In a time of increased illegal activity in digital spaces, cyber perpetrators often remain one step ahead by skillfully concealing their digital footprint. This has made organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks that can derail operations on a massive scale and pose threats to sensitive data.
One of the most effective tools for threat intelligence and cybersecurity is IP geolocation data, which helps map the physical location of a device or user. By providing accurate information on an attacker’s whereabouts, IP geolocation helps organizations identify culprits, understand threats, and curb attacks.
How do organizations access such data?
To help you understand how IP geolocation can protect organizations from cyber attacks, we will consider three uses of IP geolocation in threat intelligence and cybersecurity.
Improving Email Security Against Phishing
Phishing is a form of identity theft that aims to steal user data such as login credentials and credit card information. It occurs when an attacker, disguised as a trusted source, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant or text message.
Consider an employee who receives a welcome email that appears to be from Salesforce onboarding. The email includes a “Learn More” link, which the employee clicks to be redirected to an unknown website. The employee has just unwillingly installed a keylogger which grants access to server information – or has fallen victim to phishing.
Companies can minimize this type of risk if they integrate IP Geolocation APIs into their email security solutions. If an employee, in this case, receives an email that appears to be from Salesforce, the API will automatically run the IP address to check if it truly belongs to Salesforce. If this is not the case, the security team will be alerted of the breach.
Further investigation into the collected IP address can also reveal if the IP address is associated with previous reports of abusive activity. Additionally, the organization can use the IP Geolocation Database to check which IP addresses are used by Salesforce and add these to their list.
Minimizing Financial Fraud
Cyber attacks can lead to stolen credit card and bank information, which can end up on the Dark web or otherwise be used first-hand for purchases. If organizations and card companies employ IP geolocation tools, they can prevent fraudulent transactions from taking place.
IP geolocation APIs can inform a credit card company if a transaction was made from an IP address that doesn’t correspond with the location of the card owner. The company’s anti-fraud solutions would then notify the merchant of the suspicious activity, and the transaction would be declined. Another option is for the credit card owner to be notified of the transaction so they can confirm or deny its validity.
The same can apply for company transactions, which can be protected against fraud if the company itself verifies the origins or works with a credit card company that will check this for them.
Identifying Threats Through User Screening
Since networks are prone to cyber attacks that can go unnoticed until alerts of data leakage surface, IP geolocation lookups can help detect unwanted traffic flowing in and out of a network both before and after an attack.
Security teams can begin by looking at an organization’s network logs to identify the IP addresses that have accessed the network. If they come across suspicious IP addresses that don’t coincide with those of the organization’s users, they can identify third-party entries and investigate the breach.
Running the IP address through the API can reveal the location of the IP address, which the security team can assess and identify as a potential threat. Malicious IP addresses can be added to the blacklist and blocked to prevent future breaches. However, before blocking an IP address, it is best to check it against the IP Geolocation database to ensure it is not a valuable domain.
Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated and can have damaging effects on organizations by jeopardizing entire operations and taking long periods to untangle. That is why companies must have a proactive defense to safeguard their operations, employees, and customers from such threats.
IP Geolocation APIs and Databases can significantly help strengthen security systems by identifying malicious IP addresses and locating perpetrators. Some of their common uses include improving email security against phishing, minimizing financial fraud, and identifying threats through user screening.