Spidering is the process where hackers familiarize themselves with their targets in order to obtain credentials based on their activity. This process is very similar to the methods used in phishing and social engineering attacks, but requires much more work on the part of the hacker, although it usually turns out to be more successful as a result.
How a hacker can use spidering will depend on the target. For example, if the target is a large company, hackers might try to obtain internal documentation such as beginner’s guides to gain an understanding of the types of platforms and security that the target uses. It is in them that you will often find instructions on accessing certain services or notes on using office Wi-Fi.
Companies often use passwords that are somehow related to their business or branding – mainly because it makes them easier for employees to remember. Hackers can take advantage of this by examining the products the business creates to compile a list of possible phrases that can be used to support a brute force attack. As with many of the other techniques on this list, the spider web process is usually supported by automation.
Spidering Attack Examples
Here are some of the examples of Spidering Attacks.
- Web Scraping For Personal Gain
- Attackers can use spider tools to crawl e-commerce websites and extract product data, pricing information, or customer information. This stolen data can be used to gain a competitive advantage, manipulate prices, or steal personal data.
- Credential Harvesting
- By viewing website login pages, attackers may attempt to obtain user credentials through brute force or phishing techniques. This could lead to unauthorized access to user accounts, theft of sensitive information, or even complete takeover of compromised accounts.
- Content Plagiarism
- Spidering tools can be used to copy and duplicate website content or blog posts without attribution or permission. Attackers can clone original content and publish it on different websites to generate revenue through ad impressions, damaging the reputation and potential income of the original content creator.
- Website Mapping And Reconnaissance
- Spider attacks can be used to create detailed maps of a target website’s structure, identifying vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors. This information can greatly help in carrying out more targeted and effective attacks, such as Sql injections or cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
- SEO Manipulation And Link Spamming
- Attackers can use spider tools to identify websites with high PageRank and extract contact information to send link spam or engage in black hat SEO practices. This can negatively impact website rankings, user perception, and even lead to penalties from search engines.
- Information Gathering For Social Engineering
- Spidering tools can be used to extract personal information such as names, email addresses or phone numbers from various websites and social media platforms. Attackers can then use this information for identity theft, spear phishing attacks, or even physical crimes.
It’s worth noting that while spider attacks may have malicious intent, web crawlers can also have legitimate uses, such as search engine indexing or website monitoring.