Scraping has been around since the start of the internet, but it’s grown dramatically in scale and sophistication. Today, the scraping we hear most about is unauthorized scraping, which uses code and automated collection methods to make (up to) thousands of queries per second and evade technical blocks in order to take data without permission. Scraped data can be gathered from multiple sites, combed, and sold in large batches, to be used for phishing and other campaigns designed to trick you into sharing private information.

To be clear, scraping isn’t always bad. Search engines are expressly authorized to scrape in order to collect and index information throughout the internet. When people search and find links with snippets of information, that kind of scraping ultimately benefits both the websites and the users of search services. What makes it nefarious is when it’s done without permission.