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When business data is leaked on the dark web, it exposes your organization to so many risks, both obvious and obscure. Of course, you can little afford such risks. The consequences can be devastating. Dare we say, potentially catastrophic, putting your organization’s future and ability to do business on the line – indefinitely.

When your business data is breached, it’s not just about lines of code or database entries. It’s about exposing every facet of your business – from sensitive information to customer trust, to exploitation by malicious actors.

Consider this scenario: your business secrets, your clients’ confidential details, and your employees’ personal information all become fair game. Fair game for bad actors online who care only for financial gain – or simply to upset systems that society holds dear. This is the harsh reality of a data breach on the dark web. 

Data Leaked on the Dark Web? Here are the Harsh Realities

The fallout goes beyond immediate financial losses to you and affecting operations at every level for years to come. Here are just some of the disaster scenarios. (Related reading: Data Breach Response for Businesses.)

Identity Theft 

Leaked personal information including employee credentials, customer data and vendor details can be exploited by cybercriminals for identity theft. This can lead to financial losses, not only for your organization and your valued customers, but also compromised security and erosion of trust tarnishing the reputation of the business.

Imagine the horror of your clients’ Social Security numbers being exposed to the dark web – as happened to a HALF-MILLION IntelliHartx customers just a few months ago. 

Financial Fraud

Cybercriminals can exploit leaked financial information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and/or bank account details, to conduct fraudulent transactions and unauthorized purchases, leading to financial losses for your business and customers.

In 2022, the total of compromised credit card details accessible on dark web marketplaces surpassed 100 million – and untold BILLIONS MORE DOLLARS in financial losses.

Business Espionage

Oh, believe me, other businesses and organizations are watching. They want to know how you work to guide how they work. 

Proprietary data, trade secrets and confidential business information exposed on the dark web can be used by competitors or malicious actors for business espionage. These ill-intentioned actors can harness leaked information for two primary purposes:

  • Reverse-engineer innovative products
  • Replicate successful strategies to gain a stolen market advantage

As a result, your business not only loses its unique selling propositions, but also faces the danger of dwindling market share, weakened brand loyalty, and a compromised standing within its industry.

It couldn’t be put more accurately and succinctly than this: Corporate espionage is a very real threat to businesses. Knowing a competitor’s next product line, product price, or any other sensitive information can give a rival company a competitive advantage.”

Compliance & Legal Issues

We’re big on compliance. Botching compliance and legal responsibilities leading to leaked business data, unfortunately, can create problems greater than diminished confidence alone. It can bankrupt you/your company.

Data breaches that unveil confidential information and other leaked data on the dark web launches businesses into the realm of non-compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws. This may result in substantial legal penalties, impacting the company’s finances and reputation. 

Ransomware Attacks

Approximately 620.5 million ransomware attacks occur each year. In the first six months of 2022 alone, the global count reached nearly 236.7 million ransomware attacks. Forecasts indicate that ransomware could exact an annual toll of approximately $265 billion from its victims by 2031.

Leaked employee credentials or sensitive information can be used in ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals encrypt the company’s data and demand a ransom for its release, disrupting business operations and causing financial losses.

Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering is so manipulative. It drives even the smartest people into: 

  • Downloading software they shouldn’t
  • Sharing information they shouldn’t. 
  • Visiting websites they shouldn’t
  • Sending money to untrustworthy vendors

And so many other potential mistakes that compromise their personal or organizational security. Psychological manipulation exploits human error and weakness rather than technical or digital system vulnerabilities. It’s no wonder that it’s referred to as “”human hacking.”

Cybercriminals unabashedly use leaked information to execute targeted social engineering attacks, such as phishing emails or spear-phishing campaigns, aiming to gain unauthorized access to sensitive systems or extract more data.

(Related reading: Phishing Scams: What To Do If You Get Caught.)

Intellectual Property Theft

Leaked intellectual property is a goldmine for competitors and dark web actors. They can exploit or sell these assets, eroding innovation and market advantage. A Europol report highlights that counterfeit products make up an estimated 1.5% to 2.5% of listings on dark web markets.

Your unique ideas, once exposed, can be duplicated or perhaps slightly tweaked. This can leave your business vulnerable and dilute your competitive edge. Prevent this with strong safeguards, monitoring, and a culture that values cybersecurity.

Customer & Employee Privacy Violations

Leaked personal information violates the privacy of both customers and employees. Legal issues and loss of trust would be inevitable. This is especially true in industries like banking and health care.

Those legal issues can be costly. When Equifax’s breach went to court, they had to pay $380 million in an initial settlement fund, plus an additional $125 million allocated for out-of-pocket losses. 

Operational Disruptions

Data leaks can cause disruptions to business operations including downtime, data recovery and the need to address further cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Downtime and data recovery are killers. They’re costly to even the most well-established businesses. No one wants to spend days or weeks without access to their systems and files while experts work to get things back on track.

Let’s Be Proactive & Mitigate Risks from Dark Web Data Breaches

In a SpyCloud Breach Exposure report on Fortune 1000 companies, breach exposure paints a concerning picture of the dark web’s expanding grasp. In the span of a year, compromised assets on the dark web surged by 29% at these prestigious firms, a statistic that speaks volumes about the growing threat.

Moreover, the report noted 76.7% of Fortune 1000 employees have the risky habit of reusing passwords across multiple platforms. This means that a solitary compromised password could potentially unlock multiple accounts for a buyer on the dark web, elevating the magnitude of the breach exponentially.

SpyCloud’s vigilant team unearthed a staggering 543 million assets linked to employees, along with a cache of approximately 26 million plaintext passwords belonging to staff. This equates to an unsettling average of about 25,927 exposed passwords per company, a concerning increase of 12% compared to the previous year.

To combat these risks, businesses and organizations have zero choice but to prioritize cybersecurity. This involves regular security assessments, educating employees about cybersecurity best practices, and actively monitoring the dark web for potential data leaks. Robust data protection and encryption measures are also essential to minimize the fallout from data breaches. By implementing these measures, damage can be contained, safeguarding both information and trust.

Ready to enhance your digital defenses? Act now to secure your business. Contact Acme Business at (716) 372-1325 and connect with us on LinkedIn.