How Criminals Actually Hack?

It’s not what your thinking.

They cheat of course!

Data Risks and the Dark Web

The Dark Web is a part of the deep web, the unseen part of the internet, where most cybercriminals go and do criminal activities.

Think of the internet as a city. The surface web/open web (the layer that houses websites) are the roads and the buildings. The deep web is the back alleys where trucks load the products and employees go to the back doors of the businesses.

Dark Web back alleys, where cyber criminals operate.

But along the back alleys are corners where it doesn’t have much light, people don’t frequently pass through, and where law enforcement doesn’t even bother to go to. That’s exactly how the Dark Web operates: it is a marketplace for goods and services.

You might be thinking, “I’m not near the Dark Web, it’s far away from me, or it won’t affect me, right?” Unfortunately, that is not the case. It’s not really your proximity to the Dark Web that will cause you risks. It’s more where you’ll know if you have been compromised. You have used hundreds if not thousands of websites and most of us re-use the same usernames, passwords and email addresses.

There are other sites that combine that information with freely available information found about those items and match it with addresses, phone numbers, names, SSN, credit cards etc… Thus, the Dark Web hosts information about you and your online activities that could give an attacker an edge when trying to break into your life or the organization you work for by exploiting knowledge about you and your position.

Why Should You Care About the Dark Web

If you think about it, where do the police go first to find your stolen stuff? They would go first on the places where criminal activities mostly occur. And most of the time, your stuff would be there to be sold, or your stuff was already sold.

Unlike physical stuff that you can check whether it has been stolen, data can still be stolen from you without detection depending on your cybersecurity defense setup. So it’s important to be aware of the Dark Web, since that is where your data will end up.

But having your data stolen may not affect you directly, depending on what they have access too. What’s going to affect you is how the buyer uses your data.

How Data Risks Can Impact You

Your stolen data can be manipulated in many ways. If the data that has been stolen is financial information then the bad actors can use it to purchase themselves. However, the most nefarious and most dangerous risk that you’ll experience is spoofing.

They will take your combined information and use it to purchase goods and services in your name. Or even just log into your current accounts without your knowledge. They could even sign you up for fake accounts, use spoofed social media to discredit you or even threaten you directly.

Spoofing is using another entity’s identifiable characteristics to pose as them. From a business viewpoint your stolen data about your website’s assets and infrastructure could allow criminals to set up a website very similar to yours with a similar domain allowing customers to be scammed.

Another form of spoofing are deepfakes and voice clones. Deepfakes are an AI-generated image or video of your likeness. Initially, it was just used as an experiment for machine learning then transformed into harmless memes of certain celebrities singing random stuff.


However, it can be used by cybercriminals for all sorts of things from editing your face into controversial situations, using it to send videos of you announcing something to your company, and so much more. It’s even more effective when coupled with voice clones.

Voice clones are the audio counterpart to deepfakes. It’s also an AI-generated version of your voice. So criminals can use it to call to purchase, make company decisions, or place you in precarious situations.

Spoofing is much worse than having your financial data stolen because it also risks your reputation. Reputation is the trust system of the internet. You can recoup your money if it has been stolen, but it’s harder to rebuild your reputation once it has been tainted.

How Can You Fight These Risks?

We suggest a 3-step plan for you: Reconnaissance, Resistance, and Repair.


You have to really be proactive to know that your data is safe from the Dark Web. But the Dark Web is a dangerous place, so you need a Dark Web Monitoring Service to expose these unknown risks.

Leveraging a system that goes down into the Dark Web for you, to check if your data is compromised, identifies methods for removal of this data and it’s copies, and can check again.


Definitely set up cybersecurity defenses on your organization. As we mentioned earlier, data being stolen may or may not be detected, but it depends on how your security is enabled.

We recommend adding more layers to security. So aside from having a dedicated security that works in shifts, we also recommend a Managed Security Service Provider.

We recommend finding a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) that provides Security Information and Event Management Services. With a full team monitoring 24×7 focused on monitoring and checking threats and attacks in the background, watching your network and communications for any suspicious links or unauthorized connections. They should be aligning themselves to focus on predicting, preventing, detecting and responding to threats targeting you.

The next level of resistance is actually simulating an attacker’s abilities once inside your network by leveraging a penetration service to validate and prioritize what you need to get done.


Lastly, if an attack happened, your data has been compromised, and criminals are now trying to destroy your business’s reputation, you combat that by having a Reputation Management Service.

Reputation Management Service must offer content monitoring, content removal, content creation, reputation recovery, personal information removal, SEO management, and reputation maintenance to have a holistic approach to repairing your wrongfully damaged reputation.


Cyberattacks happen every day as such that data goes straight to the Dark Web for sale and buyers use the data for financial gain or reputation destruction. The holistic approach to preventing attacks is to have defenses scan the dark web for compromise, having a team monitoring your systems and users 24×7 while verifying with pentesting and having a service standing at the ready to repair your reputation. You can have more elaborate security approaches; however, by keeping it simple, you reduce your costs while at the same time still making it much harder to become a victim.