New dark web search tool uncovers unpleasant, but important, information for clients

After a basic search query, a large financial institution recently discovered, within seconds, that internal documents had leaked and were floating around on the dark web.

Michael Raypold, chief technical officer for Echosec, a web based data discovery platform headquartered in B.C., couldn’t elaborate on which financial institution that was – we asked – but the search results immediately set off alarm bells and prompted the bank’s staff to perform some damage control.

“There are so many data leaks on a daily basis, responding to it quickly is invaluable,” Raypold told IT World Canada, adding this type of discovery would have taken days with an analyst.

Echosec recently introduced its latest data discovery platform Beacon, and much like its other asset monitoring solutions that scour thousands of websites, blogs and social media platforms, Beacon provides clients a brief, and secure, glimpse into the dark web to discover whether or not they’ve been compromised.

A search for gun trafficking yields several results on Beacon. Screenshot submitted by Echosec.

The encrypted nature of the dark web, which can only be accessed with specific software, has been a popular space for hackers to store, share and sell information. It’s been next to impossible for organizations to search the encrypted network for any signs of compromise to their company, and while there is no shortage of shady activity on the World Wide Web, people serious about stealing your information – or frustrated employees seeking revenge, for example – are turning to the dark web to leak company secrets.

It’s no wonder enterprise clients are suddenly lining up in droves to get their hands on Beacon.

“The demand has been overwhelming,” says Raypold, noting enterprise, retail, and security teams are some of the initial clients using the software. Most of these clients, however, are based in the U.S., not in Canada, despite the fact Echosec’s headquarters are in Victoria, B.C.

Quick facts:

  • A search conducted on April 2, 2019 found 42,272 instances of hacker data using the keyword “Canadian”
  • A search for drugs returned 1,329 and gun 593 results, respectively
  • Beacon says it found 1,310 results for PIN’s (Personally Identifiable Information) on April 2.


“The customers we’ve been targeting for Beacon have been in the financial and retail industry. And Canada certainly has a great home-grown financial industry, but the biggest companies in those sectors are in the United States. So we’re trying to market to that,” explains Raypold.

A U.K.-based partner helps Echosec with marketing and distribution in that region as well.

Right now, Echosec is focused on growing its SaaS platform through its subscription service – customers can sign up for a one-year enterprise license – and helping customers with API integration. Echosec as a platform partners with social media providers such as Twitter, but Beacon does not.

Raypold says he’s very open to the idea of partnering with other companies to roll out the software in other regions, or for those partners to wrap their own solutions around Beacon. Right now, he says there is one partner that Echosec white labels the technology for.

“Right now we’re focused on the SaaS model.”

Echosec, which is only five years old, experienced a 300 per cent year-over-year growth last year.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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