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The Price vs. Cost of Dark Web Monitoring

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What is the price vs. cost of Dark Web Monitoring, and why has it rapidly become one of the most integral services for any cybersecurity roadmap?

As data breaches continue to rise, threats from the Dark Web have become a threat that is as damaging as it is insidious... making it so proactively safeguarding your digital landscape has never been more critical. At Packetlabs, we have launched our new Dark Web Monitoring service in response to this emerging threat— powered by Packetlabs Dark Web Investigators.

In this ultimate guide to the price vs. cost of Dark Web Monitoring in 2024, our team of ethical hackers provide a comprehensive overview of the Dark Web, the monitoring techniques our team utilizes, Dark Web-related statistics you should know, and more.

Let's get started:

Firstly, What is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is a "hidden" area of the Internet that is not indexed by regular search engines and is instead only accessible via specialized browsers like Tor: it hosts both legal and illegal activities, offering anonymity, scams, and illicit content in equal measure.

The Dark Web isn't to be confused with the Deep Web, which is a portion of the Internet that rests below the surface and accounts for approximately 90% of all websites; it is so expansive, in fact, that it has been deemed impossible to discover exactly how many pages or websites within it are active at any given time.

Although many outlets use the terms "Deep Web" and "Dark Web" interchangeably, much of the "Deep Web" portion as a whole is both legal and relatively safe. Some of the largest parts of the deep web include:

  • Databases: Both public and privately protected file collections that are not connected to other areas of the web, only to be searched within the database itself

  • Intranets: Internal networks for enterprises, governments, and educational facilities used to communicate and control aspects privately within their organizations

Websites on the Deep Web may be concealed behind passwords or other common security walls, while others simply tell search engines to not “crawl” them. Without visible links, these pages are more hidden for various reasons.

The Dark Web, on the other hand, refers to sites that are not indexed and only accessible via specialized web browsers. Significantly smaller than the surface web, which we all use daily, the Dark Web is considered a part of the Deep Web.

Breaking down the construction of the Dark Web reveals a few key layers that make it such a hub for illegal activity:

  • Lack of Webpage Indexing: Google and other commonly-used search engines cannot discover or display results for pages within the Dark Web

  • “Virtual traffic tunnels”: Randomized network infrastructure ensure that average users will struggle to navigate the Dark Web

  • Inaccessibility: Due to its unique registry operator, the Dark Web is inaccessible via common browsers; it is also hidden behind various network security measures like firewalls, and encryption

The reputation of the Dark Web has often been linked to criminal intent or illegal content, and "trading" sites where users can purchase illicit goods or services.

How Do Threat Actors Buy Data on the Dark Web, and Why is it So Difficult to Track?

Cybercriminals primarily purchase the data they find relevant to their objectives. Suppose attackers want to perform a phishing attack on a target victim: they will buy the data related to their attack, such as the victim's phone number, address, the organization where they work, bank details, and other personally identifiable information (PII).

The data price depends on the kind of information the attacker seeks to purchase and from which Dark Web portal. Again, the cost of data on the dark web depends on supply and demand. To make matters more difficult to track, these transactions primarily happen over Western Union, Bitcoin, or other popular cryptocurrencies.

In fact, a Cybersecurity Venture report shared that cybercrimes cost US $6 trillion to companies worldwide in 2021. The losses will likely touch US $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. The cybercrime market is the world's third-largest economy after the United States and China (when the GDP is compared). And, according to experts, the situation will only worsen over time.

What is the Definition of Dark Web Monitoring?

Monitoring the Dark Web is not just a precautionary measure—it’s a vital defence for protecting your company’s brand, assets, data, associates, and partners.

As a critical component of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, Dark Web Monitoring with Packetlabs entails the continuous monitoring of the Dark Web and identifying matches to your organization's unique identifiers. Once a match is found, your assigned Packetlabs pentesters validate the accuracy and demonstrate the potential impact before reporting to you for action.

More specifically, our Dark Web Investigators monitor:

  • Illicit Networks: This includes different subcategories related to the criminal underground, also known as the Dark Web or Darknet

  • Leaked Credentials: Information gained from data breaches and shared on the criminal underground

  • Lookalike Domains: Any certificates registered with a similar domain name as yours

  • Open Web: This includes data collected from various sources on the Internet, also known as the "Clear Web"

Alongside these areas, proactive Dark Web Monitoring also involves surveilling discussions pertaining to cybercrime, which often delve into the intricacies of targeting specific organizations, people, networks, or systems.

Monitoring enables organizations like yours to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by identifying emerging threats, mitigating risks, and assisting you in fortifying your defences against evolving attack vectors.

How Does Packetlabs Conduct Dark Web Monitoring?

Packetlabs offers a customized solution that monitors and validates potential threats based on your specific needs. Unlike unmanaged solutions, our team provides a custom and thorough approach to alerting.

We enable:

  • Tailored Vigilance: We consult with you to identify key identifiers specific to your business, ensuring targeted threat detection

  • Real-Time Insights: Receive immediate notification upon validation of compromised records, empowering you to take swift response and mitigation. We deliver:

    • Origin of breach records (Source ID)

    • Estimated date of a breach

    • Compromised Users/passwords

  • Proactive Risk Management: Our monthly alert reporting keeps you informed about ongoing threats and trends for proactive risk management

  • Business Impact Assessment: We help you clearly communicate the business impact of Dark Web activities, safeguarding your assets and reputation effectively

When it comes to being the target of a cyberattack, it’s not a matter of “if”–it’s a matter of “when.” And in the fight against threat actors, offensive security is power.

Our Dark Web Investigators monitor the following in real time for maximum protection and insights:

  • 4000 cybercrime communities

  • 56 million stealer logs

  • 2 million threat actor profiles

To go beyond standard Dark Web Monitoring offerings, which orbit around leaked credentials, our investigators track commonly-sold assets like exposed technical data and secure source code, personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial data, and proprietary company information.

Dark Web Statistics to Know

Dark Web-related activities target organizations of all sizes, across all industries.

In 2024, studies show that:

  • The Deep Web and Dark Web comprise 96% of the Internet, although the Dark Web is currently believed to be a significantly smaller portion compared to the Deep Web

  • The United States currently ranks number one when it comes to data breach cost, with an average of $9.44 million per breach

  • There were more than 2.5 million daily visitors to the Dark Web on average in 2023, and that number is increasing year-over-year

  • Nearly 57% of the dark web is illegal as of 2020, with content related to violence, extremist platforms, illegal marketplaces, drugs and cybercrime forums at the forefront

  • The most lucrative illegal digital products available to buy on the Dark Web tout crypto accounts, online banking, and e-wallets

  • DDoS and malware attacks are part of a thriving market on the Dark Web, with threat actors able to purchase over 1000 threat installations for a mere US $1800

  • Cybercriminals can purchase the details of a credit card with a $5,000 balance for just $110

  • Ransomware cryptocurrency-based crimes on the dark web saw a nearly $176 million spike in 2023 compared to 2022

  • There was a 38% increase in global cyberattacks in 2022 compared to 2021

Moreover, a 2019 survey from Cornell University revealed relevant statistics regarding the top demographics active on the Dark Web:

  • Malicious employees dealing with information such as passwords

  • Cybercrime gangs, such as ransomware groups, that recruit others to join their network

  • Hacktivists releasing data from governments or organizations they morally or politically oppose

  • Initial access brokers selling compromised network access

  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups and Nation-State threat actors performing operations that harm other countries or finance their activities

The Price vs. Cost of Dark Web Monitoring in 2024

There is no set price on data on the Dark Web. Some believe it spans as high as US $2,000, while others put it around US $800. Everything sells on the Dark Web, from PayPal login credentials to fake passports to credit card details.

According to the Dark Web Price Index—compiled by Privacy Affairs—the estimate of the price of data for different products in 2024 and beyond is:

  • Credit card details and associated information: Between US $17 and US$ 120 per piece of information

  • Hacked Facebook accounts: US $45 each

  • Stolen online banking logins: US $50

  • Online banking login information: US $65

  • Hacked web and entertainment services, like Netflix or Uber: US $40

  • Cloned VISA with PIN: US $20

  • Stolen PayPal account details, minimum US$ 1,000 balance: US $20

These low prices, coupled with high demand, incentivize cybercriminals to abscond with valuable data on a daily basis.

When considering Dark Web Monitoring services, it’s essential to evaluate both the costs involved and the value they bring to your security posture. The investment in such services should align with the sensitivity of the information you’re looking to protect and the potential impact of a data breach on your organization's security, financial well-being, and reputation.

Benefits of Dark Web Monitoring with Packetlabs include:

  • Cutting data leak incident response time by up to 95%

  • Enabling faster, more cost-effective investigations (decreasing Dark Web investigation time 10x)

  • Identifying and mitigate threats before they escalate

  • Monitoring discussions and activities that target your organization, people, networks, and systems

  • Acting as an early warning system for breaches

  • Complying with regulations and proactively safeguarding brand integrity

The average cost of a breach has risen by 15% over the past three years. Upfront, proactive investment in Dark Web Monitoring pales in comparison to the millions of dollars organizations of all sizes often have to pay to walk back security, reputational, and financial damages after a data leak.

What Goes Into the Cost of High-Quality Dark Web Monitoring?

There are several factors that determine both the cost of a pentest and related solutions like Dark Web Monitoring. These factors include the size of the target, scope, methodology, experience, endpoints, test duration, and the breadth of expert remediation recommendations offered in the final report for fixing found security weaknesses.

Other common factors are as follows:

  • Scope: The more comprehensive the pentest, the higher the cost. This includes everything from identifying and testing vulnerabilities to performing a social engineering assessment

  • Type of testing: As just one example, a black box test is more expensive than a white box test because it is more time-consuming

  • Methodology: Penetration testing should be conducted using globally accepted and industry-standard frameworks

  • Automated vs manual: Manual penetration testing is more costly but more effective in identifying vulnerabilities. At Packetlabs, automated testing accounts for only 5% of the testing. The other 95% consists of manually simulated real-life attacks

  • Complexity of target environment: The more complex the environment, the more time and effort it will take to identify and assess potential vulnerabilities

  • Tester qualifications: Experienced and certified ethical hackers will provide you with a more thorough pentest which can save you time and money in the long run

  • Time frame: As expected, the longer the testing timeframe is, the higher the cost will be

While not all high-quality pentests come with a higher fee, it is advised to be wary of security measures that are offered at a cost under the average market value.

Conclusion

As a CREST and SOC 2 Type II accredited penetration testing firm, Packetlabs’ 95% manual pentesting goes beyond industry standards. Our best-in-class methodology digs deeper to deliver more. We offer several solutions that push the envelope on security–and guarantee full regulatory and cyber insurance compliance.

Ready to take the first step towards fortifying your organization against costly Dark Web-related threats? Reach out to our team today.

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