Should HR be using the deep web?

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The deep web may have a sinister reputation but there’s more to it than sourcing illegal drugs and arranging illicit trade – according to one expert, it actually holds a lot of benefits for businesses.

Dr Stephen Hill is a cyber-crime expert who advises organisations in fraud risk management, data security and internet investigations – he says there is potential for employers to use the deep web to source information on everything from due diligence through to insolvency asset tracing.

While the surface web – the likes of Google and Facebook – makes up 10 per cent of the internet, the deep web takes up the other 90 percent and allows users to browse beneath the day-to-day internet with anonymity.

“It’s fair to say there is a plethora of data floating in cyberspace,” says Hill. “For online investigators, the internet is a vital tool as search engines and social media monitoring tools have developed with far more capabilities to assist in the retrieval of information – if you know where to look.”

Hill uses examples of staff screening via social media to help ensure a company is hiring the right people and undertaking due diligence via “deep dives” as just some of the benefits to businesses using advanced internet search processes.

“Open source intelligence is the most common search undertaken by businesses using the surface web, there are even greater opportunities using the deep web to discover hidden information,” he says.

Catie Cotcher, GM of software firm Reckon NZ, says businesses are increasingly using the deep web alongside sophisticated social media search techniques to enhance what they already do.

“You can’t beat a good old fashioned job interview when it comes to recruiting new staff but to ensure a company is getting the best candidate for the job, a more thorough and well-rounded screening method is essential,” she says.

“Businesses count on having reliable and comprehensive information and when it comes to something like 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.”

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