Distil Networks Takes Aim at Bot Scraping

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2016-09-01 Print this article Print

[VIDEO] Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO of Distil Networks, discusses where his company came from and where it is headed.

Every day, good and bad bots traverse the internet looking for content and access to web resources. After realizing that most organizations didn't know how to defend against bad bots and had little visibility into bot traffic overall, Rami Essaid saw an opportunity and started Distil Networks in 2011.

Distil Networks has raised $65 million in venture funding to date, including $21 million Series C financing announced Aug. 2. The company's investors include Silicon Valley Bank,Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry, TechStars and ff Venture Capital.

In a video interview with eWEEK, Essaid talks about how he got the idea to start Distil and some of the company's early challenges. The company has positive growth this year and is now increasing its revenues at a pace of 250 percent a year, he said.

Distil Networks' technology is available as an appliance that can be either physical or virtual. The company also offers a cloud based software-as-a-service model.

"An inline proxy is what we are," Essaid said. "As traffic flows through us, we inspect it, tag bots or filter out bots, and then pass through clean traffic."

Distil Networks uses the open-source Nginx web server running on Linux. On top of that, Distil has built its own rules engine that does all the computation and machine learning intelligence.

Bad bot traffic takes different forms, with an increasing number of organized hacker groups making use of bots for vulnerability scanning and account takeover attempts. In order to identify bad bot traffic, Distil makes a determination based on multiple factors, including what JavaScript code is being used.

While Distil Networks' focus to date has been on bot traffic, the company is heading into the web application firewall (WAF) space.

"We think that how people are doing WAF today is broken," Essaid said. "WAFs today are still IP-centric, whereas we use fingerprints to detect and block bad guys."

Watch the full video interview with Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO of Distil Networks below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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