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December 17, 2018

IP Netblocks Data: Linking Virtual and Physical

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Quintillion bytes of data were generated today, and there’s no sign of that slowing down any time soon. Whether we’re uploading files to a server or posting a tweet, we all contribute to the incredible amount of information available on the Web.

But the growth of the Internet brings with it both positivity and negativity. Readily available knowledge makes it very easy for people to learn online. On the other hand, such vastness can make it difficult to link virtual entities to their physical counterparts and fuel the rise of computer-oriented crime.

One interesting and somewhat unexpected way for both businesses and officials to counteract cyber-attacks and have a better understanding of who they are dealing with online is digging deep into IP netblocks details. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at this approach.

What Are IP Netblocks? 

An IP is an address expressed in numbers which identifies individuals or organizations connected to the Internet. These IP addresses are assigned to ‘blocks’ of different sizes that represent the networks they belong to. Thus, when we say IP netblocks, it basically means the IP ranges which certain IP addresses are part of.

IP netblocks data can be obtained from databases that keep track of registered IP ranges together with detailed information on each of them — e.g., subnetwork names, last updates, admin and tech contacts, country codes, instances of abuse, etc.

Applications of Netblocks Data

With access to IP netblocks data points, it is possible to look into specific entities and discover unique information that would otherwise be unavailable. Here are some of the notable use cases:

Conducting investigation

If a malicious IP address is known, users can look into the IP netblocks details, check its IP range, and detect other IPs that are connected to it. It also allows investigators to know which ISP an address belongs to and reach out to them instead if not possible to identify the entity that owns the IP.

Looking into traffic

Gathering IPs from the log of your Web server and adding the IP netblocks details will give you a set of information from which you can deduce the dynamics and structure of your website’s traffic. Important marketing implications include understanding from which networks you are most frequently being visited so you can adjust working practices accordingly.

Expanding networks

High-potential businesses are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow. Extending their existing network is a necessary step of the process, and this can be done by obtaining additional IPs. Access to netblocks’ data lets users identify neighboring addresses, locate those they would like to purchase, and, where relevant, learn about the previous owners and their activities.

Managing research

Who owns the web exactly? What are the online trends in a specific industry or region? Netblocks information brings some answers to these questions and lets you conduct research based on the structure and dynamics of given IP ranges — i.e., ownership details, number of addresses allocated to different ISPs and companies, etc.

Monitoring competitive stakeholders 

Competition is a word that goes hand in hand with business, so it’s only reasonable to keep an eye out on competitors. Users can integrate insights from IP netblocks data directly into their existing systems and anticipate competitive moves. For instance, by learning how many netblocks a company has purchased, where they are established, and who their ISPs are, it’s possible to estimate the scale of operations.

There are many practical applications for IP netblocks data and figuring who owns the web. Whether it is for research, expansion, competition monitoring, or cybersecurity, individuals and organizations need to understand who owns the bits of the web.


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Jonathan Zhang is the founder and CEO of Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) — a data, tool, and API provider that specializes in automated threat detection, security analysis and threat intelligence solutions for Fortune 1000 and cyber-security companies. TIP is part of the Whois API Inc. family which is a trusted intelligence vendor by over 50,000 clients.

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