FAQ

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What is Ion?

Ion enables faster non-attributable access to online data. Ion supports web harvesting (aka web scraping, automated data collection, big data pulls, etc.) by routing your website traffic through tens of thousands of non-attributable IP addresses that are part of Ion’s vast network. The Ion network facilitates the collection of website data regardless of how deep you drill into a website. Ion does not maintain storage or logs of your traffic that passes through the network, so you can rest assured that the data you are collecting stays within your networks' perimeter.

How does Ion enable faster collection?

Other third party IP masking solutions can slow your collection efforts or even impede them. Bandwidth limitations, the number of available or working IPs, the number of routing hops, and the ability to run concurrent requests and/or connections all factor in to your large scale data collection success. One extra second between each website call when you are making millions of requests can quickly stall your efforts. Ion provides the unique ability to collect information faster by running a high volume of concurrent requests with each request coming from a different IP address. In most instances, the actual speed of the query is faster through our servers to your target site than a direct request through your ISP. We process tens of millions of requests for customers each day.

My organization routinely harvests data from the Internet to support our competitive research efforts. We use a web scraping tool, but our queries are often blocked or throttled. My web scraping software vendor told me to contact Ntrepid for help. How can Ntrepid solve this problem?

Ion can disperse web harvesting queries across thousands of anonymous IP addresses, allowing your traffic to blend in with every other website visitor. Allow Ntrepid to auto-rotate the IP address with every request or manage “deep web” queries through user-controlled IP address persistence and rotation. Whichever option you choose, simply direct your web harvesting traffic through Ion and get clean access to the data you need. Ion easily integrates with custom in-house developed scripts, as well as commercial and open source web harvesting platforms.

Who would use Ion products? Are they easy to use?

Ion is perfect for online research activities, such as competitive intelligence gathering, background checks, market analysis, M&A due diligence, malicious content detection and product planning. Ion products have also been used by investigators of all kinds, from corporate legal departments investigating fraud and intellectual property infringement to federal law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations. Ntrepid products were designed for easy browser implementation or automated collection tool integration. Ion web harvesting solutions easily integrate with most commercial and source web scraping software, dispersing queries across thousands of anonymous IP addresses to prevent blocking and throttling.

How is Ion different from Tor?

If you use Tor, your traffic makes several hops (around the globe) before egressing, limiting your throughput to match the weakest link in the chain. This makes requests notoriously slow and not conducive to automated pulls of large amounts of online data. All Ion infrastructure is controlled and administered by Ntrepid providing a respected, well-run, safe system for protecting your online privacy. With Tor, you have no visibility to who is operating the exit point of your traffic. It is publicly known that nefarious exit node operators have used Tor to steal intellectual property, usernames and passwords, establish and control bot networks, as well as hack and deface websites. Furthermore, websites commonly block requests originating from a Tor node (How do they know it’s a Tor node? It’s easy since the IP addresses of Tor nodes can be obtained using a simple query to Tor’s own directory servers). Five percent of all Tor routers transport half of all traffic, giving those operators disproportionate access to your data.

I don’t understand why online privacy is such an issue. I’m not doing anything illegal.

Your corporate or organizational IP address is like a digital fingerprint. You leave this information on every website you visit during your online activities. Your IP address, browser fingerprint, and other digital attributes not only expose your corporate identity, but also your browsing patterns, company’s intentions, and even your company’s intellectual property. Ultimately this information can be used to block your access to critical information or even redirect you to false or misleading information. Online privacy invasion can result in serious monetary loss or reputation damage and can severely impair your ability to access the essential data you need to make critical business decisions. Online privacy is important for any business or government agency.

Does Ntrepid provide other solutions for desktop users?

Yes. In addition to our web harvesting anonymity capabilities, we also provide anonymity and security solutions for your employees’ desktop browsing use, including Passages and NFusion, which can be found under their respective Products links on our homepage or in the Products tab above. Others range from custom solutions to off-the-shelf products that provide all ports/protocol protection, encryption of your web traffic, and full user management of IP persistence and rotation. Download our custom IP rotation solutions sheet.

There are other products that hide IP addresses or claim to provide online privacy. What makes Ntrepid’s solutions different?

The majority of other IP address masking solutions are very basic, giving you little to no control over the IP address or the egress point. They also have little or no experience providing solutions tailored to specifically meet the needs of a business. With Ntrepid products, the IP address can be randomly selected, sequentially selected, individually assigned, or selectively chosen through a user-friendly graphical interface. Our admin interface lets you manage how your users will egress and we have tens of thousands of non-attributable addresses to protect your online identity. Additionally, Ntrepid solutions mask many other identifying characteristics of users and machines, not just IP addresses. For example, Ntrepid can mask your operating system, time zone, email address, user name, browser version, cookies, language preferences, character set preferences, chat account name, and many more attributes. It’s a complete online privacy solution and is, in fact, the only system under a patent. Ntrepid’s invention was awarded US patent numbers 8,375,434 and 8,332,626 and Australian patent no. 2005321876.

When should I mask my IP address?

Whenever anonymity is necessary, Ion’s attribution control solution is the answer. Below are a few specific examples of where IP address control is useful.

Competitive Intelligence

Competitive information collection typically starts with the information found on company websites. Because scraping a site to automatically gather data is a common practice, most businesses will block a harvester whenever it recognizes a competitor’s IP address. Ion’s IP attribution control solutions mask company affiliation and help avoid the scrutiny that occurs when hundreds of queries are sent through a single IP address.

Investment Intelligence

Privacy is essential for investment and corporate due diligence. A leak can trigger speculative trading, drive up share prices, and create employee uncertainty. Yet, investment research routinely involves interaction with target websites which track and monitor visitors. When you use Ion’s attribution control solutions, the IP address stored in website logs and databases is not attributable to you.

Criminal or Fraud Investigation

Investigating suspicious activity without being misdirected to “innocent” content requires an anonymous, non-attributable IP address. Ntrepid products help you “blend in” to discreetly investigate and gather evidence needed when investigating counterfeit product sites, phishing schemes, intellectual property infringement concerns, or verifying potentially malicious content.

Keyword Ranking Verification

Search engines can limit the number of search results returned and/or provide you with inaccurate results based on the geolocation of your IP address. Ion provides SEO companies and other organizations performing keyword searches with timely and accurate results, something that is usually impossible from a single or few IP addresses due to search engine limitations through throttling and blocking. 

Pricing Research

Not staying on top of rapid price fluctuations within the market can prove detrimental to an organization’s ability to remain competitive. An anonymous IP is often the key to gaining unbiased price information. Anonymity allows you to look like a prospective customer rather than a competitor.