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Analyze any URL safely using the Cloudflare Radar URL Scanner


4 min read
Analyze any URL safely using the Cloudflare Radar URL Scanner

One of the first steps in an information security investigation is to gather as much context as possible. But compiling that information can become a sprawling task.

Cloudflare is excited to announce early access to a new, free tool — the Radar URL Scanner. Provide us a URL, and our scanner will compile a report containing a myriad of technical details: a phishing scan, SSL certificate data, HTTP request and response data, page performance data, DNS records, whether cookies are set to secure and HttpOnly, what technologies and libraries the page uses, and more.

Let’s walk through a report on John Graham-Cumming’s blog as an example. Conveniently, all reports generated will be publicly accessible.

The first page is the summary tab, and you’ll see we’ve broken all the available data into the following categories: Security, Cookies, Network, Technology, DOM, and Performance. It’s a lot of content so we will jump through some highlights.

In the Summary tab itself, you’ll notice the submitted URL was If we had received a URL short link, the scanner would have followed the redirects and generated a report for the final URL.

The Security tab presents information to help determine whether a page is safe to visit with a phishing and certificates section. In our blog example, the report confirms the link we provided is not a phishing link, but there could easily be phishing scams trying to harvest personal information. We’re excited to enable wider access to our security infrastructure with this free tool.

The Cookies tab can indicate how privacy friendly a website is to its users. We show all the cookies set and their attribute values to do this. In this report, the blog loaded 2 cookies. There's the Secure flag. You’ll want that set to true as often as possible because this means the cookie may only be transmitted over HTTPS, preventing it from being observed by unauthorized parties. Additionally, cookies set to HttpOnly will be inaccessible to the JavaScript API, potentially mitigating XSS attacks from third-party scripts.

The Technology tab enumerates the technologies, frameworks, libraries, etc that are used to power the page being scanned. Understanding the technology stack of a page can be very useful for when there are outages in a particular service, when exploits in popular libraries are discovered, or simply to understand what tools are most popular in the industry. John’s blog appears to use 7 different technologies including Google AdSense, Blogger, and Cloudflare.

The Network tab shows all the HTTP transactions that occur on the page as well as the hostname’s associated DNS records. HTTP transactions are the requests and responses the page makes to load all its content. This tells engineers where the website is going to load its content. Our report of John’s blog shows a total of 82 requests.

The tab also contains DNS records which are a great way to understand more about the fundamentals of the page. And of course, we at Cloudflare are big advocates for enabling DNSSEC.

The DOM (Document Object Model) tab conveniently collates common information you may be looking for from within the page. We grouped together lists of all hyperlinks and global JavaScript variables. Additionally, we provide the raw HTML of the page for you to further analyze. Our report shows the blog’s landing page has 104 hyperlinks going off to other websites.

The Performance tab presents a breakdown of the time it takes for the website to load. It’s not enough for a page to be secure for users. It must also be usable, and load speeds are a big factor in the overall experience. That’s why we’ve also included Performance Navigation Timing metrics alongside our more security and privacy oriented tabs.

Under the hood, one of the great things about this tool is that the underlying scanning technology uses Cloudflare’s homegrown Workers Browser Rendering API to run all our headless scans. You can follow that link to join the waitlist and try it out for yourself.

In the future, we envision adding features to our scanner to complement the ones from this launch: API endpoints so you don’t need to rely on a GUI, private scans for more sensitive or recurring reports, and also security recommendations with integrations with the Cloudflare Security Center. And since this is a Radar product, not only can users expect the data generated to further enhance our security threat modeling, they can also look forward to us providing back insights and visualizations from the aggregate trends we observe.

The Radar URL Scanner tool’s journey to helping make the Internet more transparent and secure has only just begun, but we’re excited for you all to try it out here. If you have any questions or would like to discuss enterprise level features on your wishlist, feel free to reach out via Twitter at @CloudflareRadar or email us at [email protected].

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Stanley Chiang|@stanleyxchiang

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