We all spend a lot of time online don’t we? Whether shopping, working, on video calls or on social media, we are using our smartphones, laptops and connected devices more and more.

That all means the creation and sharing of our data.

The same goes for our healthcare and medical device businesses and organisations, not to mention the NHS. Data is the lifeblood of how they operate. Customers, finance, reports, medical research. It all involves data.

There is the importance of secure data collation and storage with medical devices, for example with clinical investigations and post market surveillance of products.

A recent article, “Does Your Wound Care Clinical Data and Digital Health Strategy Fully Comply with the New Medical Device Regulation?” which I co-authored, highlights the importance of this compliance.

What is scary is that this data is at risk. Every day there are data breaches and hacks and it’s getting worse.

What happens to data which is hacked? Sadly, it often ends up being sold on The Dark Web.

What exactly is the Dark Web?
​Wikipedia’s definition is this:

The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorisation to access.

The Dark Web is a peer-to-peer interconnected network of computers that use the Tor Protocol, commonly known as the Tor browser.

Tor is a reasonably well known, free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. It directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network, consisting of more than 6000 relays. This conceals the user’s location and usage from anyone carrying out network surveillance or traffic analysis.

The Dark Web is just a part of what we know as the internet. The open web, or surface web, is the “visible” surface layer. Many people describe the internet as an iceberg sitting on the sea when visualising it.

The web we all use on a daily basis is the very top of the internet which is around 5% of the total size and what’s seen “above the surface” (the visible part of the iceberg).

We often use this part of the web via search engines which index the web pages and allow us to find the things we want, conduct research, use e-commerce sites, access Facebook and the plethora of other things we do online.

The Deep Web

The Deep Web is different. It is below this top layer of the web. It accounts for approximately 90% of all websites. Its size is always hard to judge because it is so big.

​Like that iceberg, most of it is below the surface, hence the Deep Web. 
This Deep Web also includes the Dark Web but there is a distinct difference.

A large proportion of the Deep Web is legal and would not cause an eyebrow to be raised. Pages and content not immediately visible make up a large part of the Deep Web. Data and content tucked behind password protected sites and pages for example and repositories of data.

The Deep Web is simply the pages and content not accessed by a simple search – it’s content tucked away, but generally not harmful. In most cases.
The Dark Web is within the Deep Web and as stated earlier, is only accessible using a special browser (TOR) and not simply Chrome, Safari or Brave.

Monitoring Dark Web Threats

One of our associates has recently been working with a company called SOS Intelligence.

They provide “Dark Web Threat Intelligence for everyone” and provide a service where your email addresses and keywords are monitored on the Dark Web in realtime. 

The main issue with Dark Web threats is that you never know about them. Using SOS Intelligence means that you would know if there was ever a breach.

They have a useful FAQ here and also offer a free plan where you can sign up using an email address which is then monitored for free.

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