The main of writing this blog is to explain the role, features and use cases of internet search engine in OSINT.
Let’s start understanding all the game of internet search engines with Netlas.io, the most affordable and worth the price product. I know Shodan is much more popular and have many additional benefits, resources, etc. but since Netlas offers free subscription so i will be using that so you can also put this into practice with their free subscription. Additionally, for OSINT, it has many advantages over Shodan which is not even affordable for most of the people.
Note — These are IoT search engines to be specific, but most people call them internet search engines in general, so i have also used that word.
What are Internet Search Engines ?
A type of search engines which indexes IoT devices and gives information about them when queried correctly.
Think of these like intelligence apps that gives you information about IP addresses, domain names, websites, IoT devices, and other online assets.
Here, you can give input as IP address, domain name, website name, provider details, hash and many more. Also, it gives you the feasibility to filter out the results via google dorks and most of them also supports API and integration with some of the most popular tools and platforms.
These search engines are extremely helpful when we are investigating about a websites, or when we have a IP address as lead. But that’s not limited to this, it can also be used in dark web OSINT. Its use cases vary as per your thinking ability.
Some of the most popular internet search engines are as following -
Their are many other too in the market, i have just listed the popular ones.
Now, let’s dive into this with Netlas.io.
What is Netlas.io?
A Internet Search Engine which gives you the capability to discover, research and monitor any assets available online, ranging from IoT cameras to cloud servers which runs enterprises networks.
How does it work?
Since, it is also a search engine so just like the basic working of search engines, it keeps crawling the internet for new devices and updating and entering new information about the existing ones. It scans every IP4 addresses and scans all websites and webapps via its non intrunsive web scanners which uses protocol such as HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, POP3, IMAP, etc. As the indexing is done, now all the data has been stored in their database. So, if anyone search anything in their search engine via website, API or any other way, it will search for the data in their database and display the results if exists in their database.
Features of Netlas.io?
- Easy Data Mining -
It makes data mining as it uses three main sources of information which are whois records, SSL certificates, DNS records. You can either use their web version, chrome extension or integrating with other software.
- Supports Complex Search Queries -
It supports complex search queries which can help you in filtering out required results by combining multiple search queries in one. Think of it like first filtering out data by a keyword and then by protocol.
- Allows Querying with Protocol Fields -
It allows querying by applying protocol field as a filter. You can customize your search as per your need and you will get more accurate search results.
- Global Database -
It has database of globally connected devices. It also identifies additional vulnerabilities by matching product versions with US’s National Vulnerability Database.
Now, what’s the most interesting thing is their free subscription which gives you the full feasibility to test their product. You can use that for learning about the usage of Internet Search Engine and then think of which internet search engine is best suited for your needs and which is affordable to you.
Note — I personally like Netlas and feels its more useful than Shodan because of its free subscription which doesn’t have much limitations like Shodan and other search engines. The other reason is their chrome extension, you can read about the capabilities and usage of their chrome extension in below blog.
So, that’s it for this blog. Hope you guys like it. In the next blog, we will be deep diving into practical use of it in OSINT.
If i missed something, let me know, so we can cover that topic or point in upcoming blogs.