Every Fortune 500 company exposed on the darknet

If you believed Fortune 500 companies, with their larger budgets and widespread global influence, had stronger cybersecurity than small and mid-sized companies, you’d be mistaken. Cybersecurity research firm OWL published its Cybersecurity Darknet Index that ranked Fortune 500 companies using Darknet Intelligence and found that every single company was exposed on the darknet.

The darknet is a network of hackers and cyber criminals that doesn’t show up in traditional white-source searches on Google or Bing and often a special browser is required. It’s traditionally a place for hackers to sell stolen data or exchange exploits in the form of exploit dumps, as sites can go up and can be taken down within a matter of minutes to maintain anonymity for buyers.

But it can be a good place for white hat hackers to try and get a step ahead of the bad guys, by monitoring what data is being exchanged and what exploits are being leveraged.

Who had the largest darknet influence?

OWL used these message boards and networks in order to track which Fortune 500 companies were making the biggest impacts in the marketplace in order to find out who were the biggest targets and who were the most exposed. It compiled its findings in a database, then organized the companies to show which had the biggest darknet footprint.

The ranking list can be seen in OWL’s full report, but the top 10 are:

OWL Darknet Rank – Company Name (Fortune 500 rank) – Industry sector

  1. Amazon (18) – Technology
  2. Alphabet/Google (36) – Technology
  3. Apple (3) – Technology
  4. Facebook (157) – Technology
  5. eBay (300) – Technology
  6. American Express (85) – Financials
  7. Frontier Communications (461) – Telecommunications
  8. Netflix (379) – Retail
  9. Texas Instruments (219) – Technology
  10. FedEx (58) – Transportation

The results indicated that companies in the technology sector were more likely to be exposed and carried the most risk for their users. Especially Amazon, since it handles so many financial transactions, has the largest target on its back.

What surprised researchers was how well financial institutions ranked and how little impact they seemed to have on the darknet. This may be due to the fact that financial firms have invested heavily in their cybersecurity programs in the past few years, and we’re finally seeing those investments pay off.

Still, while financial firms’ focus on cybersecurity has had positive impact on their overall security, it’s important to remember that every Fortune 500 company has been exposed in some part on the darknet.