potential threats before they reach your employees.
10.) RockYou2021 Leak: 8.4 Billion Passwords Up for Grabs
The RockYou2021 incident, involving a 100GB text file leaked on a hacker forum containing an estimated 8.4 billion passwords, represents a monumental security threat.
The RockYou2021 password dump presents significant security risks to your business by exposing you to a wide range of cyberattacks, such as credential stuffing, phishing, and brute force hacking, exacerbated by the widespread issue of password reuse among employees—even though most are aware of the dangers.
Similar to a previous dark web stat, this vulnerability is compounded by the fact that many individuals recycle their passwords across multiple personal and professional accounts, with high-level employees and executives being particularly valuable targets for their access privileges and the potential for business email compromise.
An immediate action you can take is to enforce a strict password policy across your organization, requiring the use of strong, unique passwords for each account, complemented by the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security (do you recognize a theme here?).
11.) Hackers Attack Every 39 Seconds
The reality of cyber attacks is both constant and intense. They aren’t sporadic incidents, they’re a continuous stream of sophisticated, targeted efforts aimed at exploiting your business’s vulnerabilities.
There’s a hacker attempting to breach a system every 39 seconds. Continuous updates to defences, regular team training, and staying updated on Cyber security news are crucial for ensuring your business is protected.
12.) 60% of Dark Web Information Could Harm Enterprises
It’s vital to be aware of the unseen dangers that lurk within the dark web. This hidden part of the internet is not just a hub for illicit activities, it’s a goldmine for information that could potentially endanger your enterprise.
Shockingly, 60% of the content found there poses a threat to businesses, exposing everything from sensitive corporate data to intellectual property.
Protecting your business means more than just safeguarding data, it’s about preserving your reputation, avoiding financial losses, and steering clear of legal entanglements.
Three things you can do today to becoming one of these dark web statistics include:
Use Strong, Unique Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implementing complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts and enabling MFA wherever possible adds significant barriers to unauthorized access, making it much harder for cybercriminals to exploit your information.
Regularly Monitor and Freeze Credit: Regular monitoring of your financial accounts and credit reports can alert you to any unusual activity that might indicate identity theft. Freezing your credit with the major credit bureaus can prevent unauthorized opening of accounts in your name.
Employ a Reputable Security Suite with Dark Web Monitoring: Utilize a comprehensive security software solution that includes dark web monitoring. This service scans the dark web for your information and alerts you if your data is found, allowing you to take immediate action to secure your accounts.
The Final Line of Defense: Using these Dark Web Statistics to Protect Your Business
If you’re an in-house IT Manager, these 12 dark web statistics might make you feel that covering all the bases can be overwhelming.
However, working with an MSSP can take a significant amount of the work and stress away. Hiring a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can enhance your company’s cyber security posture, especially concerning the risks associated with the dark web. Here’s how an MSSP can assist in this process:
1. Dark Web Monitoring
- Detection and Assessment: An MSSP will use sophisticated tools and techniques to monitor the dark web for any signs of your business data has leaked and is being traded or shared. This includes scanning for leaked credentials, sensitive business information, intellectual property, and customer data.
- Reporting: They provide detailed reports on what data has been found, potentially including the source of the leak, which parts of your business are affected, and the severity of the exposure.
2. Prevention and Continuous Protection
- Strengthening Cyber Security: MSSPs will help fortify your cyber security defences to prevent future data leaks. This includes implementing advanced security measures, such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure network architectures.
- Employee Training: They can provide cyber security training for your employees, focusing on best practices to avoid phishing scams, secure password policies, and other strategies to reduce the risk of data breaches.
- Regular Security Assessments: Continuous assessments and penetration testing can help identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited and lead to data being leaked to the dark web.
- Incident Response Planning: Developing or refining your incident response plan to quickly address any future breaches, minimizing the impact and reducing the chances of your data ending up on the dark web again.
Go Beyond Dark Web Statistics and Choose the Right MSSP
These dark web statistics can be helpful in identifying the threat, but they’re only a first step. We’ve outlined a few best practices you can follow, but if this is overwhelming, you might consider working with an MSSP to protect your business.
When selecting an MSSP, consider their experience in dealing with dark web threats, the sophistication of their monitoring tools, their ability to provide actionable intelligence, and their track record in helping businesses recover from and prevent data breaches.
A reputable MSSP will not only assist in monitoring for data on the dark web but will also play a crucial role in enhancing your overall cyber security strategy to prevent future incidents.
If you’re worried your data might be on the dark web, or have questions about your cyber security stance, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation today.