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New Prefix Broker tool allows easy visualization of RIPE database history records

Interested in uncovering the history of a RIPE database object? Our recently developed and now publicly available Prefix Broker tool dubbed "RIPE WhoWas Viewer" allows anyone to easily visualize RIPE database history records.

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New Prefix Broker tool allows easy visualization of RIPE database history records

Running a background check on a RIPE database object prevents you from purchasing IP address space that turns out to be blacklisted in the past. Not only does this check find any red flags in a prefix history, it also provides a clear overview of previous owners and activities that may affect your business' reputation. So are you interested in uncovering the history of a RIPE database object? The new Prefix Broker tool dubbed 'RIPE WhoWas Viewer' allows anyone to easily visualize RIPE database history.

Start the RIPE WhoWas Viewer.

An extension on RIPE's Whois service

For anyone looking to obtain a new prefix, the RIPE offers a service to gain insight into current contact and registration information for IP addresses. Under the name of Whois, this service by the RIPE is an added value that allows for marginalized risks and extensive information on current ownerships and activities. However, its limitations are in its current character.

Knowing the current owner tells you as much as that the prefix is not currently blocked or otherwise corrupted. Yet past activities may have an effect on future use of an IP block. Looking back in RIPE database history and uncovering previous owners and activities may alter your view on what is a 'clean' address block and what isn't. Our WhoWas Viewer is your tool to find out.

The RIPE WhoWas Viewer

When you decide to buy, sell or lease a block of IPv4 addresses, there are several reasons why you might be interested in taking a closer look under the hood of a specific range. The most important one being: association. Who was or who were the previous owners of the addresses at hand and how might their online activities impact your organization's reputation?

Although the RIPE database history records have always been publicly available, actually uncovering the history of a block has been complicated and time-consuming up until now. With the launch of our new RIPE WhoWas Viewer, this is a thing of the past. But how does the tool actually work?

Technical details

Behind the scenes we query a few of RIPE Database RESTful APIs to request the history records. This process consists of the following steps:

  1. Entering your search query into the RIPE Databases Search API

    Starting your search, we will send your query to the RIPE Database search API. This API accepts the same input as the RIPE Whois interface. It will return a list of objects that match your search query. For example, when you search for our MNTNER object PREFIXBROKER-MNT, the tool will fetch data from the following URL:

    https://rest.db.ripe.net/ripe/mntner/PREFIXBROKER-MNT/versions

    The interface will now show the list of results which is default set to the first search result. You will have the option to switch to one of the other search results.

  2. Requesting a list of versions currently in the RIPE Database

    Next the RIPE WhoWas Viewer requests a list of versions that are currently within the RIPE database for the given object. Our MNTNER object PREFIXBROKER-MNT, for example, has the following versions:

    https://rest.db.ripe.net/ripe/mntner/PREFIXBROKER-MNT/versions

    In case an object is deleted or recreated within the RIPE database, all revisions from the original object have been made inaccessible. For this reason, our tool cannot show the history for objects that have been deleted and/or recreated in the past. In some cases, a transfer will also have led to the split or recreation of a resource (deleted and created again). Also, in these cases all history of the original resource will be inaccessible.

  3. Fetching the actual revision and parse the data for each version within the RIPE database

    To continue the RIPE WhoWas viewer will now fetch the actual revision and parse the data for each version within the RIPE database. As an example, here you will find the first revision of our MNTNER object PREFIXBROKER-MNT:

    https://rest.db.ripe.net/ripe/mntner/PREFIXBROKER-MNT/versions/1

  4. Comparing revisions

    After having fetched all versions, we are now able to compare all revisions. Each change within the RIPE database is now highlighted and will be visible within the RIPE WhoWas Viewer web interface.

Try the RIPE WhoWas Viewer yourself

Curious, convinced and ready to start your own research into the history of a RIPE database object? You will find the Prefix Broker RIPE WhoWas viewer here: https://ripewhowas.prefixbroker.com

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