According to ITProPortal, the cybercrime economy could be larger than Apple, Google and Facebook combined. The has matured into an organized market that is probably more profitable than the drug trade.

Criminals use innovative and state-of-the-art tools to steal information from large and small organizations and then either use it themselves or, most typical, sell it to other criminals through the Dark Web.

Small and mid-sized businesses have grown to be the target of cybercrime and data breaches since they don’t possess the interest, time or money to create defenses to safeguard against an attack. Many have thousands of accounts that hold Personal Identifying Information, PII, or intelligent property that may include patents, research and unpublished electronic assets. Other smaller businesses work directly with larger organizations and can serve as a portal of entry similar to the HVAC company was in the Target data breach.

A few of the brightest minds are suffering from creative methods to prevent valuable and personal information from being stolen. These information security programs are, for the most part, defensive in nature. They basically put up a wall of protection to help keep malware out and the information inside safe and secure.

Sophisticated hackers discover and utilize the organization’s weakest links to create an attack

Unfortunately, even the very best defensive programs have holes within their protection. Here are the challenges every organization faces according to a Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report in 2013:

76 percent of network intrusions explore weak or stolen credentials
73 percent of online banking users reuse their passwords for non-financial websites
80 percent of breaches that involved hackers used stolen credentials
Symantec in 2014 estimated that 45 percent of most attacks is detected by traditional anti-virus meaning that 55 percent of attacks go undetected. The effect is anti-virus software and defensive protection programs can’t keep up. The bad guys could already be in the organization’s walls.

Small and mid-sized businesses can suffer greatly from the data breach. Sixty percent go out of business within a year of a data breach based on the National Cyber Security Alliance 2013.

What can a business do to protect itself from the data breach?

For many years I’ve advocated the implementation of “Best Practices” to safeguard personal identifying information within the business. You can find basic practices every business should implement to meet up certain requirements of federal, state and industry regulations. I’m sad to say hardly any small and mid-sized businesses meet these standards.

The next step is something new that a lot of businesses and their techs haven’t heard of or implemented into their protection programs. It involves monitoring the Dark Web.

The Dark Web holds the secret to slowing down cybercrime

Cybercriminals openly trade stolen home elevators the Dark Web. It holds a wealth of information which could negatively impact a businesses’ current and prospective clients. That’s where criminals go to buy-sell-trade stolen data. It really is easy for fraudsters to access stolen information they have to infiltrate business and conduct nefarious affairs. A single data breach could put a business out of business.

Fortunately, you can find organizations that constantly monitor the Dark Web for stolen information 24-7, 365 days per year. Criminals openly share these details through boards, blogs, websites, bulletin boards, Peer-to-Peer networks and other black market sites. They identify data since it accesses criminal command-and-control servers from multiple geographies that national IP addresses cannot access. The number of compromised information gathered is incredible. For example:

Millions of compromised credentials and BIN card numbers are harvested every month
Approximately one million compromised IP addresses are harvested each day
These details can linger on the Dark Web for weeks, months or, sometimes, years before it really is used. An organization that monitors for stolen information can see almost immediately when their stolen information shows up. The next step is to take proactive action to clean up the stolen information and stop, what could become, a data breach or business identity theft. The info, essentially, becomes useless for the cybercriminal.

What would happen to cybercrime when most small and mid-sized businesses take this Dark Web monitoring seriously?

The effect on the criminal side of the Dark Web could possibly be crippling when the majority of businesses implement the program and take advantage of the information. The target is to render stolen information useless as fast as possible.

There won’t be dark web links on cybercrime until the most small and mid-sized businesses implement this type of offensive action. Cybercriminals are counting on very few businesses take proactive action, but if by some miracle businesses awaken and take action we could see a major effect on cybercrime.

Cleaning up stolen credentials and IP addresses isn’t complicated or difficult once you know that the information has been stolen. It is the businesses that don’t know their information has been compromised that will take the biggest hit.

Is this the easiest method to slow down cybercrime? What do you this is the easiest way to protect against a data breach or business identity theft – Option one: Wait for it to occur and react, or Option two: Take offensive, proactive steps to find compromised home elevators the Dark Web and clean it up?

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