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APISecurity

The Role of IP Location API in Network Management

elements of network management and security, including a GeoIP lookup API

Network management is at the heart of business success. Just one or two hours of downtime can cost you millions. And it’s not only about financial losses – network disruptions also lead to unrecoverable reputational damage. Network management refers to configuring, administering, operating and maintaining your organization’s network infrastructure, including all hardware and software solutions pertaining to network use. A crucial aspect of network management is network security. Network security involves securing your networking infrastructure from breaches, unauthorized access, theft and misuse. With network security, you ensure a safe and secure infrastructure for users, devices, and applications. 

However, as cybercriminals have adopted sophisticated technologies and invented advanced tricks, network security can be tricky and challenging. This is where an IP location API can be helpful. While you need multiple tools and technologies to secure your network, an IP location API can be one of them, providing an added layer of security that a traditional firewall may not provide. 

This article will discuss the role of an IP geolocation API in network management and security. We’ll also explore the features of a reliable IP geolocation API called ipstack, which is trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide. 

Network Security Threats and Challenges

network security

Organizations today rely heavily on networks and data to operate. Threat actors are consciously inventing new and advanced attack methods to gain access to an organization’s network, causing network disruption and misusing sensitive data. Thus, network security isn’t an option but rather a necessity. However, ensuring network security can be challenging, especially when your network is huge and complex.

Common network security threats and challenges include:

Malware

Malware is essentially a malicious software program or file designed to harm a computer, server, or network to gain unauthorized access and steal and misuse data,  such as passwords, bank accounts, etc. It is often deployed through spam or phishing emails, compromising the device. Common types of malware include Trojan viruses, worms, rootkits, ransomware and spyware.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that hackers deploy to the entire operating system or important individual files and then demand a ramson to provide access. Hackers basically encrypt crucial data of the organization through malware so that the organization cannot access the operating system, databases, files, or applications. They then demand a ransom to give access. 

Worms and Viruses

Worms and viruses are types of malware that cybercriminals use to compromise a device or an enterprise business IT infrastructure. Viruses are typically attached to downloadable files. These files are typically sent in the form of emails or deployed on websites. Once a user downloads and opens the infected file, the virus infects and compromises your devices, disrupting network traffic, stealing data, and more.

Worms are even more dangerous as they can infect your network once they enter your infrastructure. In other words, unlike viruses, worms don’t need you to open a file to infect your device/ IT infrastructure.

DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks are cyberattacks that involve sending massive internet traffic to an enterprise’s server. This prevents users from accessing the organization’s services and applications. 

Abuse of Privileged Access

Hacking into a network takes some work. Hence, many hackers prefer to exploit existing credentials. Organizations often grant high levels of access or permissions to too many users without evaluating risks, making it easier for hackers to abuse privileged access. It can be an honest mistake or accidental error from an employee, an intentional leak or misuse of account privileges.

Verifying credentials alone isn’t enough to ensure that the user requesting access is legitimate. Organizations must authenticate credentials with other crucial factors, such as IP address, geolocation, and time zones, before granting access. This is where a reliable IP geolocation API can play a crucial role. 

An IP location API provides valuable geolocation data of a user based on their IP address. An efficient IP location API, such as ipstack, also offer a domain lookup service, allowing you to determine a website’s legitimacy. Thus, you can leverage it to protect your devices and networks from websites containing viruses. Moreover, an IP geolocation API can also be effective in fighting DDoS attacks. We’ll discuss the role of geolocation data in network management and security in detail in the later section.

Understanding IP Location API

understanding an IP location API

An IP location API is essentially an application programming interface that provides valuable geolocation data based on an electronic device’s IP address. The geolocation data typically includes continent, city, country, region, and latitude and longitude coordinates. Some advanced APIs also provide time zone data, including current time, timezone, and code. 

Many people confuse IP geolocation with the actual physical location of a user. An IP address refers to a unique decimal-separated number or identifier assigned to every internet-connected electronic device. Hence, IP geolocation is essentially the location of the device someone uses to access a website, database, or application. 

When using a Geo location IP address  API for cybersecurity, accurate IP Location tracking is essential. Hackers need only one weakness or mistake across the organization to compromise your network infrastructure, steal your data and use it against you. And inaccurate IP geolocation can be that one weakness or error. 

Role of an IP Location API  in Network Management and Security

An IP Location API can prove to be a simple yet highly effective tool in an organization’s arsenal for tackling fraud and ever-increasing cyberattacks related to network infrastructure. Here’s how it can help with network management and security:

Geographical Mapping

An IP geolocation API provides accurate geographic data of a user/electronic device, including region, city, country, latitude and longitude. Network administrators can leverage this data to distribute network resources efficiently based on the location of employees/users. This resource localization helps with optimizing access and minimizing latency.

Optimizing Network Routing

IP geolocation data can help with network routing optimization. Network administrators can configure routing protocols to use the fastest path for data transmission based on the geolocation of users. This reduces latency and improves overall network performance.

Moreover, IP location data can also be used for load balancing. Organizations can distribute network traffic across various servers, ensuring even utilization and preventing overload on specific servers.

Location-based Network Access Control

Organizations can utilize an IP location API for location-based access control to strengthen network security. For instance, they can block access for devices with suspicious IP addresses or IP addresses associated with malicious activities. Moreover, they can use IP geolocation and time zone data to analyze anomalies in access patterns. If an employee accesses the system from a select few locations at specified times, sudden logins from locations during timezones that are unusual for that employee can suggest suspicious activity. Organizations can implement firewall rules to block access for such IP addresses and investigate further before granting access. This will help prevent abuse of privileged access by cybercriminals.

Threat Intelligence

An IP geolocation API can be a highly effective tool for threat intelligence. Organizations can utilize an IP-based location API to prevent and fight DDoS attacks. Powerful IP location APIs can assess security threats originating from risky IP addresses. Organizations can block such IP addresses. These APIs can also help identify IP addresses from where bad traffic is coming during a DDoS attack. You can close your network for those locations and block those IP addresses to tackle these attacks.

Avoid Visiting Malicious Websites

Some IP Location APIs, such as ipstack, also offer domain lookup services, allowing users to determine the IP address connected to a domain and retrieve valuable IP geolocation data, hosting details, timezone details, etc. You can use this data to determine a website’s legitimacy and avoid visiting malicious websites that may contain viruses. 

Fraud Prevention

IP location data can also help prevent fraud, especially those related to online transactions. Unusual attempts at transactions from unexpected locations can be investigated, preventing unauthorized financial transactions and protecting sensitive data.

Introducing Ipstack IP Geolocation API

ipstack IP location api home page

Ipstack is a leading real-time IP Location API trusted by thousands of developers, SMBs, and enterprises worldwide, including Samsung, Microsoft, Airbnb, and Hubspot. The API is known for its high accuracy, speed, consistency, scalability, ease of use, and advanced features. 

Here are the key features of the API:

Highly Accurate and Reliable Data

Ipstack is trusted by developers and organizations worldwide due to its highly accurate and consistent data. The API is backed by a strong infrastructure and rock-solid databases, which include large, reliable ISPs/Internet Service Providers.

Global Coverage

The coverage of an IP location API significantly impacts its accuracy. Ipstack provides global coverage, covering over 2 million unique locations in 200,000+ cities worldwide. Moreover, it supports both IPv4 and IPv6 data, ensuring you get highly accurate geolocation data for any IP address.

Detailed IP Geolocation Data

Ipstack provides detailed geolocation data, enabling you to make informed decisions. The data includes country, city, region, continent, zip code, and latitude and longitude coordinates. 

Domain IP Lookup

Ipstack can also be used as a domain IP lookup service. You can attach a domain name with the API’s base URL, and the API will return the IP address connected with the domain and geolocation data associated with the IP address.

Bulk Lookup

Ipstack also comes with a Bulk Lookup endpoint. You can utilize this endpoint to retrieve data of up to 50 IP addresses or domain names simultaneously. This way, you don’t have to make a separate API call for each IP address, saving time and effort.

Security Module

Ipstack offers an outstanding security module that allows you to monitor security threats and risks associated with malicious or suspicious IP addresses. It provides valuable data that you can use to protect your system. The information provided by the security module includes:

  • Whether an IP address is using a proxy
  • Type of proxy
  • Crawler detection
  • Crawler name and type
  • Tor detection

The API also shows threat level and threat type, which is crucial in preventing attacks and enhancing online security. For instance, in the API response below, “attack_source” and “attack_source_mail” threat types are detected by the API. This indicates that the IP address is in some way associated with spam via email.

ipsatck IP location API security module

Useful Additional Modules

Ipsatck also offers various other additional modules providing useful information:

  • Timezone Module: Provides timezone data associated with the location returned against the given IP address. Information includes GMT offset, current time, and code.
  • Hostname Lookup: Returns information related to the hostname and ASN of the ISP associated with an IP address.
  • Currency Module: Provides currency data associated with the location returned against the given IP address. Data includes currency name, symbol, and code.

Implementing Ipstack IP Location API

Below are the key steps to use ipstack API:

  • Sign up to create your free ipstack account.
  • Obtain your free API key, which will be available in your ipstack dashboard.
  • Make an API call. Here is how you can make an API request to get IP location:

https://api.ipstack.com/134.201.250.155
    ? access_key = YOUR_ACCESS_KEY

Below is an example PHP (cURL) code for using the Standard Lookup endpoint:

// set IP address and API access key
$ip = ‘134.201.250.155’;
$access_key = ‘YOUR_ACCESS_KEY’;

// Initialize CURL:
$ch = curl_init(‘https://api.ipstack.com/’.$ip.‘?access_key=’.$access_key.);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, true);

// Store the data:
$json = curl_exec($ch);
curl_close($ch);

// Decode JSON response:
$api_result = json_decode($json, true);

// Output the “capital” object inside “location”
echo $api_result[‘location’][‘capital’];

Here is an example API response:

{
  “ip”: “134.201.250.155”,
  “type”: “ipv4”,
  “continent_code”: “NA”,
  “continent_name”: “North America”,
  “country_code”: “US”,
  “country_name”: “United States”,
  “region_code”: “CA”,
  “region_name”: “California”,
  “city”: “Los Angeles”,
  “zip”: “90013”,
  “latitude”: 34.0453,
  “longitude”: -118.2413,
  “location”: {
    “geoname_id”: 5368361,
    “capital”: “Washington D.C.”,
    “languages”: [
        {
          “code”: “en”,
          “name”: “English”,
          “native”: “English”
        }
    ],
    “country_flag”: “https://assets.ipstack.com/images/assets/flags_svg/us.svg”,
    “country_flag_emoji”: “🇺🇸”,
    “country_flag_emoji_unicode”: “U+1F1FA U+1F1F8”,
    “calling_code”: “1”,
    “is_eu”: false
  },
  “time_zone”: {
    “id”: “America/Los_Angeles”,
    “current_time”: “2018-03-29T07:35:08-07:00”,
    “gmt_offset”: -25200,
    “code”: “PDT”,
    “is_daylight_saving”: true
  },
  “currency”: {
    “code”: “USD”,
    “name”: “US Dollar”,
    “plural”: “US dollars”,
    “symbol”: “$”,
    “symbol_native”: “$”
  },
  “connection”: {
    “asn”: 25876,
    “isp”: “Los Angeles Department of Water & Power”
  }
}

Conclusion

Efficient network management involves configuring, administering, operating and maintaining the organization’s network infrastructure. Moreover, with increasing cyberattacks, data leaks, and network security threats, ensuring network security is also essential to keep the network up and running and protect sensitive data. An IP geolocation is one of the tools for ensuring network security. It provides an additional layer of security that a firewall cannot provide. For instance, you can use an IP location API for location-based access control based on the IP address of the device trying to access the system, server, data, or application. IP geolocation also helps with threat intelligence, fraud prevention, determining the legitimacy of websites, geolocation mapping, network resource allocation, etc.

Sign up for ipstack IP Location API for free today and take your network security to the next level!

FAQs

What is IP Location API?

An IP geolocation API provides valuable geolocation data associated with the requested API address.

Is IP geolocation API free?

Ipstack real-time IP geolocation offers a free plan supporting 100 API requests per month.

How does the IP location API help prevent cyberattacks?

An IP geolocation API helps with threat intelligence, fraud prevention, location-based access control, and monitoring and securing online presence.

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