In recent months we’ve seen a host of cyber attacks on individuals, companies, and organizations, causing great damage and disruption to the victims. Earlier in the year it was revealed that a hack on the Central Bank of Bangladesh stole $81 million, and that the Democratic National Committee suffered a major data leak. In the past week alone, there have been hacks at the Republican National Convention, as well as on the president of Sony (following previous celebrity hacks) and other commercial organizations. These hacks raise several pressing questions; where do these attacks originate from, who is behind them, and importantly, if, and how, can they be stopped?
The majority of these attacks originate on the Dark Web, a subgroup and nefarious corner of the Deep Web, the non-public part of the internet that comprised 95% of the web. The Dark Web is an anonymous and encrypted community that harbors all types of illicit activity, such as drug dealing, child pornography, and of course, the planning and activation of cyber attacks. Spread over a collection of forums, with information and conversations spread across many different locations, there is little known about who is involved in the Dark Web and where they are from, a major obstacle in tackling this phenomenon.
One company believes it has a solution to help contain the threats and damages posed by the Dark Web. Sixgill, an Israeli cyber intelligence startup, claims that it has the ability to detect and defuse critical data leaks and hacks coming from the Dark Web before they happen. While major organizations experience many cyber threats daily, Sixgill claims that its system prioritizes these alerts, and sends its clients the most crucial warnings in time for them to take appropriate action.
With a staff comprised of former officials from Israel’s elite intelligence units, Sixgill automatically monitors Dark Web’s diverse forums, where it gathers and analyzes data on Dark Web users and applies advanced profiling techniques to discern patterns from their concealed social networks. This allows Sixgill to hone in and identify potential hackers, and track them as they organize further illegal activity.
If Sixgill’s claims are as good as they say, the startup’s information and prioritized alerts could expose illegal marketplaces, discover data leaks before they occur, and provide warnings of upcoming cyber attacks. This intelligence could prove invaluable to various governments, banks, major corporations, and security and law enforcement agencies. Sixgill’s co-founder and CEO, Avi Kasztan, thinks this is the case, and he has no problem saying “Sixgill is the most innovative Dark Web intelligence platform and we’re leading the way in the first steps of cyber security, when the damage can still be avoided”
Everyday we are seeing new cyber attacks from increasingly sophisticated hackers. As techniques are developed to prevent these attacks, hackers are already fast at work creating work-arounds and developing new ways to access their victims’ information. Time will tell if Sixgill will be able to keep up with this cat-and-mouse game and be able to prevent the worst hacking threats from becoming a reality, but they have certainly put together a talented team and an intriguing solution to the problem.