The dark web can be an invaluable source of threat intelligence for organizations; however, finding and making use of this data can be tall order. The dark web is designed with privacy and anonymity in mind and is not designed to make it easy to find dark web pages. It is only possible to access dark web pages for which an analyst knows the URL.
Finding valuable information on the dark web requires analysts to branch out from a small set of known dark web pages to find sites that are not designed to be easily accessible. Doing so requires time and experience in dark web analysis, which can be difficult and expensive to attract and retain in-house.
A smart approach to dark web monitoring is to use dark web monitoring tools where much of the heavy lifting in exploring the dark web has already been done. However, not all dark web monitoring tools are created equal. When selecting a solution for collecting and analyzing dark web intelligence, look for the following features.
Darknet Search Engines
The dark web is only accessible via the Tor browser, and no complete listing of dark web sites exists. As noted above, in order to be able to visit a particular site on the dark web, you need to know its URL. Dark web monitoring services should include a dark web search engine to make it easier to find and access sites on the dark web. With a darknet search engine, analysts can seek out keywords and other data on the dark web without needing to manually search known sites.
OSINT Websites Monitoring
Dark web sites can be an invaluable source of open source intelligence (OSINT). Cybercriminals commonly communicate on the dark web about successful attacks, new vulnerabilities, and the latest tools and techniques. A dark web monitoring tool should collect information from the dark web and process it to identify useful open-source intelligence. This provides analysts with invaluable contextual data about the current state of the cyber threat landscape.
Social Media Insights
Social media sites can be a rich source of information about their users. The dark web has social media as well in the form of forums and message boards where users communicate and post information about stolen data and illegal services. Monitoring these dark web forums can provide important information about current attack trends and the mindsets of cybercriminals operating on the dark web. Dark web monitoring tools should monitor these forums and derive analytics and threat intelligence from them.
Location information can be invaluable for threat detection and incident response. Determining the source of information on the dark web can help with attributing cyberattacks and developing defenses against various threat actors. For this reason, dark web monitoring services should include the ability to geolocate the source of information on the dark web. This can help law enforcement to identify actors behind an attack and to determine the likely sources of malicious traffic on enterprise networks.
Digital Risk Analysis
Companies perform dark web monitoring to allow them to integrate dark web threat intelligence into their risk management strategy. Information about emerging threats, ongoing campaigns, and other threat intelligence is essential to an organization’s ability to assess its risk of cyberattacks. The best dark web monitoring services should support digital risk analysis by aggregating and analyzing dark web intelligence to develop a digital risk score. This is especially important for highly-regulated businesses like the financial industry that are required to assess their cybersecurity risks and implement security controls to mitigate them.