The Dark Web is noise. The real threat is quiet and wears a suit.
Cybercrime

The Dark Web is noise. The real threat is quiet and wears a suit.

When bank worker Dayne Lynn avoided a jail term in January this year, for embezzling £75,000 from his employer Lloyds Bank, his mitigating circumstances were that he was forced to do so by dark web-based criminals. Revealing his role on the fraud team at the bank's Glasgow Atlantic Quay retail contact centre to an online chat room, Lynn had apparently compromised himself, leading to threats. Although his attempt to steal money from two accounts were blocked, the case illustrates how a seemingly innocent fascination with the dark web could lead to breaches of corporate networks.

For many enterprises, the dark web symbolises the cyber security threat. It is both a hiding place for criminals hell-bent on stealing data and a forum for greedy or disgruntled employees to discover the tools required to wreak havoc on their employer. As CA Technologies revealed in its Insider Threat report last year, the potential for rogue employees is not to be dismissed lightly but it is a lack of resources and awareness of the threat that is the undoing of most companies, especially those in the small to medium category.

For Don Smith, technology director and head of the Cyber Intel Cell in the 80-people strong Counter Threat Unit (CTU) at Secureworks, the dark web is primarily noise and low-end threat. It rarely provides valuable intelligence in combating threats and yet it fuels the perception that it is the platform of choice for cyber criminality.

Smith of course is talking from a purely cyber security point of view, one that is tasked with the on-going struggle to keep out cyber criminals from the company's many high profile-banking and financial services clients.

"We don't place a huge amount of effort on monitoring the dark web because it's mainly noise, or at the very low end, or the end of a cash-out operation," says Smith. "Don't get me wrong, we do have a view. We have a dedicated team who have built sock puppet identities and they are sitting in online forums. They are not in all of them but they are in a lot, in excess of 200."

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Marc Ambasna-Jones

Marc Ambasna-Jones is a UK-based freelance writer and media consultant and has been writing about business and technology since 1989.

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