February 21, 2021 | Kevin Gates

Are Your Accounts Credentials Exposed on the Dark Web? 

You may have heard terms like ‘dark web’, ‘deep web’, and ‘clear web’ but are these just words or something more? Well, after looking at the overall picture of the dark web, one can say it is best you avoid it. You may be thinking that whether the Dark Web really is as bad as its reputation or all warnings about it are just for the sake of warnings. You might be steering clear of it, but are your employees or clients doing the same? How devastating the Dark Web is for MSPs? What You should do when your credentials are exposed on the dark web? We will guide you on all these issues. 

You might already know that there are more than 6 billion web pages indexed and searchable on the internet. But what you don’t know is that major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing only see about 0.04% of the internet. The rest of the 99.96% web is known as the DEEP WEB, which includes databases, private academic and government institutes, and the Dark Web. Also, it is estimated that dark is more than 500 times larger than the surface web and this difference is continually growing. As Dark Web allows users to operate anonymously, it has become a major channel of illegal activities of the internet. 

What Does Credential Exposure Mean? 

Due to a large influx of cyber-attacks, many online services have breaches (public disclosure of personally identifiable information like username and password). And if the company that has your credentials also faces the same situation, the attackers will gain access to your accounts and your records. These days, the majority of people use same passwords for multiple accounts to avoid the hassle of memorizing multiple passwords. But due to this practice, breach on one site means all your other accounts get exposed. 

Once the cybercriminals get hold of your credentials, they trade and exchange them from individuals and businesses on dark web forums. This information might have put you in a situation where you are wondering what you can do to protect yourself, continue reading and we will guide you on all these dark wonders of the internet. 

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Credentials from the Dark Web: 

Although the threat of a cyber-attack is intimidating, there are many ways for your business to avoid or ward-off threats from the Dark Web. Here are we have enlisted some of the most effective ones,

Promote Internal Awareness:  

Human error is one of the major causes of credentials exposure in the current cyber insecure environment. If you find that the employee credentials are exposed on the Dark Web, take this as an opportunity to host awareness activities for your employees. It will make them learn about the security practices that they need to follow to avoid another credential exposure. 

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): 

Another important step that you can take to protect your company is to enable multi-factor authentication on every account that supports this feature. Make a practice of using an authentication app. The extra time you have to spend on log-in is better than investing your time in recovering from data exposure. There are free as well as paid tools available to do this job. 

Use a Secure & Intuitive Password Manager: 

One of the biggest risks of credentials breach lies in reusing the same password for multiple accounts. Therefore, if you feel it is difficult for you to memorize multiple passwords, use a secure password manager. Although it also involves risk when you store all your passwords in one place, the benefit of having strong passwords is worth that risk. Additionally, this tool will help you securely share credentials with another user. It also determines who has accessed a password and reminds you to update the password when a user leaves your company. 

Don’t Search the Dark Web only Once:  

There is no doubt that data breaches happen all the time and sometimes the credentials land on the Dark Web. Therefore, it is recommended to do a consistent dark web scan so you can act timely if and when your company domain gets exposed. And to do these scans, you can find multiple sources out there. Are you wondering what dark web scanning does? It is actually a practice that involves searching the results of publicly shared data breaches where credentials were exposed.   

In addition to this, dark-web scanning tells you about the password that was exposed. This will save you from any more damage than exposure can do. If you are an MSP, keeping the credentials of your clients safe is the first thing you need to do. And to do this you need to do dark web scans with some effective tools. 

Ensure that Your Software Applications are Secure: 

You must ensure that all software applications that you are using with or for your clients are secure. Because poor quality software applications have vulnerabilities that cybercriminals are after. The poor code can also easily expose the credentials of the users when shared through them. So, the only way to avoid these situations is to use some reliable applications in your MSP company. 

Final Thought: 

If and when your company credentials are stolen by bad actors, there is a high chance they end up on Dark Web. And if they do, they can create greater vulnerabilities as the criminals may use those credentials to access your company’s network to make the attack even more intense. Also, if your credentials are exposed, never use that password again for any of your accounts. This is because once your password becomes part of a public list, it will surely be used in future attacks.

Furthermore, if you are using the same password for any other account, change it immediately. Otherwise, you will find yourself in big trouble. The risk of reusing your compromised password is too great. Remember, this is not associated with any single industry or a specific company, this precaution is for everyone. Also, these tips are very effective for protecting your login credentials and protecting your house from this type of attack. You can share these tips with your clients to protect them as well. While conclusively one can say, every precaution you take today is one less trouble to face later.