3 Ways Dark Web Monitoring Helps Ensure a Successful CMMC Assessment

3 Ways Dark Web Monitoring Helps Ensure a Successful CMMC Assessment

While the cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) framework makes no mention of the dark web, it is essential that security leaders understand the risk it presents.

Despite using much the same infrastructure as the public internet, the dark web is an entirely separate network that requires a specialized browser to access. Every connection to the dark web is protected behind multiple layers of security, making it almost impossible to track down the physical locations of its web servers.

Since the dark web almost guarantees anonymity for everyone using it, it has also turned into a hotbed of organized cybercrime. For example, most ransomware is sold and marketed over the dark web by way of affiliate programs that, in many ways, mimic the practices of legitimate businesses.

While the dark web also has legitimate uses, such as empowering the freedom of speech in oppressive regimes, its existence also poses serious threats to business. This is why security leaders must be aware of the risks on the dark web as they work towards passing their first CMMC assessment.

What is dark web monitoring?

Dark web monitoring is the process of scouring the dark web for stolen assets like personally identifiable information and intellectual property. Because the dark web cannot be accessed via normal means like the public internet, conventional monitoring tools are ineffective. Dark web monitoring services scan the illegal marketplaces, forums, and other resources to locate and identify potential data breaches. It also plays an important role in proactive threat hunting, which is important for reaching a higher CMMC cybersecurity level.

Here are three ways a dark web monitoring service can help protect your business:

#1. Assess your current risk and threat levels

Dark web monitoring scours hundreds of thousands of sites on the dark web in a similar way to how conventional search engines search the public internet. Aside from being a useful way to determine whether you have suffered a data breach, monitoring the dark web can also serve as an educational experience.

Many security leaders use the dark web for threat intelligence. After all, it is where almost all organized cybercrime happens, including that perpetuated by state-sponsored attackers. The dark web is also home to vast forums and marketplaces drawing attention to vulnerabilities or publishing exploits and malware. Monitoring helps you stay one step ahead of threat actors.

#2. Find out if your data has been compromised

The main reason for monitoring the dark web around the clock is to detect potential breaches. While finding out that your data has been compromised and ended up on the dark web forums or marketplaces is any security leader’s worst nightmare, a monitoring service will ensure you learn about it quickly.

It still takes most organizations months to learn about a data breach. By that time, the stolen data has likely already been sold. Emboldened by their success, the those behind the attack are also likely to strike again. However, by learning about it quickly, you will have a chance to respond quickly and reduce the risk of far-reaching consequences.

#3. Create an action plan for improving security

Threat intelligence and proactive threat hunting are among the core tenets of achieving a high CMMC cybersecurity level, specifically at levels four and five. Having visibility into what is happening on the dark web is an important part of threat intelligence, since it helps reveal crucial insights into how you can prepare for the next big threat.

By monitoring the dark web, you can boost your chances of exposing risks of third-party data breaches, accidental information leaks, domain spoofing, and other potential threats. This will help you classify and remediate against various threat sources and bolster your security before those threats become serious problems.

Protecting yourself from the dark web

While dark web monitoring can help reduce incident response times, no security leader wants to find out that their sensitive business information has ended up on there. As such, dark web monitoring is just one of many layers of security, and by itself it serves as a last resort. To stop data leaks from happening in the first please, you must continuously monitor your web traffic, encrypt all endpoints and communications, and implement strong access controls.

Charles IT provides expert guidance and tech solutions, including dark web monitoring, to help you prepare for your first CMMC assessment. Contact us today to get started!

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