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  • January 08, 2019 12:48:59 PM
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A Little About Us

Onestop IT Solutions provides IT services to your business. Established in 2003, OnestopIT has grown to a staff of 9 with 3 offices covering Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team offers IT support, IT strategy, IT security and IT compliance support. At Onestop IT we care about understanding the specific needs of your organisation and translating these needs into action plans to support and develop your business.

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    The Best Cloud & On-Premise VoIP System for Your Small Business

    The quality of your phone system determines the quality of your communications which in turn has a lot to do with your business success, and no business can afford to constantly be on the back foot due to poor connectivity with employees, clients, and business partners.  When it comes down to it, you need your Discover more The post The Best Cloud & On-Premise VoIP System for Your Small Business appeared first on Onestop...

    The quality of your phone system determines the quality of your communications which in turn has a lot to do with your business success, and no business can afford to constantly be on the back foot due to poor connectivity with employees, clients, and business partners. 

    When it comes down to it, you need your business to be versatile enough to make calls at any time, at any place and on any device — all without breaking the bank. If you’ve been reading our blog posts from the past few weeks and are looking for a dynamic VoIP phone system that ticks all of these boxes and many more, we recommend you look into switching your small business over to 3CX PBX

     

    What is 3CX PBX?

    3CX are true pioneers in providing Voice over Internal Protocol (VoIP), a form of digital communication that’s surpassing the traditional telephone model, to businesses around the world.

    We’ve covered how VoIP works in detail in previous blog posts, but here’s a brief reminder: instead of your phone system being hooked to a landline, everything is operated digitally via the internet in the VoIP model. It’s more efficient, more flexible and more cost-effective compared to traditional telephony.

    In contrast, Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is a multiline telephone system that is primarily used to switch calls internally, typically in a business setting. Unlike VoIP, PBX communication operates via the landline.

    By merging many of the best features of PBX and VoIP together, 3CX offers a more sophisticated telephone platform for businesses with many unique benefits that we’ll go into below.

     

     

    What are the benefits of 3CX PBX?

    1. Price

    One of this product’s most appealing assets is its affordability. When 3CX compared their PBX solutions of a 100-user system with their competitors, and the results weren’t even close – quite remarkably, their comparison highlighted that switching to a 3CX PBX system could potentially save you between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that your business’ specific requirements may affect your savings.

     

    2. Simplicity

    Setting up a communications system can be tedious, time-consuming and complex – but it doesn’t have to be. 3CX PBX offers a more seamless solution due to its flexibility to operate either in the cloud of your choice or on-premises, requiring minimal administration and management. 

    In terms of daily operation, 3CX makes jobs such as adding extensions unbelievably easy. It also automates many menial tasks such as deploying updates, allowing you the freedom to use your new communications system to serve your customers and grow your business.   

     

    3. Instant Messaging & Web Conferencing

    Living in the digital age, connectivity has to be instant in any business and anything short of this demonstrates an inability to adapt. 3CX PBX prevents this from happening by including an instant messaging feature as standard, allowing all parties to communicate from any device without having to install or spend money on additional apps. 

    The recent pandemic has underlined the importance of instant communication in the modern era, as it has forced many businesses to re-adjust and rely on digital messaging to delegate responsibilities to employees. Remote working is the new normal and its success hinges on being able to communicate effectively. 

    There’s a number of excellent video conferencing services now available to small businesses, offering you the ability to set up online meetings between multiple colleagues. Microsoft Teams is one of the best out there. The main benefit of MS Teams is that it’s extremely secure, protecting the privacy and security of your online meetings which may contain sensitive information. MS Teams also allows you to build on it, combining a range of other Office 365 apps into a unique working solution that maximises the efficiency and productivity of your teams.  

    Like MS Teams, 3CX PBX offers a video conferencing solution which is simple, versatile, and highly effective.

    Setting up a conference could not be easier and joining is as simple as clicking on a link using any web browser and on any device. You may be tempted to think that online meetings are less productive than their face-to-face counterparts, however, that simply isn’t true. Using 3CX PBX, you can:

    •         Compile the minutes of the meeting and send them to all participants straight away
    •         Share files easily online, saving on cumbersome and expensive print-outs for everyone
    •         Gather opinions on key matters quickly and easily using a nifty polling feature    

     

    4. Efficiency

    A lack of customer appreciation can instantly be demonstrated through poor communication with them. One of the most frustrating things any customer has to deal with is calling up to make an enquiry and then being passed from one agent to another, and another… This can cause your relationship with the customer to break down so much you lose their custom.

    Customers want to feel special, valued and appreciated, and businesses that instantly connect with customers to address their concerns are able to foster customer loyalty. 

    An inability to effectively communicate can be equally damaging internally. The last thing any busy employee will want to deal with is receiving unwanted calls (from customers or fellow employees) when they are, for example, working on a crucial report to a tight deadline. In other words, they can’t afford distractions.

    3CX PBX offers a simple solution to this: The Busy Lamp Field (BLF) panel. This clever feature allows employees to indicate whether or not they are available to take calls, meaning customers are only directed to those who are ready to speak with them, and employees can seal off valuable time to focus on completing important objectives.

     

    5. Trusted Services

    If you’re still unsure whether or not 3CX PBX is the right solution for you, it may be encouraging to know that by switching to them, you will be in great company. Many huge, incredibly successful businesses use 3CX PBX for their communications needs, including McDonald’s, Carlsberg, Hugo Boss, Wilson, RE/MAX, Alliance Healthcare and many, many more.

    Some of the biggest businesses in the world did not simply trust 3CX by accident. They trusted 3CX because:

    •         They offer a service that is unparalleled
    •         They are motivated by the fact that their success is dependent on your success
    •         They provide dedicated, ongoing support through their Support Portal
    •         They are crystal clear about costs, so there are no hidden charges

     

    Final words

    In these wildly uncertain times, your communication with your customers and employees is more important than ever, and your ability to do so has never been challenged so much.

    3CX PBX offers you a unified service which is comprehensive, easy to use and adaptable. Not only that, by offering all of the above at a very affordable price, 3CX PBX offers a dynamic form of communication that’s incredibly cost-effective. 

     

    The post The Best Cloud & On-Premise VoIP System for Your Small Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    VoIP vs Traditional Phone Systems

    Living in the digital era, we’re all accustomed to instant communication. Whether it’s an update on the news, a WhatsApp message or a notification from Facebook, we settle for nothing less than hyper-efficient messaging - and your business deserves nothing less.  Organisations of all sizes are now recognising the importance of leveraging Voice over Internet Discover more The post VoIP vs Traditional Phone Systems appeared first on Onestop...

    Living in the digital era, we’re all accustomed to instant communication. Whether it’s an update on the news, a WhatsApp message or a notification from Facebook, we settle for nothing less than hyper-efficient messaging – and your business deserves nothing less. 

    Organisations of all sizes are now recognising the importance of leveraging Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to achieve seamless connectivity that will help them unlock their full potential. 

    Although the traditional phone system fulfils its objective effectively – connecting person A to person B – digital technology has made businesses vastly more interconnected with superior ease. 

    The VoIP phone system dates back to 1973, but it’s only recently that it has become a near-mandatory asset for all savvy business owners looking to communicate more effectively and ultimately gain an advantage over their competition. 

    In this article, we’ll break down what VoIP is, how it compares with the traditional phone system and how adopting VoIP technology can benefit your business. 

     

    What is VoIP and how is it different from the traditional phone system?

    Simply put, VoIP is a digital innovation that allows you to make calls via the internet instead of a telecommunications provider. This means that you’re able to make a VoIP call from any device at any location, providing that you have access to the internet. 

    Conversely, traditional telephony uses landlines to connect calls. Within the traditional phone system, businesses can use either a private branch exchange (PBX) or a public switched telephone line (PSTN). Although these two models both operate using landlines, they differ in functionality. 

    PSTN operates on one line for one conversation only, using one phone number – hardly ideal for businesses that want every employee to have a phone at their desk.

    This cumbersome way of connecting staff with clients or even with one another makes many organisations who still rely on landlines opt for the PBX model. Instead of sharing one line, PBX enables employees to use one phone number and quickly transfer calls to one another on local lines, providing a vastly more efficient way of communicating. 

     

    How does VoIP work?

    Since VoIP operates digitally, your voice signal needs to be translated into a format that can be transported through the internet. This process works using a program called codecs. When using VoIP, your voice is compressed into digital packets for transmission and are then turned back into their original audio form once they arrive with the receiver. 

    By contrast, traditional telephony uses copper wires to transmit messages from point A to B. It’s the physical phone line system that most of us have grown up with – and it’s beginning to be seen as a rather outdated model.

     

     

     

    How can VoIP benefit my business?

    1. Reduce costs 

    One of the main benefits VoIP offers to businesses is that it can be extremely cost-effective. In contrast, using a telecommunications provider can be expensive, even extortionate, especially for firms having to make frequent international calls. 

    Not having to face up to expensive phone bills at the end of each month is a simple and effective way to reduce overhead expenses. 

     

    2. Increased flexibility & mobility

    As well as providing a more cost-effective solution, VoIP enables businesses to integrate software programs such as remote conferencing, email and e-fax over the internet through the telephone. 

    To put it simply, an employee using VoIP can speak to somebody on the phone while using other important applications. 

    Telephone conversations can be taken anywhere as long as there’s access to an internet connection. This freedom allows employees to make calls on the move, which is especially important for those required to travel a lot to attend corporate events. 

    In contrast, the traditional phone system restricts staff to making calls from one location – the office.

     

    3. Easy to install

    Installing VoIP requires minimal technical aptitude. Setting up a traditional telephone system is tedious and will most likely require a technician to appropriately install and safely separate its cables. 

    Additionally, cables from traditional telephony can create a lot of clutter, also increasing the chances of a fire hazard with all the electrical wires. Opting for VoIP frees up space, is easy to install and safer to operate. 

     

    4. Voice quality

    Providing that you have a strong internet connection with good bandwidth, VoIP systems offer greater sound quality compared with analogue phone lines. Since the introduction of full fast fibre, IP networks have been able to transmit audio at a greater speed with more audio clarity. 

     

    VoIP & Remote Working

    Covid-19 has led to a rapid shift in businesses having to work from home and rely on digital software and technology to maintain productivity. For many businesses, this has actually been a blessing in disguise. 

    A decrease in both on-site technology spend and in-house expenses such as electricity bills have awakened businesses to a more cost-effective model of flexible working which comes with an increase in employee satisfaction. 

    Staff being able to spend less time and money getting to and from work creates a happier workforce. Gartner recently conducted a study that involved interviewing 317 different CFOs during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their research suggests that remote working will become increasingly the new normal, even when lockdown restrictions are completely removed. 

    So what relevance does this have to VoIP? 

    Well, given that the entire remote working model is sustained by VoIP, there’s likely to be a rise in demand for this technology. Switching from traditional telephony is fast becoming a mandatory requirement for organisations looking to adapt to a more agile business model. 

     

    Final thoughts

    The increasing reliance on VoIP technology for effective communication is already phasing out traditional telephony. VoIP offers businesses an opportunity to become more responsive, flexible and efficient – all by simply switching to an easier, more tech-savvy form of communication. 

    By contrast, the traditional telephone system uses a more cumbersome way of working that stifles flexibility. Businesses can now operate globally with fewer restrictions and greater efficiency, and the recent forced switch to remote working due to the global pandemic has only shed more light on the value of VoIP technology. 

    Thanks to VoIP, businesses are still able to maintain high levels of productivity despite working from home. This is a trend that is likely to grow even after restrictions are lifted, suggesting an even greater demand for VoIP technology to be on the horizon.

     

     

    The post VoIP vs Traditional Phone Systems appeared first on Onestop IT.


    What Are the Benefits of a VoIP System?

    Within the last decade, businesses have become increasingly reliant on digital communication to operate efficiently and provide more value to their customers. As a result, VoIP has been leveraged by sophisticated businesses around the world to vastly improve their ability to communicate.  So, what exactly is VoIP? VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol,  is a Discover more The post What Are the Benefits of a VoIP System? appeared first on Onestop...

    Within the last decade, businesses have become increasingly reliant on digital communication to operate efficiently and provide more value to their customers. As a result, VoIP has been leveraged by sophisticated businesses around the world to vastly improve their ability to communicate. 

    So, what exactly is VoIP?

    VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol,  is a form of modern technology that allows you to make calls over the internet rather than using your telecommunications provider. Put simply, you can make a phone call via the internet using any data-driven device, including laptops, tablets, phones and computers. 

    Since its introduction in the early 1970s, the VoIP market has grown exponentially, with the industry valued at $145.76 billion by 2024. VoIP is recognised as a valuable asset for a variety of reasons that we’ll explain below. 

     

     

    How VoIP Works

    Voice over Internet Protocol works much like a translator, by converting your voice signals into digital data which is then sent through your internet connection. During this process, a program referred to as ‘codecs’ encodes and decodes all of the analogue signals that come from your voice into compressed digital packets, increasing the efficiency of transmission. These digital packets are then translated back into their analogue form once they reach their destination, allowing the person receiving the call to understand the message.

    Although all this might seem complicated, this process of translating data occurs all the time in our day-to-day lives without us ever noticing it. 

    Think of when you send an email: the message you send is translated into code, allowing it to be transported through the internet. It is then decoded into its original version, making the message comprehensible to the person receiving it – VoIP is no different.

     

     

    How is VoIP different from PBX and PSTN?

    Time for some more acronyms: PBX stands for private branch exchange, a phone system that’s been used for decades by businesses for internal and external communication. Its primary strength is its ability to switch phone calls between employees on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. 

    Meanwhile, a public switched telephone line (PSTN), sometimes simply referred to as a ‘telephone line’, is the most commonly used method for phone conversations. Unlike PBX, it operates by using just one line, for one conversation, using one phone number. It’s great for calling family and friends, but this limitation makes the PSTN model an impractical option for businesses with several staff members looking to communicate effectively. 

    PBX and PSTN have a number of similarities in the way that they’re set up – the main one being that they both operate using phone lines. The key difference is that PBX uses multiple landlines to form local networks, whereas PSTN can only use one. 

    A VoIP system, on the other hand, is a digitised method of communication that uses the internet to make calls. 

     

     

    What system should I use then?

    While each phone system has its pros and cons, VoIP is without a doubt the superior communication technology of most businesses. That’s because it’s cheaper, more efficient and more flexible than systems relying on traditional phone lines. 

    The winning formula for any successful business is to maximise efficiency and minimise costs. VoIP plays an important role in achieving these objectives by providing a wide range of benefits – let’s have a look at these more closely.

     

    The Advantages of VoIP

    • It’s cost-effective. Arguably VoIP’s greatest asset is that it is significantly cheaper than a landline, especially for international calls. Some software, such as FaceTime, can be used completely free of charge.
    • Voice quality. Assuming you have a strong internet connection with good bandwidth, the sound quality of VoIP will be at least as good as, if not better, than a traditional phone connection. 
    • Increased accessibility. A cloud-based VoIP service allows you to make calls from anywhere in the world as long as you have the right credentials to access your account. 
    • Greater flexibility. When registering for VoIP services, you are assigned a special VoIP number, known as a virtual number. You can then use this number regardless of your location. 
    • Highly reliable. If, for whatever reason, a VoIP office phone shuts down due to network issues, calls can be forwarded to mobile phones and other devices. 
    • Easy to integrate with other business systems. Organisations are constantly integrating new technologies to maximise operational efficiency. A VoIP system is easy to install and can be seamlessly integrated with a variety of different business applications without having to make any costly adjustments to the existing IT infrastructure. 

     

     

    The Disadvantages of VoIP

     

    • Strong internet connection is essential. The quality of your VoIP call entirely depends on the quality of your internet connection. 
    • Latency. A low bandwidth will disrupt the translation of digital packets, causing some calls to lag, delay, or even cut out completely. 
    • Power outages. All internet connections rely on a power source. This dependence on power can be frustrating for VoIP users in areas that experience frequent power shortages. 

     

     

    In Conclusion

    Businesses that choose to use VoIP have a much greater chance of gaining an advantage over competitors due to the simple fact of having a far more powerful communication system. The traditional landline is an outdated model for any firm that’s serious about achieving growth. 

    VoIP offers businesses the opportunity to be more agile, efficient, and flexible. To begin with, firms are able to operate globally due to the minimal costs associated with making international calls. That alone is a game-changer. VoIP allows organisations to make important global connections, a vital step in achieving their aspirations. 

    Unlike traditional landlines, calls aren’t restricted to a single location. VoIP users have the freedom to communicate via a laptop, phone, tablet, or computer, at any location that has an internet connection or 4G. Although VoIP is totally reliant on an internet connection and bandwidth strength, it’s crystal clear that the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Businesses who don’t utilise this effective form of communication will miss out on the opportunity to reach their full potential and risk falling behind their competitors.

     

    The post What Are the Benefits of a VoIP System? appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Dark Web Threats Facing Your Business

    According to research, as many as 60% of all listings on the dark web could cause harm to organisations, posing risks like disruptions to work, data leaks, damage to your brand reputation and IP theft. 60% is a pretty staggering number, so it’s understandable for business owners to want to educate themselves on the dangers Discover more The post Dark Web Threats Facing Your Business appeared first on Onestop...

    According to research, as many as 60% of all listings on the dark web could cause harm to organisations, posing risks like disruptions to work, data leaks, damage to your brand reputation and IP theft. 60% is a pretty staggering number, so it’s understandable for business owners to want to educate themselves on the dangers the dark web poses to their enterprise.

    In today’s article, we’ll help you do just that by taking a closer look at some of the risks modern SMEs face from the dark web, who’s responsible for dark web cybercrime and what steps you can take to better protect your business.

     

    Dark web security issues modern SMEs face

    As we’ve gone over in the last few articles we’ve published on our blog, the anonymity of the dark web makes it the ideal breeding ground for illegal activity of all kinds. From drugs to illegal pornography and from firearms to supposed hitman services, the dark web is where the worst sides of humanity come out to play. When it comes to small businesses, there are a few common types of scams and attacks targeting organisations like yours that you should be aware of. 

    First off, gift card and credit card fraud are both rampant on the dark web, and stolen information like this can be purchased for as little as just a few dollars on the dark web without any real fear of detection. This means that it’s hugely important that if your customers save their payment details with you in any form, you take the necessary precautions to keep this data safe and that you mandate a strong password policy for everyone using your site.

    You should also be aware of the fact that targeted hacking attacks (HaaS – or hacking as a service) can be purchased through the dark web easily and without parting with much money – more on this later. A hack like this could be done in order to steal data from your business about you or your customers, install malware on your computers or simply to wreak havoc on your organisation. An attack like this could render you unable to carry out your work as normal and have a truly catastrophic impact on your public image.

     

    Who can target my business using the dark web?

    Anyone can target your business using the dark web. While the popular stereotype of a hacker is a computer whizz working with a wall of complex code, the more common image is much less dramatic. With hacking software like Nuke designed for targeting businesses and easily available all over the dark web, anyone can become a hacker – all you need is a laptop. 

    The dark web offers plenty of hacking how-to manuals as well as entry-level hacking tools like ready-made phishing sites and software designed to take over your desktop, compromise a Wifi network, passwords and more. These can be purchased on the dark web for the price of your Starbucks order. Scarier still, even the more comprehensive hacking toolkits cost only around £100 on the dark web. This means cybercrime with potentially devastating effects on your business has never been more accessible.

     

    What kind of businesses are targeted?

    Organisations of all kinds can find themselves on the receiving end of cybercrime originating from the dark web, but those in that deal with finance, e-commerce, media, healthcare and education are among the most widely targeted industries, with hacking toolkits advertised on the dark web specifically for targeting these industries. 

    However, organisations of all kinds and all sizes should be aware of the risks posed on them by the dark web and consider what safety measures they need to take up in order to protect themselves effectively.

     

    What can I do to safeguard my business and clients?

    As with all cybersecurity threats, one of the simplest and most cost-effective antidotes is a wall of informed, computer-savvy employees who know the best practices for keeping hackers out. You should make sure to have a strong password policy in place, download security patches regularly and limit what your employees can and can’t do on their work computers. 

    For example, you could consider prohibiting the downloading and use of dark web browsers like Tor and I2P at work. You could also use software to block Tor if you’re worried. Additionally, limiting access to sensitive data is an effective way to protect your business, so make sure only those who absolutely need access to sensitive files and records have it.

    Perhaps the scariest part of all this is that if your organisation were to fall prey to cybercrime originating from the dark web, chances are you wouldn’t even know this. That’s why preparation is key when it comes to avoiding dark web cybercrime. 

    For more information on more advanced practices for safeguarding your business against dark web cybercrime, tune in for our next blog on this topic. We’ll be covering things like dark web monitoring services in detail to make sure you have everything you need to keep your business safe.

     

    The post Dark Web Threats Facing Your Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    A Quick Guide to Legal vs Illegal Activity on the Dark Web

    The World Wide Web most of us know and use every day is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the internet. In fact, most of the information that lives online exists in a realm that can’t be reached with a Google search or your standard web browser. The deep web Discover more The post A Quick Guide to Legal vs Illegal Activity on the Dark Web appeared first on Onestop...

    The World Wide Web most of us know and use every day is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the internet. In fact, most of the information that lives online exists in a realm that can’t be reached with a Google search or your standard web browser. The deep web is home to all kinds of information, including, among many other things, websites you need login details to enter as well as sensitive data like bank and health records.

    A small portion of the deep web is called the dark web, and while the two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re in fact two different things. The dark web is encrypted, making it a secure place to search and post information of all kinds. While the news mostly focuses on the illegal activity this anonymity gives rise to, this isn’t the whole picture. 

    However, as we mentioned in our last blog post, browsing the dark web or downloading the software you need to use to do so is not in itself illegal, and as we’ll talk about in today’s article, there are several practical reasons and legal ways to use the dark web. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about the legal side of using the dark web.

     

    Is using the dark web illegal?

    Due to its anonymity, the dark web offers an ideal breeding ground for illegal activity such as buying and selling illicit substances, weapons and child pornography. Some of the truly worst sides of humanity come out to play on the dark web. That being said, it’s not the dark web itself that is illegal.

    What is illegal is taking part in criminal activity using the dark web. This includes visiting websites on the dark web that include things like explicit illegal material, threats of violence or hate speech. The key is using common sense: things that would be illegal outside the dark web are illegal there, too, and vice versa.

     

    Examples of legal activities on the dark web

    There’s a huge number of reasons responsible, law-respecting people use the dark web. This hidden part of the internet houses a huge number of things like scientific papers and books for free when they’d usually exist behind a paywall, as well as groups and forums for more or less any activity you could think of – book and chess clubs are just two popular examples. The dark web even has its own literary journal, The Torist, featuring short fiction, poems and essays from around the world.

    Many people also use the dark web to keep their personal information safe while doing some of the most popular things people do on the internet: sending emails, posting on social media and using search engines. 

    The dark web has a number of its own email providers that allow you to send and receive emails anonymously. These services are also useful if you’re signing up for any of the social media sites or forums that live on the dark web and need to provide an email address as a contact. 

    The dark web has its own search engines, too, some of which also live on the surface web. While the likes of Google and Bing sell your browsing data to advertisers to make a profit, these alternative search engines keep your data private, making them an attractive option to those who are strict about their data confidentiality. 

    For example, DuckDuckGo has both a dark web and surface web address, and while their surface web search engine is very private, their Tor engine is even safer and using it there means no one will know you accessed their site in the first time.

    Finally, the dark web has its own social media sites, including several alternatives to Facebook, including the likes of Blackbook and Torbook. These websites allow you to create a completely anonymous profile and are particularly useful to people living under oppressive regimes that limit their citizen’s access to these sites’ surface web counterparts.

     

    Using the dark web to promote democracy

    The dark web provides an important resource for those living in places where democracy isn’t as straightforward as it is here in the UK. It allows people to safely access information their government tries their best to hide via sites like ProPublica and provides a confidential avenue for communication free of censorship through its social media sites and email services.

    The dark web is also important for journalists and whistleblowers within the government and large companies, providing a safe place for sharing information without the identity of the journalist’s source becoming public.

     

    What you need to know about browsing safely & legally

    In order to access the dark web, you need to download the Tor browser. There is no search engine that catalogues the websites that exist on the dark web – this is partly what makes it so private. This means you have to know the specific URL you want to address or use a site like thehiddenwiki.org to find what you’re looking for, though you have to be careful with these resources, as they list plenty of illegal sites alongside completely legal and legitimate ones. Additionally, using a VPN alongside the Tor browser is the best way to stay safe and anonymous on the dark web.

    Worried about the cybersecurity threats the dark web poses to your small business? Our next few blogs will help you secure your organisation against those who use the dark web for illegal purposes. In the meantime, make sure to check out some of our other articles on IT security on our blog.

     

     

    The post A Quick Guide to Legal vs Illegal Activity on the Dark Web appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Deep Web vs Dark Web – What’s the Difference?

    The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are ones often thrown around in the media pretty much interchangeably, but there are some very important distinctions to be made between the two. In today’s blog post well do just that, providing comprehensive definitions for both so that you can better understand what cybersecurity risks your organisation Discover more The post Deep Web vs Dark Web – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Onestop...

    The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are ones often thrown around in the media pretty much interchangeably, but there are some very important distinctions to be made between the two. In today’s blog post well do just that, providing comprehensive definitions for both so that you can better understand what cybersecurity risks your organisation faces from those willing to exploit the anonymity certain parts of the internet offer.

     

    Surface web definition

    Before we get onto defining the deep and dark web for you, we need to define what neither of them are part of: the surface web. To put it into terms anyone can understand, the surface web is made up of all the pages your typical search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo! can display in their search results.

    The way search engines work to bring their users the most relevant results is by “crawling” websites that have given them permission to do so, analysing the written content and indexing the links they contain. This is the information they can display in their search results. Search engines can’t use onsite search bars to find all pages but rather, they can only access pages with links pointing to them.

    What comes as a surprise to many people is what a small part of the internet is made up of this “surface” web that can be indexed by search engines – the majority of the world’s web pages exist on a level below this, on the deep web.

     

    Deep web definition

    Hold on, you might say after reading the last paragraph, how could most of the internet exist on the deep web – isn’t that where all this illegal activity I’ve heard about takes place? Well, yes and no. 

    The deep web is simply an umbrella term that encompasses all web content not indexed by search engines, and there are many completely legitimate reasons for not making a web page accessible to search engines. The dark web is just a small sliver of the deep web – more on this in a little bit.

    Content that exists on the deep web where it can’t be indexed by search engines includes, among other things, pages that have sensitive information, content behind a password or a paywall and resources only relevant to certain people. This means you have to know the exact URL of a piece of content on the deep web and/or have the login credentials to access it.

    This category of content on the dark web includes the internal sites and intranets of educational institutions, businesses and government agencies. It also includes content on websites you need to be a user of, including streaming services like Netflix and newspapers you need a subscription to in order to read them, like The Telegraph. 

    A lot of the content on the deep web is information you wouldn’t want to be accessed by just anybody on the internet: your passwords, online banking accounts and medical records are just a few types of information for you or about you on the deep web that should definitely stay private and only be accessible to you and your bank or doctor.

     

    Dark web definition

    As we already mentioned, the dark web is a small sliver of the deep web. It’s a part of the internet you can’t access using a standard browser – instead, you need special software to access it. The fact this part of the internet is not indexed by search engines and you need special tools to access it means it’s anonymous, making it a popular breeding ground for all kinds of illegal activity. 

    This illegal activity includes the buying and selling of leaked data, including trade secrets, online banking passwords and credit card details, illegal weapons and pornography, fake documents and both illegal and prescription drugs. There are also plenty of scams that exist on the dark web, too, including things like hitman services and live snuff films – most of these listings, if not all of them, are completely fabricated and put up for the sole purpose of stealing money from the people seeking these illegal services.  

    Much of the illegal trade on the dark web is done using cryptocurrency because of its untraceable nature. In the past, the most famous marketplace on the dark web was the Silk Road, whose founder was arrested by the FBI in 2014, and though many imitator sites have surfaced since, none of them seem to have garnered the longevity or the level of infamy Silk Road had.

    Browsing the dark web or downloading the software needed to access it is, in itself, not illegal. What’s illegal is soliciting services or buying products on the dark web that are against the law. There are certain groups of people who have a legitimate reason to use the dark web, including government and big business whistleblowers working with investigative journalists and political dissidents living under oppressive governments. That being said, the vast majority of people would be much safer steering clear of the dark web.

     

    So what now?

    Now that you know what the dark and deep webs are all about, you need to learn how to effectively protect yourself and your organisation from criminals exploiting the anonymity of the dark web to try and gain access to your financial details, passwords and other forms of data. 

    To help you do just that, make sure to check back in on our blog over the next few weeks for more articles about managing the dangers of the dark web. And if you’d like to talk about strengthening your small business’ cybersecurity, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our IT experts directly.

     

    The post Deep Web vs Dark Web – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Onestop IT.


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