Protecting an organization’s digital infrastructure is certainly no easy task. From cloud assets to online devices, customers and websites, to servers, the list goes on and on.In fact, there are so many systems to keep track of that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a company to catalog all the possible risks and security threats that exist inside their organization. Having that 360 view of all potential vulnerabilities that could jeopardize an organization’s digital safety is essential. This is why security operators, researchers and law enforcement now all use public web scraping techniques as a means to map out the potential security gaps that could affect various web-based systems.
In fact, security experts use web data to identify and investigate various threat scenarios that could harm an organization’s online infrastructure. These include, malware, suspicious or repetitive actions targeting the network, incident response capabilities, and the ability to detect and prevent real-time threats or intrusions to the network, among others.
Here’s why compliant web data collection matters to protecting your business.
Web data collection networks
To automate the collection of massive amounts of web data, security teams and departments rely on web data collection networks (with IP proxy infrastructure). They do this to gain a thorough understanding of the digital risks associated with various organisations, including their own and others.
Web data collection platforms and proxy networks allow security firms and operators to gain access to multiple different data sources — and receive accurate depictions of what is present on these websites — all at once and in real time.
They do so by emulating what a real user would see and help to overcome the blocking techniques of different websites, malicious or otherwise, to fully automate their web data collection operations. They also identify prior, existing as well as new and emerging threats that could affect organizational digital security.
Compliant web data collection
When choosing a web data collection platform or network, it’s important that security professionals use a compliance-driven service provider to safeguard the integrity of their network and operations.
Compliant data collection networks ensure that security operators have a safe and suitable environment in which to perform their work without being compromised by potential bad actors using the same network or proxy infrastructure.
These data providers institute extensive and multifaceted compliance processes that include a number of internal as well as external procedures and safeguards, such as manual reviews and third-party audits, to identify non-compliant active patterns and ensure that all use of the network follows the overall compliance guidelines.
This of course also includes abiding by the data gathering guidelines established by international regulators, such as the European Union and the US State of California, as well as enforcing others who follow public web scraping best practices for compliant and reliable web data scraping or collection.
In addition to third-party audits and reviews of their software, data providers can also be certified by security organizations, such as Clean Software Alliance, AppEsteem, McAfee, Avast, AVG, and others, which run comprehensive tests to certify that the software that data vendors are using is compliant and secure.
Five security-related sectors who choose compliance
Many brand protection companies rely on a compliant web data provider to automatically detect counterfeiting of the brands they protect across the Internet. Using a data collection network, brand protection specialists can provide services to clients across the world, leveraging specific geolocation capabilities.
The security departments of top US banks use compliant web scraping networks to gather information about possible threat actors, check for potential phishing links and examine malware in a suitable setting.
These platforms allow the security teams to automatically identify different phishing sites that attempt to steal sensitive client information such as usernames, passwords and credit card information. Essentially, these platforms safeguard bank customers from unknowingly entering sensitive information onto malicious websites.
Abuse.ch is a non-profit that focuses on fighting malware and botnets and exposing malicious websites using web data collection. This nonprofit identifies and then lists malicious websites on its open-source platform URLhaus, which is used by security researchers, solution vendors and law enforcement departments to take down these malicious websites and prevent internet users from falling victim to these proven threats.
The open-source information is regularly used by Domain Name System (DNS) service providers who like to access this list of sites to protect millions from cybersecurity threats.
Threat research and mitigation
Threat intelligence services rely on such networks to tap into various sources, such as hacker forums, blogs, social, app forums, etc., to follow leads on various potential threats. These datasets are essentially the foundation of their intelligence insights, which they then share with a wide range of customers.
Integrating with a public web data collection network improves an organization’s security operations overall, providing them with enhanced visibility over the cybersecurity landscape. However, the integrity of an organization’s security operations is inevitably tied to the web data service provider with whom they choose to attach themselves.
As discussed, it’s becoming more and more difficult each day for security teams to fully catalog and understand the digital risks and security threats that can affect their organization at a moment’s notice. Access to reliable and real-time web data operation provides that extra tool or edge to mitigate those risks right out of the gate.
Therefore, it is crucial for organizations, security teams, departments and individual operators to select a compliant web scraping provider to safeguard their network and ensure that security is always top of mind for their organizations.