Article

Urlscan.io Alternatives for Mitigating the Risks of Cyber Attacks

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Dan Cucolea
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7 min read

Urlscan.io is a free online website scanner. It's used for detecting malicious links, suspicious files, and directories in case your website was attacked by a hacker.

The service detects the technologies used by the website you scan and provides basic page statistics, like the number of requests, the number of 3rd party cookies, and the domains/subdomains they are generated by.

The service is great for uncovering security issues, but it doesn't help you prevent or fix them.

In this article, I am going to share 4 Urlscan.io alternatives and the best ways to prepare your business in case you ever get hacked.

Types of hacks Urlscan can discover

Distributed Denial Of Service or DDoS attacks are among the most common types of hacks targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs). Although it may not seem that a DDoS attack is a big issue, business owners should know that it can be more destructive than expected.

Just imagine what could happen if your site went down for more than 24 hours or if it has been severely affected by an ongoing hack.

Now the good thing about DDoS attacks is that most of them are simply turning your website offline. If you are lucky enough, you can catch the attack while it's happening and take the necessary measures to mitigate its effects.

But in some cases, hacks can be way more intrusive and destructive.  Some attacks change the way your website looks and its contents without your knowledge or consent. A hacker can do this by exploiting security vulnerabilities in your website's code, which lets them access your database.

These attacks conclude with a ransom you have to pay, but some people that do it never get access to their website and files again. And that's why you have to be prepared for the worse.

Urlbox.io - Best Urlscan.io alternative to generate a static copy of your website

Urlbox is a website screenshot service that helps you generate a copy of your website by automatically capturing and storing all your webpages as HTML files.

You can configure Urlbox to screenshot your website at certain time intervals automatically. Then you can send the files to Amazon S3 for that extra layer of security. These screenshots can be exported in different file formats, such as PNG, JPEG, or PDF, but the great thing about Urlbox is that it also lets you save them as HTML files.

Keeping a copy of all your pages could be a lifesaver when the worst happens.

In case someone gets access to your database and deletes or alters its content, you will find yourself unable to restore your previous backups. Sure, you can always contract a security specialist to help you regain control of your files, but this is a time-consuming and costly process.

On the other hand, if your backups reside on an Amazon server, you can simply send them over to your developers so they can quickly implement them and get your website back up.

How Urlbox works

Urlbox is basically an API. This makes it easy to integrate into your existing application or workflow. It has extensive documentation and official client libraries for Ruby, PHP, Python, Node.JS, and many more, which makes it extremely straightforward to implement.

It comes with a plethora of different options that allow you to configure your final screenshots, like the ability to remove cookie banners, block ads, and even automatically log in before you render a page.

Urlbox also allows you to specify a User Agent before you take the screenshot, so if your website has different versions for different devices or browsers, you can be sure your files will feature an exact replica of your web pages.

Urlbox.io helps SMBs mitigate the risks of a hack

Urlbox works best for businesses and individuals looking for a scalable solution that can automatically generate HTML screenshots and store them in a secure server as a backup.

It doesn't matter if your website has tens or thousands of pages. You can use the Urlbox API to screenshot them as often as a few times per day automatically.

The Urlbox pricing plan starts at $10/month, which lets you make 1000 requests per month. If you happen to go over that limit, you're going to pay $0.01/per request (each screenshot).

The bigger the plan, the cheaper each request gets. One of the most popular options among businesses is the Advanced plan which starts at $249/month and allows you to make up to 60,000 monthly requests.

Now, of course, it all depends on how big your website actually is and how many times you want to back it up per day, so when you pick a plan, make sure to take that into consideration.

For example, say your website has 200 pages, and you want to back them up daily. This would translate into roughly 6,000 requests per month, in which case you will go with the Standard plan.

You can view the complete list of prices on the Pricing page, where you can also start a free trial.

Gtmetrix.com - Best Urlscan.io alternative to analyze a website's load

Gtmetrix lets you check how and what a website loads. Once you type in a URL and select a server, the service will start analyzing all the details of the website you are analyzing.

It shows you a breakdown of the loading speed, the total number of requests, and what generated them. Moreover, you can see a breakdown of all these requests by navigating to the Waterfall subsection of Gtmetrix.

Adding 3rd party cookies to your website can have dire consequences if the service behind them gets hacked. Ill-intended individuals can access sensitive user information from these cookies.

For example, if you use a 3rd party email marketing software, chances are it asked you to add a tracking code to your website. If the service is new and lacks certain security features, hackers can tap into it and copy the email addresses and names of your leads.

Even though this scenario doesn't happen often, it is definitely a security vulnerability, so you want to keep an eye out for malicious 3rd party URLs that might be loading snippets of code on your website.

On the other hand, hackers can tap into your server and use its resources for computational power. This would make your website really slow, greatly affecting user experience. That's another reason why you would want to run the Gtmetrix analysis for your website.

Urlvoid.com - Best Urlscan.io alternative to check a website's reputation

You'll find Urlvoid as being on the simpler side of Urlscan alternatives. This free service lets you check a website's reputation and discover if it's infected by analyzing 30+ blocklist engines and online website reputation services.

Cyber security companies and IT researchers use it to speed up the process of cyber threat analysis by identifying potentially malicious websites that have been classified as a threat by multiple trusted sources.

Urlvoid was created by the team behind Apivoid as a visual interface to their domain reputation API. So if you want to batch-test websites for potentially malicious pieces of code, be sure to give them a try.

Virustotal.com - Best Urlscan.io alternative to check files and IPs for malicious code

Last but not least on the list is Virustotal. Compared to the other alternatives, this service also lets you check files and IPs for malicious code.

All you have to do is to upload a file or type in a URL, and you'll instantly get a threat analysis report.

Virustotal uses a comprehensive list of online website reputation services to assess the risks of a potential infestation. Moreover, if you analyze a URL, it checks if there are any redirects made from it and shows you its status code, body length, and even the headers.

You can also see a breakdown of the redirection chain and a list of all the trackers present on the analyzed URL/IP.

This service also provides an API if you want to automate the analysis and scale it across a vast number of different websites.

Get yourself prepared before it’s too late

The number of hacked websites has steadily increased year over year, but the problem exploded during the pandemic when cybercrime increased by a staggering 600%.

It might be a matter of time before you fall victim to one of these attacks, so make sure you're prepared by backing up your website and keeping a static HTML copy of all your web pages somewhere safe.

Spend a few minutes today and earn hours, if not days of headaches, by backing up your pages as HTML static files with Urlbox. Start a free trial today.