Security leaders concerned about dark web threats

A Searchlight Cyber study has revealed that the majority (93 per cent) of enterprise chief information security officers (CISOs) are concerned about dark web threats

According to the report ‘Proactive Defense: How Enterprises Are Using Dark Web Intelligence‘ from dark web intelligence experts Searchlight Cyber, intelligence on cybercriminals is believed by 72 per cent of CISOs to be “critical” to defending their organisation network.

A further 79 per cent said that they were currently gathering data from the dark web, while 71 percent reported a desire to see whether their suppliers are being targeted on the dark web.

However, only 32 percent of those that are gathering dark web data are using assets to monitor for attacks against their supply chain, and over a fifth (21 per cent) were found to lack the necessary threat intelligence capabilities to effectively combat dark web threats.

In terms of region, US-based companies were found to be more likely to gather dark web intelligence than their UK counterparts, with 80 percent of US enterprises gathering threat intelligence, compared to 72 percent in the UK.

When examining sectors meanwhile, the study found that the finance industry leads the adoption of dark web intelligence, with 85 per cent of financial organisations already gathering data from the dark web, followed by manufacturing (83 per cent), IT and telecoms (80 per cent), and professional services (80 per cent).

Conversely, the healthcare industry was found to be significantly behind other sectors, with only 57 per cent of organisations in the space using dark web intelligence in their security strategy.

Threat actors often obtain business identity credentials to publish and sell on the dark web, with assets then tending to be used for further attacks such as identity theft and fraud.

“What is significant is the clear pattern that emerges between gathering more threat intelligence and data from the dark web, and a better security posture,” said Ben Jones, CEO and co-founder of Searchlight Cyber.

“For the UK enterprises that haven’t identified the opportunity of dark web intelligence the results make it crystal clear: gathering dark web intelligence will help them gain a better understanding of their adversaries and increase their chances of spotting an attack.

“The cybersecurity landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years and threat actors are no longer just focusing on asset-rich organisations like banks and insurance companies. As recent incidents have shown us, they are increasingly targeting enterprises in industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, and manufacturing to leverage the critical nature of these companies, and extort ransoms.

“This makes it an imperative for these organisations to begin monitoring the dark web, to spot the early warning signs of attack, and improve their security posture based on a better understanding of their adversaries.”

Over 1,000 CISOs based across the US and UK were surveyed by Searchlight Cyber regarding their dark web intelligence efforts and concerns.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.