Cyber intelligence company trawling Dark Web to foil impending cyberattacks on clients

It’s the highly secretive place criminals meet to plan cyberattacks – and now its crimes are being tracked

Cyber intelligence company trawling Dark Web to foil impending cyberattacks on clients


By Sam Boyer

In the deepest, shadiest corners of the Dark Web, there are crooks and extremists plotting attacks against people, states, and organizations.

It’s an area of the internet little-known to everyday-citizens of the world. But tech experts are monitoring the Dark Web, and insurers might be able to reap the benefits of learning what is being discussed in the most nefarious chatrooms out there.

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“Regarding what exists in there: there’s everything that you can imagine, and everything that you cannot imagine as well,” said Avi Kasztan, chief executive at Sixgill, a company that monitors the Dark Web for planned cyberattacks.

“You can find there everything from Syrian killers, to drug trafficking, to wars between countries, anything. [And] a lot of cybercrime is planned and performed within the Dark Web. The amount of money that changes hands within the Dark Web is huge, really huge.”

Sixgill, based out of Israel, with operating staff in the United States and Europe, analyzes and forecasts cyberattacks through auto-monitoring chatter in the Dark Web, and by forming profiles on some of the net’s anonymous criminals.

The company – which includes former Israeli military cyber security experts – has insurance clients in the US, Kasztan said.

“The information [we provide] is tailored to the customer, not just information that there is going to be an attack within the sector,” he explained. “And by the way, insurance companies are attractive and are a very high objective for all these guys. There is a price for everything – identity thefts, health records, anything [related to customer data]. Everything has a price and that can just multiply on you. It can be huge.”

The difficulties in infiltrating the secret chatrooms in the Dark Web are numerous, but the company has developed software to dig deep and then extract and store the data it uncovers. From there, the company can alert its clients to potential, or impending, cyberattacks against them.

“We know that the hard-core cybercrime happens within the Dark Web,” he said. “One of the challenges you have when you go to this world of the Dark Web is to find where the things are … because you don’t have Google. We had to develop a technology that enabled us to find that, and then we had to develop another technology that is able to extract this data from these places.

“These guys, in general, are very smart. We believe that the Dark Web is a social network. However, this is a very special social network in the sense that people don’t join there to make new friends. They have other objectives.”

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