AS THE CONVERSATION continues among health information
management (HIM) professionals about information governance
(IG), discussions about privacy and security have been in the spotlight lately. Much of that attention is focused on the “Dark Web,”
an online marketplace for hackers to sell and buy illegal goods
like stolen data, including healthcare records. 1 A scan of literature
for information on how the Dark Web impacts HIM professionals
showed surprisingly few results and inspired a deeper review.
This article is intended to raise awareness among HIM professionals about risks associated with the Dark Web, such as medical identity theft, ransomware, and medical device hacking.
HIM professionals need to be aware that health information is
the target of sophisticated cyberattacks from hackers, who then
use the Dark Web to profit from their breaches. However, there
have also been innovations that have emerged from the Dark
Web that could become mainstream solutions for addressing
challenges faced by HIM professionals.
What to Know about the Deep Web
It has been known for some time that Internet search results are
vastly underrepresented when using traditional search engines.
A metaphor some have used for this phenomenon is that of a
boat crawling across the surface of the ocean dragging a net,
gathering items within the net’s shallow reach. 2 While objects
are collected near the surface, the ocean is much deeper and
most of its contents are outside the reach of the surface-skim-ming net. The Internet is a virtual ocean, with content distributed through layers, ranging from the illuminated surface to the
darkness below. The portion of the Internet that remains out
of reach of traditional search engines has been appropriately
By David Gibbs, PhD, CPHI, CHPS, CPHIMS, CISSP; Alexander McLeod, PhD; and Karima Lalani, MBA, RHIA