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Digital Element: View from the Top 2022

Circumvention prevention requires a cybersecurity posture

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, consumers everywhere signed up for a VPN service in order to access content that was otherwise off limits to them. The spike in people working from home also contributed to the growth in VPN usage. Today, 31% of the world’s internet users rely on a VPN to surf the web and access apps anonymously. That’s about 1.6 billion people. That pool of users is an irresistible draw for people who want to cash in on the trend for nefarious purposes, as it offers plenty of opportunities to find a weakness to exploit. 

Today there are thousands of VPN services, some of which are for securing an organization (e.g. Zero-Trust Gateways), while others focus on privacy (e.g. Google VPN). Some let users select their exit destinations to circumvent geographical restrictions (e.g. NordVPN). Some offer features, such as no logging and anonymous payment, that make it easy for malicious actors to cover their tracks. This gives them the freedom to commit crimes, such as scraping, scanning and testing passwords in order to breach security systems.

The FBI has warned that cyber criminals are exploiting home VPN usage to break into corporate systems. Meanwhile, streaming companies have seen VPN users circumvent their geographical rights management and digital rights restrictions. According to data from MUSO, piracy is expected to skyrocket.

Not surprisingly, security and compliance teams feel a tremendous urgency to gain context into the various VPN providers and users. Traffic sources need to be evaluated from a security standpoint to determine which are safe, potentially suspect, or outright malicious. To make those distinctions—and to prevent content piracy—they need context and insight. VPN intelligence data, therefore, is essential.

Recently, Digital Element launched Nodify, a threat intelligence solution that helps security professionals respond to the growth in the VPN market, and the threats these services can pose. Nodify builds on Digital Element’s expertise in IP address intelligence data, and continues our commitment to innovation and helping our customers remain ahead of an ever-evolving threat landscape. 

Nodify data helps corporate security teams assess VPN traffic by delivering contextual insight around an IP address, including:

  • VPN classification (masked, public or private)

  • Provider’s name and URL

  • Whether or not the VPN logs user activity

  • IP addresses related to a provider

  • Languages of target market

  • Traffic type (commercial or residential)

  • Geolocation

These data points help teams identify proxies used by fraudsters, as well as distinguish between risky and benign VPNs.

This insight allows streaming media companies to protect revenue by determining which connections pose risks, and prevent bad actors from circumvention activities by identifying anonymized connections, or connections from certain geographies. Nodify also helps corporate security professionals protect against corporate espionage by ensuring inbound and outbound connections are not from a VPN, proxy, or darknet.

If you would like to learn about our IP address intelligence and proxy detection data for cybersecurity, compliance, and geographic rights management, please contact us at the link below.



Digital Element

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