Dark Web intelligence simply refers to data collated from the Dark Web and the Deep Web. It is used to fight fraud proactively and substantially reduce losses. Apart from the Dark Web and the Deep Web, this intelligence can also come from malware networks, botnets, and other technical infrastructure cybercriminals use.
Since the Dark Web allows users to remain anonymous and, therefore, unidentifiable and untraceable, it has become a haven for cybercriminals. You should know, though, that the Dark Web wasn’t initially meant for sinister purposes.
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Before diving deep into Dark Web intelligence, let’s look at its source first.
What Is the Dark Web?
The Dark Web refers to encrypted online content that conventional search engines do not index. It can only be accessed using special browsers, such as the TOR Browser. Because it provides a great deal of privacy and anonymity, it has gained notoriety in that many online marketplaces for drugs, stolen data, and other illegal products and services have begun using it.
But as mentioned earlier, some people troop to the Dark Web for legitimate reasons, such as expressing political dissent that could otherwise land them in trouble or staying as private as possible. If you are curious to learn more about the Dark Web check out this article we wrote a while ago. It covers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Dark Web.
Does the Dark Web Differ from the Deep Web?
Although the terms “Dark Web” and “Deep Web” are used interchangeably, they do differ. The Dark Web is only part of the Deep Web. Accessing both, however, requires the use of specialized browsers like TOR.
The Deep Web rests below the Surface Web that we use daily to look for websites and web pages. It is much bigger than the Surface Web, as it comprises 90% of all accessible websites. Experts have often used an iceberg to represent the Web’s entirety. What we usually see and use (and loosely call the “Internet’) sits on top of the water, making up the Surface Web. The rest lies hidden underwater—the Deep Web, which contains the Dark Web.
What Are Examples of Dark Web Intelligence?
Dark Web intelligence comes in three basic kinds, namely:
- Account credentials: This data refers to stolen personally identifiable information (PII) that cybercriminals can use to hack into customer accounts for specific websites. These are typically sold in bulk to anyone interested in files known as “fullz,” short for “full information,” in cybercriminal underground markets found on the Dark Web. They include details, such as a person’s name, email address, phone number, IP address, and even Social Security number (SSN).
- Payment card details: This data refers to stolen debit, prepaid, credit, and gift card details that attackers can use to conduct fraudulent transactions. Like stolen account credentials, these are widely traded on the Dark Web. They include the cardholder’s name, payment card number, and even card verification value (CVV).
- Mule account details: This data provides financial mule accounts associated with fraud, money laundering, or other financial crimes. It includes a mule’s name, email address, phone number, and even bank account number that security specialists can use to match questionable transaction details. Cybercriminal organizations typically employ mules or casual criminals, or naive opportunists to launder illegal proceeds. They take stolen money and goods and turn them into “clean” funds or products/services via internet payments, money transfers, or online auctions.
- Targeted attack information: It is common to see cyber attackers discuss details of targeted attacks in the works on the Dark Web. Stumbling into such conversations is useful for cybersecurity professionals since they get a heads-up on possible indicators of compromise (IoCs), blocking access to and from these to mitigate risks.
- Vulnerability exploits: Threat actors never stop hatching new schemes to launch the most effective attacks possible. And just as they would talk about impending targeted attacks, they also share information about newly discovered vulnerabilities ripe for the picking. Cybersecurity professionals who come across these talks can thus find solutions even before the exploits get used.
Complete Internet protection these days no longer just requires security against threats from the Surface Web but also those originating from the Deep Web and the Dark Web. Cybersecurity professionals can take their threat intelligence gathering to the next level by including Dark Web intelligence in their stack.