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Proxy-powered cyber

With just one click, our smart devices allow us to fulfil all daily food, education, and entertainment needs. No surprise that the desire for an easy, safe, and comfortable life is what continually drives most of our technological advancements, says Andrius Palionis, VP Enterprise at proxies and data scraping company Oxylabs.

Ironically, when cyber security measures cannot catch up with evolving innovation, it creates more trouble than convenience. Companies worldwide have witnessed these inconveniences, dealing with the damages of the shapeless online threats to their brands, reputation, and business processes.

Cyber crimes have become so prevalent and sophisticated that they were ranked amongst the top four global risks by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risk Report 2019. This means that the technological risks, such as large-scale cyber-attacks, massive data frauds, and breakdowns of critical information infrastructures together with environmental catastrophes, are more prominent than social, geopolitical, or even economic issues.

The complex nature of cyber crimes requires all the reinforcements the web can offer. The support that the proxy industry can provide to cybersecurity has not been overlooked, in fact, the companies which undertake the role of protecting computer systems and networks compose nearly one-fifth of the client base here at Oxylabs, as the 2020 Trend Report reveals.

What is more, the overall industry trends reveal that cybersecurity reliance on proxy services peaked during the Covid-19 crisis, especially in the most heated months from March to May 2020. This was impacted by the increase of malicious domains, ransomware attacks, and malware during this destabilising period, as Interpol reported.

To ensure the highest protection standards for a company, it is useful to examine how security experts leverage proxies against various online threats.

Virus, botnet research

To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy. The same rule applies to cyber warfare. Cybersecurity companies are employing proxies to obtain capabilities to fully understand how viruses operate. The proxy-powered crawling infrastructure allows analysing the logic behind the virus system by following and examining the online trace of potentially malicious links, which can lead to harmful sites.

These webpages pose risks of cyberattacks and thefts of sensitive personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers through phishing, malware distribution, brand impersonation, and traffic diversion. Having the online reach provided by proxies can help find, recognise, and block those malicious sites.

To add, proxies can also be used to research botnets. This is done by installing a piece of malicious code on a virtual sandbox and then letting the code execute, which in turn connects the machine to the C&C (command and control) module. By using proxies, researchers can pretend to be just naive internet users, at the same time tracking and analysing aspects of bot controller communication.

Brand protection

Every year brands lose hundreds of billions of dollars due to counterfeiting. What is worse, this trend doesn’t seem to go anywhere, according to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report.

The most affected are the fashion, beauty, and pharmaceutical industries operating in the US and European markets. Major companies face the grim reality of seeing their carefully curated stamps across inferior quality products circulating on the widely accessible e-commerce sites.

Constant brand vigilance is essential to manage these damages. One of the prominent techniques to protect brands and diminish financial losses is to track down fake items online as quickly as they appear and take them down.

Proxies can provide the needed resources to scrape the sites, which are most likely to showcase counterfeit consumer goods. The usual suspects are e-commerce websites, marketplaces, and auction sites. Effectively identifying fake production online empowers companies to be proactive in protecting their brand and hard-fought market share.

Email security

By the time you finish reading this sentence, there will be 12 million emails sent. Most of them are harmless taking the shape of annoying spam, yet some carry more danger. Common threats that accompany emails are malicious URLs or malware attachments. Engaging with such emails can open an entire pandora box of troubles. For example, opening an infected link can automatically download malware to computers and smartphones or lead to phishing sites designed to steal users’ personal information.

In this case, proxies can be employed to scan all the inbound emails and test them for potential harmful links or attachments. If the protective system identifies harmful email content, it is blocked before reaching the recipient. To this day, it is one of the most risk-free email protection solutions.

Thirty billion dollars is a respectable sum of money. That is the GDP of Estonia. That is also the amount that the US economy loses to online piracy each year. Every illegally downloaded film, audio file, game, or e-book adds up to these damages to the economy and creative industries. Currently, the short end of the stick goes to online streaming, which makes up more than 80pc of piracy activities.

Using the right proxy services can aid in building a piracy-free online landscape. Most often, proxies are used to monitor and verify the streaming content online for copyright infringement. Proxy-powered systems are enabled to find illegal material more effectively, and in the long run, prevent it from further distribution.

The online space’s current situation reminds me of a never-ending cat and mouse game between cyberbullies and online security specialists. One side continually strives to outdo another, coming up with more innovative and complex ways to predict the opponent’s patterns and behaviours.

In this environment, only the forward-thinking companies strategising the next three steps ahead can expect to thrive. For this reason, it is essential to follow the time tested prevention models and determine the likelihood of future attacks against your business. This information can set up the most effective and innovative strategies to outsmart the next cyber attacker.

The most exciting part about the cybersecurity field’s developments is that the full protective potential has not been harnessed yet. Observing the world’s leading companies specialising in safe internet, it is evident that the use of proxies is not going anywhere, given their wide range of protective uses.

The global research community is also focusing on AI technologies, which are often fuelled by the data obtained supported by proxies. All of these signs strongly indicate a proxy-powered cybersecurity future.



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