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What is data scraping?

Data scraping is defined as a technique in which a computer program extracts a set of data with the help of output generated from another program. The technique is commonly manifested in web scraping.

What is data scraping

Web scraping

Web scraping is defined as the process of extracting some useful and valuable information from a website.

Reasons for scraping a website data

A company doesn't want the copyrighted content to be reused and misused by others. So all the company's data is shared in a secured manner using APIs such that any resource cannot be consumed.

While on the other hand, there come scraper bots that attempt to steal website data despite having limited access. Thus there goes a rat and mouse battle between the bots and content protection tools and strategies.

Implementation of web scraping can be done via the following process -

  • A small piece of code is used to get information from the website called a scraper bot. The bot sends an HTTP to get a request from the website.
  • When we get a response from the website, the scraper parses the HTML document for a specific data pattern.
  • After parsing, the bot converts the data into whatever formats the programmer has designed the bot.

Scraper bots can be used for the following purposes-

  • Price scraping - Prices are often used to compare between the markets when it comes to competition. If it can be done to engage more audience and publish new techniques to increase revenue.
  • Contact scraping - Sometimes, you might have seen promotional emails, whatsapp promotions, etc. All these become part of contact scraping. Scrapers steal our data from websites like e-commerce, etc. websites like e-commerce, and use our data to promote their brand and products.
  • Content scraping - Content scraping can be more dangerous because the entire content can be copied and pasted with the original characteristics and reviews. For example, if a website builds any products for some reputed organizations and if they leave any review. It can be stolen and used for their website, which is a fraudulent act and misleading.

How is data scraping mitigated?

Several efforts can be made to minimize the attempt of bots to be limited. The visitor will be able to see the attempts by the bot. The following ways to minimize the data scraping are following -

  • Decrease the limit - This way allows users to prevent scraping so that a user or a scraper gets limited chances to perform some operation on the website. For example, we can limit searches per second from a particular IP address. This will make scraping ineffective. Also we can use a ReCaptcha entry if any task is completed faster than a real-world user speed.
  • Detect any theft activity - There can be many theft activities such as searching for a number of pages on the website, many similar requests from the same IP address, an unusual number of searches, etc. This can be prevented by asking the captcha for subsequent requests.
  • Miscellaneous indicators - Some other indicators use how fast a user fills a form. We can use javascript to identify the users, their HTTP headers, orders, etc. For example, if we get the same request from the user often, the button clicked on the form is in the same place, screen sizes are the same, probably it is a scraper bot.

After seeing all these facts, the captcha does its work and limits the scraper.

How can web scraping be stopped completely?

The only way we can stop web scraping is by not allowing us to put the content on the website entirely. However, using an advanced bot management solution can help websites eliminate access for scraper bots almost completely.






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