The internet changed our lives. With information on virtually every topic under the sun now at our fingertips, it gave us the confidence to ditch our encyclopedias and reference manuals. Productivity shot up — and, over time, we began relying on the internet for more and more of our daily functions and responsibilities.

For better or worse, we became tangled in “the web.” And while there’s no denying it’s been a positive influence on society, there is a hidden danger lurking just beneath the surface.

The Internet Has Layers

Like artichokes (or cakes, if you’ve got a sweet tooth), the internet has layers.

The web is considered the top layer of internet activity. It’s where you’ll find most of the billion-plus websites in the world, approximately 17% of which are considered active.1Sites that are indexed by search engines such as Google will return search results on the web. It’s all very straightforward and unremarkable to most users.
But peel back the curtains and you might catch a glimpse of a seedy underbelly.

Behind the web is the Deep Web. This is categorized as websites that are hidden behind some type of paywall or authentication page. Unlike regular sites, these are not indexed … and therefore won’t pop up on a search engine page. Medical records are an excellent example. You can’t search for your medical history on the internet even though it is accessible from a standard web browser.

Drilling down even farther, you’ll find the Dark Web. These sites are not visible to search engines and require a special web browser for access. The aptly named Dark Web is a hotbed of criminal activity, with over half of all dark websites containing illicit material.2A person can acquire malware toolkits, espionage services, intellectual property, illegal narcotics, firearms, phony credentials, and much more on the Dark Web.

Protect Your Credentials

Most of us understand that bad actors will acquire illicit products and services with or without the internet. More concerning is the sheer volume of compromised credentials available for purchase on the Dark Web. Credentials are the keys to your identity. Just as you wouldn’t want everyone to have access to your house keys, you also don’t want to make your internet keys available to all.

Proactively protecting your credentials is more important than ever. Simple steps such as using a password manager, creating unique passwords, and changing those passwords regularly will help decrease the value of compromised credentials.

Thankfully, Golden West Technologies offers services and tools to organizations and individuals that identify their risk of exposure on the Dark Web. Contact us today to begin the conversation about proactive cyber risk mitigation and the impact to your business.

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