Deep web awash with benefits for businesses

The deep web has a sinister reputation, but Dr Stephen Hill writes that New Zealand businesses – both big and small – can gain valuable insights and positive advantages from using it.
While the surface web – the likes of Google and Facebook – makes up 10% of the Internet, the deep web is a matrix of information taking up the other 90% and allows users to browse beneath the day-to-day internet with anonymity.

The secrecy of the deep web (or the dark web) means it is a haven for illegal drug deals and other criminal transactions. Yet the vast amount of data and information that is available on this often sinister superhighway means there is potential for businesses to use it to gain improved intelligence for everything from due diligence through to insolvency asset tracing.

I work with a wide range of clients, including police departments throughout Europe and the Middle East, and companies in the accounting, banking, legal, travel, and retail sectors, and essential to their success and continued growth is having a focus on safeguarding their digital futures and using Internet search techniques more effectively.   

It’s fair to say there is a plethora of data floating in cyberspace. For online investigators, the internet is a vital tool, and search engines and social media monitoring have developed rapidly with increasing capability to assist in the retrieval of information – if you know where to look.

Many companies already use social media for staff screening to help ensure a company is hiring the right people. While this sort of open source intelligence using the surface web is the most common search undertaken by businesses (which can be very revealing in itself), there are even greater opportunities to discover hidden information using the deep web. 

For example, using advanced Internet search processes to undertake due diligence via “deep dives” offers huge benefits and advantages to businesses dealing with sensitive, important and highly complex negotiations.  
Increasingly companies are using technology more effectively to enhance their business, and tapping into the deep web, or using sophisticated social media search techniques, is an extension of this. 

You can’t beat a good old fashioned job interview when it comes to recruiting new staff. There are some things even the deep web can’t tell you – like whether you think this person is going to be a good fit in your office. That sort of thing can only come from meeting someone face to face. But to ensure a company is getting the best candidate for the job, and one who is what and who they say they are, then sometimes a more thorough and well-rounded screening process is essential. 

Businesses depend on having reliable and comprehensive information, so when it comes to the likes of due diligence or insolvency cases, having access to information that provides detailed insight is key to protecting a company’s interests and ensuring the right decisions are made. Which is where the deep dark web can come in very useful. 

On the flipside, it’s also key for businesses to know the threats posed by the deep web – and the surface Internet for that matter. With the rapid uptake of Cloud based accounting and management systems, which are heavily reliant on the integrity of the web, it is even more essential that businesses keep cyber-security issues in check. 

Dr Stephen Hill is a leading British cyber-crime expert and managing director of Hill Bingham Ltd. He presents the Cyber Crime and Big Data event, in association with DFK Oswin Griffiths Carlton and Reckon New Zealand, at Chartered Accountants ANZ Conference Centre in Parnell on Friday May 5. 
For more information contact Shane Browning on 09 379 3890 or 


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