India staff pursue dark web to sell insider info for money

India is among the top five countries in the Asia-Pacific region where employees are making money by selling data of their organizations on the dark web, said a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. The country accounted for 35% of all instances of insiders selling data on the dark web in the Apac region in 2021, the report said. India also comprised 9.8% of all data leaks in the Apac region.

The dark web is a term used for parts of the internet that cannot be accessed using regular browsers, and requires special software like The Onion Router (TOR) Browser. Websites on the dark web cannot be crawled by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Insiders selling company data make it easier for hackers to launch attacks on firms or plant malware in their infrastructure. Pakistan, Australia, China and Indonesia are the other nations where similar cyber security threats are rampant. The report also highlighted that India is among the top three countries in the Apac region where companies are vulnerable to publicly-available exploits, along with China and Indonesia.

Public exploits are vulnerabilities in software code, websites etc., that are known to the security community, and can allow hackers to penetrate a company’s systems. These are usually patched by software vendors etc., but IT teams often fail to deploy the patches making firms vulnerable.

“While India is progressing in cybersecurity initiatives, cyber criminals are not slacking as well, taking every opportunity and weak points to target the region,” said Dipesh Kaura, general manager for South Asia, Kaspersky.

The report also said India is one of the key countries where hackers have the opportunity to gain remote access on devices, followed by Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam. Government institutions, too, make up a large part of the access. Kaura said collaboration between industry, authorities, and law enforcement agencies to share technology and expertise can help in building a safer world.

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