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Data scraping

Data scraping

(also web scraping)

Data scraping definition

Data scraping imports data from websites to files and spreadsheets, and it also extracts data from the web that the scraping operator utilizes or reuses on other websites. As a result, data scraping has a considerable role in personalization, business intelligence, market research, and web design. Due to this, hackers often misuse data scraping to send scam emails and for other malicious purposes. They can utilize this process to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and expose it. So depending on its application, data scraping may be legal and incredibly beneficial or illegal and harmful.

See also: spear phishing, data corruption

Data scraping misusage

  • Password cracking attacks. Hackers often guess users’ credentials, such as usernames and passwords, by compromising authentication protocols. Data scraping makes it easier for them to gain access to an organization’s employees and threaten their sensitive information.
  • Phishing attacks. Data scraping helps cybercriminals to improve their phishing attacks. Because they have access to a lot of the organization’s data, they can target any of the employees, monitor them, learn their preferences, and send them personalized spear phishing attacks. This process leads to users disclosing their sensitive data by clicking on a link that attracts them.

Preventing data scraping attacks

  • Utilize web application firewalls that prevent attacks by notifying users of potential security threats.
  • Employ API security, which guarantees the API endpoints are safe when published, safeguarding users’ apps from hacker attacks.
  • Set up website access controls to prevent unauthorized data scraping attempts by using authentication and authorization mechanisms to control access to your website’s sensitive data.
  • Implement CAPTCHA to help you distinguish between human users and bots, thereby preventing automated data scraping attempts.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security