A search engine that’s better than Google! you must be thinking that’s not happening. Well then, meet Shodan, the backdoor to the internet. Shodan is the specialized search engine for the Internet of Things (IoT) and everything else that Google cannot search.
What Shodan does?
The search engine crawlers browse the web and when it finds a device, it collect metadata about the device. Unlike Google, crawls the internet looking for websites, Shodan navigates the Internet’s back channels.
It keeps looking for the servers, printers, routers, webcams, and all the other stuff that is connected to and makes up the Internet. The basic thing is Shodan searches for devices those have a web interface. Shodan is also called “dark” Google, ‘scariest search engine ever‘ and ‘hacker’s search engine’ at the same time.
How did Shadon evolve?
From 2003, it’s been quite a glorious journey for Shodan. The search engine’s architecture is becoming larger and more complex. Today, John Matherly‘s Shodan, has crawlers located all around the world identifying more than 500 devices every second and looking for nearly 300 different services.
Right now, more than 1000 universities and 56% of Fortune 100 companies are using this ‘dark Google’. Professionals like researchers, security experts, large enterprises, CERTs and everybody in between are getting benefited with valuable data using this.
How to use Shodan?
Shodan does not allow you to fetch all data free of cost. If you search about ‘camera’, it will display 323,647 results. However, you can access to only 10 of them and after that you need to login.
Here, you can see, its results are not like Google. The result can be in the form of
1. IP address
2. Website name
3. Type of device
5. Date the device was added
6. Owner name
Interesting right? Next, when you click on the first IP address on the list of the devices, it shows a more detailed map of where a device is located, when it was last updated, what organization owns it, and its ASN (Autonomous System Number) and more.
When you click the ‘Explore’ button on the top, you will be directed to the recently and trending devices. Now, the newly featured items include Pokemon GO as well. Here also you will be able to locate the device information with IP addresses.
The dark part:
While Shadon is an intelligent and futuristic search engine, it’s also a dangerous weapon when in wrong hands. With this, any unsecured IoT device can be hacked. A quick scan can reveal public cameras installed in places ranging from Japan to car parks in France, private lounges in India to rabbit cages in Germany. It’s better to handle with care.
Wrapping it up:
Shadon might have some dark sides, however, that does not make it less smarter than Google. In-fact, if we consider it as a tool for IoT research, it’s out of Google’s capacity to compete. It plays with the other parts of Web excluding websites and that’s what makes it better than Google.