Proxies for cybersecurity solutions
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Adomas Sulcas

Dec 07, 2020 8 min read

Cybersecurity services and proxies go hand in hand. Proxies are used in nearly every case – from getting localized results in marketplaces to find evidence for misuse of brands to avoiding detection. All malicious actors in this field will do everything in their power to avoid being caught by cybersecurity experts.

Both residential and datacenter proxies are utilized to get the best results. Datacenter proxies are often used for their high speeds, unbeatable performance, and stability, while residential proxies can provide localized IPs to scour normally inaccessible marketplaces.

Due to the wide variety of business cases and proxies used, we will outline the best possible options for each.

Brand protection

Brand protection relies on keeping a vigilant eye on any possible counterfeiting activities. Scouring the entire internet for illegitimate sellers manually would be nigh impossible due to the sheer volume of marketplaces.  Fortunately, the search can be slightly narrowed down to smaller marketplaces as most counterfeiters prefer to use lesser-known websites for their listings as the odds of getting away with the selling of unauthorized inventory are higher.

Thus, cybersecurity companies usually develop custom web crawling solutions that are able to access these marketplaces and scan them for any suspicious listings. These crawlers collect all data on listed items and collect evidence whether listings are legitimate or not. Evidence is then used to remove listings that are abusing a brand’s image for their own personal gain.

Proxies for brand protection

Most of the marketplaces used by counterfeiters are easily accessible, even if their listings are localized. Therefore, often the best option for brand protection is to go for datacenter proxies. As there is often no need to be seen as someone from a residential IP, there is no reason to forgo all the benefits datacenter proxies have – speed and uptime. Speed is exceptionally useful as acquiring data from numerous marketplaces, and countless listings will surely put a strain on any server.

Residential proxies can be utilized in cases where marketplaces only accept localized IP results to access listings. As residential IPs are often more expensive than datacenter proxies, collecting a list of required locations and adding new ones when required is a great way to reduce spending.

How residential proxies work

Intellectual property protection

Intellectual property protection is nearly identical in nature to the process of protecting brands from misuse. Yet, it is slightly more difficult to fully automate the process due to the complex nature of the issue. Discovering intellectual property infringements requires proficiency in laws and regulations as the misuse of trademarks or patents may not be instantly recognizable.

As these cases revolve only around illegitimate use of copyrighted material (e.g. designs), products are often seemingly unique rather than attempts at creating lookalikes. Additionally, an attempt to discover whether copyrighted material is being infringed upon has to be made as no counterfeiter will reveal his wrongdoings right off the bat.

Proxies for intellectual property protection

As with brand protection, scraping marketplaces scattered around the internet is the primary avenue of discovery. Additional emphasis should be placed on smaller, localized marketplaces as counterfeiters will once again use these to avoid detection. By crawling through listings and analyzing data gathered will provide evidence on possible wrongdoings.

Once again, using a mix of datacenter and residential proxies is likely to be the most efficient option. If no marketplaces require an IP address from a specific location are being crawled, then residential IPs can be dropped from the pool as they will not provide any additional benefit.

Email protection

Proxies for Cybersecurity solutions
Email protection is of vital importance to any business

When it comes to data protection, humans remain the weakest link. Enacting email protection protocols in large businesses or corporations is necessary in order to protect everyone from phishing or other malicious attacks.

Email protection services employ an internal scraper that scans through all outgoing and incoming emails to discover any phishing attempts. Incoming emails are scanned and checked for legitimacy as phishers attempt to reproduce the content and source as close to the original sender as possible. Any links included are checked to discover whether they lead to legitimate websites.

After that, the attachments are scanned for any malicious software. Each suspicious attachment is opened in a virtual machine to monitor all processes, especially those that communicate with external servers.

Proxies for email protection

Any malicious software distributors or phishers would be able to quickly discover that cybersecurity companies are attempting to validate emails and attachments by checking incoming connection requests. If a reasonable number of connections arrive from the same IP, it can be assumed that a check is being performed. Therefore, switching IP addresses through the use of proxies is vital.

Internal crawlers rely on speed, efficiency, and uptime, making datacenter proxies the perfect choice for email protection. Even the largest drawback, the fact that most IPs come from one subnet, is not too much of an issue as phishers target companies – places where most machines are under one subnet.

Load testing

Load testing is the process of finding weak points in IT systems by applying network stress. For many businesses, downtime of their IT infrastructure means a significant loss of revenue, brand image, and many other negative outcomes. Thus, load testing attempts to measure breaking points.

Put simply, load generators send requests and check whether the system can handle ordinary loads. Stress is incrementally increased until response times slow down significantly or the system fails to respond entirely.

Effective load testing relies on sending requests from many different locations in order to see specific weak points. Response time might slow down for specific locations only, showing where improvements have to be made to mitigate any possible risk of system failure.

Proxies for load testing

Thus, residential proxies become an irreplaceable tool for any load testing endeavor. With a large residential proxy pool, accurately simulating varied internet traffic is possible. A large pool is necessary in order to be able to send requests from numerous locations to accurately test weak points.

Data breach protection

Data breaches are becoming an increasingly large issue. Leaked databases with usernames, passwords, emails, and other data are available to any malicious entity looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users. While data breaches themselves are likely to be unavoidable, cybersecurity companies can minimize the damage by keeping track of all leaks and informing interested parties whenever they happen.

Data breach protection once again relies on building a web crawler that can consistently monitor websites that share database leaks. These leaks are often shared in various file formats, therefore the crawler must also be a parser as it will be necessary to match information stored with internal databases.

Proxies for data breach protection

As with any web crawling or scraping activity, proxies are of vital importance. Whenever a large amount of requests needs to be sent to one or a variety of sources, the risk of getting blocked nears 100%. Incurring a block from any website and losing access is not an option. Proxies come to the rescue as they allow sending requests from a variety of IP addresses, allowing crawlers to retain access to critical data. 

In most cases, datacenter proxies are sufficient as most websites and forums where databases are leaked do not have any geo-location restrictions. While speed may not be of key importance in data breach protection, datacenter proxies are significantly cheaper than residential IPs, making them more suitable for scraping at scale. Residential proxies may have their use only in rare cases where content is geo-restricted.

Anti-piracy

Anti-piracy may be understood as a subset of intellectual property protection that is performed by applying a slightly different approach. Primarily, content sharing and streaming sources are targeted instead of ecommerce platforms. A well-known peer-to-peer content sharing source are torrents where users can download copyrighted material without going through the requisite legal channels.

Peer-to-peer connections are slightly different from regular HTTP protocols. When downloading or uploading content through peer-to-peer, the source and destination IPs are always visible. HTTP proxies do not provide anonymity in this case.

Proxies for anti-piracy measures

Anti-piracy tools scour the internet for possible copyright infringement and illicit content sharing. Once again, data is collected about the content being shared on platforms and through peer-to-peer connections. Yet, HTTP proxies here are of no use as they reveal the real IP addresses and are too slow for the traffic-intensive scraping performed.

SOCKS5 proxies are the best supplement to an anti-piracy crawler. These proxies provide unmatched speeds and do not use regular HTTP protocols. Thus, whenever SOCKS5 proxies are employed to scan content sharing and streaming services, IP addresses are not revealed. When combined with their unmatched speed, they become the perfect fit for any cybersecurity company looking to protect businesses from piracy.

Conclusion

Proxies for Cybersecurity Solutions

Protecting businesses from malicious entities, be it those trying to steal data or those who abuse the achievements of corporations for their own gain, is a complex process. Creating the correct tools and finding the best solutions for each use case can be a headache.

With proxies being used in nearly every case, understanding the best picks and combinations for each means saving money, time, and resources. Want to find out how to pick the best possible combination of proxies for your use case? Click here to book a call with our sales team!

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About Adomas Sulcas

Adomas Sulcas is a Content Manager at Oxylabs. Having grown up in a tech-minded household, he quickly developed an interest in everything IT and Internet related. When he is not nerding out online or immersed in reading, you will find him on an adventure or coming up with wicked business ideas.

All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.

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