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Web scraping solutions for cybersecurity

This article is about the use of web scraping solutions for cybersecurity for your business. Cybersecurity attacks are escalating daily despite the countermeasures that cybersecurity firms employ to combat them. In fact, according to recent research, the number of stolen and exposed credentials has risen 300%. Therefore cybersecurity firms are exploring new anti-breaching mechanisms to outsmart hackers.

As a cybersecurity firm, you could mitigate malicious attacks by gathering data on digital threats beforehand. This article will discover how web scraping plays a vital role in empowering measures to minimize these disasters.

But First, Let’s begin our article with an overview of cyber threat intelligence and its importance to an organization.

What are the most regularly known cyber attacks?

There are various cybersecurity threats that your organization or online business confronts. It’s not within the scope of this article to discuss them in greater depth. So below are some of the prevalent attacks in brief:

Denial Of Service(DOS)- in a nutshell, the attacker floods the target device or network with overwhelming traffic. As a consequence, the target device would find it difficult to handle such huge tons of traffic. Ultimately the network shutdowns which makes it impossible for its intended users to consume it.

Phishing- You may receive an email with an attachment or a link appearing to be from a legitimate user. They would lure you into opening the attachment or the link which contains malware.

SQL injection- SQL injection allows an attacker to intercept queries that a web application queries to its database server. They would retrieve the most sensitive information such as username and password from the database and conduct malicious attacks.

What are the most regularly known cyber attacks

If you’re interested in finding more about Cyberattacks, this would be a good source.

What is Cyber threat intelligence?

It is the process of analyzing data using tools and techniques to produce information related to ongoing and emerging threats. Its primary objective is to thwart cyberattacks by making rapid, informed security decisions. As a result, the major stakeholders of the company would become proactive to resolve the potential threats.

Lately, most organizations have recognized the importance of this cyber threat intelligence. This is due to the fact that 72 percent of companies planning to allocate funds for it.

Why do companies need threat intelligence?

Performing regular threat intelligence strengthen the security of your organization and will have the following benefits:

  • It helps your organization understand the attackers’ (threat actors’) decision-making processes and moves.
  • Security teams are able to make better decisions as the threat intelligence sheds light in hazardous areas.
  • Company’s stakeholders such as CISOs, CIOs, and CTOs would invest wisely and minimize security threats. As a result, their decision-making process would expedite.
  • It exposes threat actors’ techniques, motives, and procedures by empowering company’s Cyber security analysts.
Why do companies need threat intelligence

Although there are numerous benefits in gathering data for cybersecurity threats, it can be extremely challenging. Most security experts tend to acquire data from industry forums, websites, and social media. However, gathering tons of data from such sources can be an appalling process.

After all, there are thousands of data sources to gather and analyze the data. This is where the automation of gathering data comes to your rescue. There are automated software in the form of web scrapers, which are colloquially known as “bots”, “spiders,” and “scrapers”.

Up next, you”ll discover how web scraping could benefit your cybersecurity needs. In the meanwhile please feel free to read further on what web scraping is.

How can web scraping improve cyber security of your organization?

As discussed above, web scraping extracts data from the web and present to you in a structured format for your analysis. Based on these analyses you would be able to improve your business better. Similarly, you can use web scraping to detect malicious content in web data, as you shall discover in this section. So let’s dive into two vital areas in cybersecurity that make use of web scraping. Before that, if you need to learn the fundamental concepts associated with web scraping read this article.

What is penetration testing

Penetration testing is also called pen-testing. It is the process of fabricating a cyber attack on a number of web applications on your computer system. Its primary objective is to check for the vulnerabilities that a hacker could potentially exploit either internally or externally. Some of these vulnerabilities include unsanitized user input that leads to injection attacks such as SQL injections.

Phases of Penetration testing

Before we dive into how web scraping helps penetration testing, let’s find out about its initial phases.

  1. Planning and reconnaissance-This is where you define the goals of the test. After that, you can gather intelligence.
  2. Scanning – tools are used to scan how the target web application responds to intrusions.
  3. Gaining access– You can stage the web application attacks to uncover target vulnerabilities.
  4. Maintaining access– The primary goal is to see if the hacker can use the vulnerability to achieve persistence presence in the already exploited system. 
  5. Analysis and Web Application Firewall (WAF) configuration– Finally, you can use the results gained to configure the WAF settings before the test run begins.

Web scraper tool for penetration testing

Here is how web scraper tools would assist in penetration testing.

  • Port scanners- They are web scraper tools that gathers accurate information about a particular target in a network environment. For instance, they carry out activities such as the SYN-SYN-ACK-ACK sequence in a TCP environment.
  • Application scanners – are automated web scraper tools that scan web applications from outside for vulnerabilities in code. Such vulnerabilities include SQL injections, cross-site scripting, path traversal, and insecure server configurations.
  • Vulnerability scanners – these types of tools scan and discover exposure to a specific system. They are available as network-based vulnerability scanners and host-based vulnerability scanners. The former scans the targeted system and the TCP/IP devices prevalent in these situations. In contrast, the latter scans the entire Operating System for software-related vulnerabilities in your system.

In the next section, we will explore how web scraping helps to protect your brand online.

How Web scraping protects your brand online

In addition to online attacks such as Denial Of Service and phishing, there are also other forms of attacks. That is many businesses also lose a hefty sum of money for spiteful reviews and provocative criticisms on their websites.

Recent research by Brightlocal shows that 92% of 18-34 years olds have read a bad review during the year. Another survey by Uberall shows when a positive review increments to 0.1, conversion later increases by 25%

These stats prove that online reviews are a vital part of any business. Any negative review could hinder your sales conversion process. Now then, the question is, how does web scraping fit into fixing this bad review issue?

Web scrapers can extract the content from your blogs, forums, reviews. Therefore, post-extraction, you can analyze the data and observe all the elements of malicious code discussed below.

In the following section, we will examine several ways to use web scraping software to protect your brand online.

How to use web scraping tools to protect your brand online?

You can use web scraping tools to scrape reviews. These would be based on the location of the reviewer, rating of the review, verified/unverified reviews, and keywords. As a result, you would be able to narrow down the search for scraper tools.

Then when the scrapper collects the data, you can request it to import data in the most actionable format. This would ensure that you get data in structure format for analysis.

An important aspect to note here is that it is essential not to remove harmful or fake comments. This is because people tend to ignore when all the reviews are positive as well.

Last but not least, you can use the scraper tools to monitor your competitors’ online reputation. It would also provide you with an opportunity to learn how your competitors respond to negative comments.

How to use web scraping tools to protect your brand online

What are the challenges associated with scraping for cyber security?

Now you have learned two fundamental areas in which web scraping can be used to mitigate Cybersecurity threats. However, web scraping has its own downfalls as well. This is because most websites have anti-bot mechanisms that prevent the scrapers from scraping data. Also, the websites you may scrape could impose an IP ban on your scraper. This is because most websites don’t allow multiple requests from the same IP address.

In addition to IP bans and anti-botting mechanisms, you will also likely encounter CAPTCHAS. They would only allow human users to access the website. Your scraper will likely face rate limits as scrappers can do only a particular set of actions per time.

In the next section, we would look into how proxies could act as your savior in overcoming the above challenges.

How could proxies overcome the challenges in Web scraping?

When it comes to the selection of proxies, there are generally two types.

Datacenter proxies

These are the proxies that are provided by Datacenters, mainly in the cloud. Most users appreciate them for their speed, performance, and cost-efficiency. However, despite all such pro-factors, they are most likely to be blocked by certain websites.

They would be an ideal solution in scenarios that do not require you to scrape the same website multiple times. Also if you do not need proxies from multiple locations

Residential proxies

Unlike the datacenter proxies, residential proxies originate from actual residential owner’s devices. Due to this reason, they’re least likely to be blocked.

Furthermore, residential proxies ensure human-like scraping and have the ability to outdo anti-bot mechanisms. You also have the option to choose locations of the proxy out of multiple locations. 

When protecting your brand, you must check that your brand doesn’t have any counterfeits in any other location globally. Residential proxies would be your ideal choice to prevent brand counterfeit. This is because a wide selection of residential proxies is available in multiple locations.

Proxyscrape offers residential proxies with various bandwidths for reasonable prices. View our residential proxy page for more details.

Conclusion

Now you understand what Cyber threats are and the risk mitigation mechanisms carry out by organizations to thwart the risks. Then we have looked into how web scraping could assist you with investigating and analyzing Cybersecurity threats.

Then again, as you just realized, web scraping has its challenges which the use of proxies could overcome. We hope you enjoy reading this and stay tuned for more articles.

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