Website Scraping

How to Prevent Scraping Attacks

May 28, 20204 min Read

prevent scraping attacks

Web scraping is a type of fraud attack where bots are deployed to capture large volumes of data from websites and applications to be used for malicious purposes. This could include the unauthorized re-selling of the data to a third party, using it to gain a competitive business advantage, to conduct targeted phishing attacks, and more. 

We live in a world where data is the new currency. A lot of this data is sensitive, which includes consumers’ personally identifiable information and crown jewel business data of the companies. All of this sensitive data needs protection from web scraping attacks. When businesses do not know how to stop scraping, fraudsters can exploit it to cause colossal financial and reputational losses to businesses. 

Digital businesses harvest a lot of consumer data, whether at the time of signing up for a service, shopping online, or online support. They use all of this data to finetune their go-to-market strategies and personalize customer services. Businesses analyze data to gain invaluable insights into consumer behavior, which helps them upsell their products and services. Since data enables businesses to boost their growth and revenues, it can be rightly called the lifeblood of today’s digital businesses. 

Bots are used to scrape data at scale

Fraudsters, too, need data for monetization opportunities and to improvise their scam techniques. Scraping provides them with an easy method to harvest data off of websites and applications. There are numerous free tools available on the internet that make data scraping easy.

Over the years, scraping techniques have evolved and bot-driven scraping has risen. This is because scraping is a high-volume, low-monetization attack weapon, and using bots enables the extraction of large volumes of data rather quickly. Apart from bots, fraudsters also use custom-coded scripts and sweatshops to scrape data at scale. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses know how to stop scraping attacks so they can protect their data.

How to stop scraping and prevent damages to your business

Fraudsters can disseminate the stolen data for free or monetize it quickly--either way, causing damage to businesses. They sell the stolen databases on the dark web or to third parties. They also use the data themselves to commit fraud including account takeover, fake new account registrations, and spam. Worse, fraudsters can sell off the scraped pricing details of a business to a competitor, which can jeopardize the business strategy.

Fraudsters can disrupt business operations through denial of inventory. They can tarnish the reputation of a business by way of fake reviews. All of these malicious activities cost legitimate businesses millions of dollars apart from endangering the digital identities of the consumers by exposing them to a greater risk of abuse.

Further, directives such as the GDPR mandate digital businesses to protect consumer data. Failure to comply, just because businesses do not know how to stop scraping attacks, can increase the risk of non-compliance and attract penalties. Consumer trust can get shaken which increases the risk of customer churn.

How to prevent scraping attacks

When businesses do not know how to prevent scraping attacks, they run a greater risk of data exposure. To safeguard their business interests and customers, businesses must remain vigilant against scraping attempts. However, standard bot-mitigation tools may not prove adequate when it comes to dealing with complex scraping attacks. This is because fraudsters today use a combination of bots and sweatshops for their attacks. 

A long-term approach to stop scraping, which makes the attack so expensive and lengthy that fraudsters lose the incentive and abandon the attack, is the need of the hour. Arkose Labs uses a unified, bilateral approach that accurately distinguishes between bots and malicious humans. This helps stop scraping attacks that use bots, sweatshops, or a combination thereof. 

To learn how Arkose Labs helps digital businesses stop scraping attacks and prevent scraping attempts from achieving scale, click here.

To download our new solution brief "Scraping: Stop Malicious Web Scraping", click here.