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  • 12 March 2024
  • 6 min read

How do threat actors use the dark web? And how to mitigate dark web related threats?

What services can threat actors find on the dark web and what steps can you take to mitigate the risk of these threats?
BLOG How do threat actors use the dark web And how to mitigate dark web related threats

The dark web is not merely a realm of anonymity; it is a bustling hub offering a plethora of nefarious offerings. Delve into the depths of this digital underworld with us as we uncover the array of services available to threat actors. From cybercriminal training and hacking-for-hire to DDoS attacks and money laundering, the dark web serves as a one-stop shop for those seeking to profit from malevolent activities.

Understanding the scope of these services is paramount for organisations and individuals aiming to fortify their defences against the evolving threat landscape of cybercrime.

What Services Can Threat Actors Find on the Dark Web?

Dark Web

The dark web is not just a haven for illicit activities; it is also a bustling marketplace where threat actors can access a wide array of nefarious services.

Let us explore in detail the services available to cybercriminals on the dark web:

  • Cybercriminal Training: For aspiring cybercriminals seeking to hone their skills, the dark web offers a plethora of training materials and tutorials covering various aspects of hacking, malware development, and cyber fraud. These resources provide invaluable insights into the latest techniques and tools used in cyber-attacks, empowering individuals to embark on their criminal endeavours with confidence.
  • Hacking-for-Hire Services: One of the most prevalent services offered on the dark web is hacking-for-hire, where individuals or organisations can enlist the services of skilled hackers to carry out targeted attacks on their behalf. These services encompass a wide range of illicit activities, including ransomware deployment, malware distribution, and unauthorised access to sensitive systems and data.
  • DDoS-for-Hire Services: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a favourite tool of cybercriminals looking to disrupt online services or extort money from unsuspecting victims. On the dark web, threat actors can rent botnets capable of launching massive DDoS attacks against targeted websites or servers, causing widespread disruption and financial damage.
  • Off-the-Shelf Software Exploit Kits: For those lacking the technical expertise to develop their own malware or exploits, the dark web offers off-the-shelf software exploit kits that streamline the process of launching cyber-attacks. These kits come equipped with pre-built exploits targeting common vulnerabilities in software and operating systems, allowing even novice hackers to wreak havoc with minimal effort.
  • Laundering Ill-Gotten Gains: Money laundering services are another lucrative offering on the dark web, catering to cybercriminals looking to launder their ill-gotten gains through unsuspecting intermediaries. These individuals, known as money mules, facilitate the transfer of stolen funds or cryptocurrency between accounts, helping cybercriminals evade detection and prosecution.
  • Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: Zero-day vulnerabilities, or previously unknown software flaws, are highly sought after by cybercriminals and intelligence agencies alike. On the dark web, threat actors can purchase access to zero-day exploits capable of bypassing security defences and compromising targeted systems before developers have a chance to patch them.
  • Access to Networks of Botnets: Botnets, networks of compromised computers controlled by a single entity, are a potent weapon in the arsenal of cybercriminals. On the dark web, threat actors can rent or purchase access to botnets of varying sizes and capabilities, enabling them to execute large-scale cyber-attacks, steal sensitive data, or engage in fraudulent activities with impunity.

The dark web functions as a thriving economy where cybercriminals can access a wide range of goods and services to facilitate their illicit activities. From cybercriminal training and hacking-for-hire services to exploit kits, money laundering, and access to botnets, the dark web provides a one-stop shop for malevolent actors looking to profit from their malicious endeavours. Understanding the availability of these services is essential for organisations and individuals seeking to defend against the ever-evolving threat landscape posed by cybercrime.

How to Mitigate Dark Web-Related Cyber Threats?

Mitigating dark web-related cyber threats requires a multi-faceted approach that combines education, awareness, and proactive security measures.

Let us explore in detail the strategies organisations and individuals can employ to defend against the risks posed by the dark web:

  • Cyber security Training and Awareness Programs: Education is the first line of defence against dark web-related cyber threats. Organisations should invest in comprehensive cyber security training and awareness programs to educate employees about the dangers posed by the dark web and the importance of practicing safe online behaviour. By fostering a culture of security awareness, organisations can empower individuals to recognize and mitigate potential threats before they escalate.
  • Secure Password Management and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Weak or compromised passwords are a common entry point for cyber-attacks originating from the dark web. To mitigate this risk, organisations should enforce robust password management practices, such as using complex passwords or passphrases and regularly updating them. Additionally, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity through multiple authentication methods, reducing the likelihood of unauthorised access. Messaging and communication within your organisation are vital to achieving adoption of these practices.
  • VPN Usage: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide a secure tunnel for internet traffic, encrypting data and masking users' IP addresses to enhance privacy and security. By using VPNs, organisations and individuals can mitigate the risk of eavesdropping and surveillance by malicious actors operating on the dark web, reducing their vulnerability to interception or exploitation.
  • Phishing Awareness: Phishing attacks are a prevalent threat vector utilised by cybercriminals to trick unsuspecting users into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. Organisations should prioritise phishing awareness training to educate employees about the signs of phishing attempts and how to avoid falling victim to them. By fostering a vigilant and sceptical mindset, individuals can thwart phishing attacks originating from the dark web and safeguard sensitive data from unauthorised access.


The dark web is a dynamic and ever-evolving ecosystem, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging regularly. Organisations should stay abreast of emerging threats and trends by monitoring dark web forums, marketplaces, and hacker communities for indicators of potential cyber-attacks or data breaches – or working with a third-party cyber security awareness and training provider, like TSC, that have over 20 years of experience helping companies do stay ahead of dark web and emerging threats.

In conclusion, mitigating dark web-related cyber threats demands a proactive and multi-dimensional approach that combines education, awareness, and technological solutions. By implementing robust cyber security measures, staying informed about emerging threats, and fostering collaboration within the cyber security community, organisations and individuals can effectively defend against the risks posed by the dark web and safeguard their digital assets in an increasingly hostile online environment.

Working with the right partner

Partnering with a trusted cyber security training and awareness company, such as The Security Company Ltd. (TSC), is crucial. With 25 years of experience, TSC specialises in enhancing security behaviours, fostering a robust security culture, and raising awareness of threats and risks across global organisations.

The dynamic nature of cyber threats necessitates a comprehensive and adaptive cyber security strategy for UK law firms. By understanding the evolving threat landscape and investing in robust training and awareness initiatives, decision-makers can fortify their organisations against potential risks and cyberattacks.

At The Security Company, we specialise in boosting cyber awareness, targeted training, customised projects and role-based solutions. Through our tailored subscription services, targeted and customised eLearning and awareness materials and our behavioural assessments, we're committed to helping organisations like yours instil long-term, security-conscious behaviours.

Our method is distinct. We begin by diving deep into your team's current mindset, pinpointing lax behaviours, security gaps and departments in need of focus and attention. From there, we craft tailored solutions that encourage better cyber practices from your employees. With comprehensive training and seamless integration into your current systems, we're here to fortify your team against modern cyber threats and be your trusted cyber security and awareness partner.

Ready to take the next step?

We can help you to formulate an effective and comprehensive cyber security training and awareness program for your organisation year-round and be your dedicated partner for employee behaviour change and, ultimately, security culture change.

Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Written by
Nas Ali
Cyber security and awareness content creator focused on emerging threats and the next wave of cyber security risks like AI, deepfakes and tech 4.0 initiatives in order to build towards a more secure organisational culture.
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