The Dark Web is mainstream. Once the exclusive realm of hackers, activists, and government spooks, the Dark Web is now used by everyone from the U.S. State Department to Facebook. And sadly, if you've been hacked, your personal data is bought and sold at a surprisingly affordable price.
The Dark Web is a network of encrypted websites that require a secure browser like Tor to access. The network is also surprisingly small. Security experts estimate that at any given moment there are fewer than 100,000 active Dark Web sites. "Compared to the clearnet, the Dark Web is maybe a few thousand, or few hundred thousand [sites.]," said Emily Wilson, Director of Analysis at Terbium Labs. "Only a few thousand return useful content, and compared to the clearnet there's only a tiny amount of regular Tor users."
READ: Cybersecurity spotlight: The ransomware battle (Tech Pro Research report)
There are a number of companies that help locate stolen data. Matchlight is a firm that automates the process of indexing and locating content on the Dark Web. A company spokesperson explained, "using large-scale cloud-based automation to search for this data can considerably cut down on how long it takes to discover breaches."
Love it or hate it, the Dark Web is a reality for every company. Should business use the Dark Web? Let us know in the poll below.
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Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Producer for CNET and CBS News.