How to Detect and Defend Against Domain Abuse

Posted: 8th February 2022
How to Detect and Defend Against Domain Abuse

Picture this: A threat actor acquires a stolen list of your customers’ email addresses via a dark web forum. The actor then registers a typosquat domain, similar to your own. They use your logos and design to make the site look as authentic as possible. Then, they email this phishing site directly to your customers, and trick them into giving up their credit card information.

Your customers are justifiably angry. They blame you for their lost money, time, and expenses related to identity monitoring. Even though it’s not your fault, you’ve lost their trust, and gaining it back will be both difficult and expensive.

The Target on Your Brand’s Back

A brand is a company’s most valuable asset, and if done right, the ultimate competitive advantage. Beyond a name or logo; an organization’s brand also incorporates its reputation and is the driving force behind building customer, employee, and partner trust and maintaining loyalty.

Brand trust relies heavily on the relationship a company has developed and nurtured with its customers and partners. A brand that has been methodically built over many years and decades can be destroyed overnight when the trust contract is damaged as a result of a successful cyber attack. 

The repercussions can be devastating — ranging from customer distrust to massive financial losses. According to PwC, 87% of consumers will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust that a company is handling their personal data responsibly. 1

Unfortunately, organizations are frequently blindsided by cyberattacks targeting their brand. This is because most security professionals have limited visibility outside of their own organizations’ network — and no ability to monitor the nefarious corners of the dark web where cybercriminals are known to plan and launch attacks, leaving security teams scrambling to respond once the attacks are underway

Domain Abuse and Its Impact on Brand Trust

Typosquats and other domain-based impersonations perfectly illustrate these security challenges for organizations both big and small. Adversaries use lookalike domains to target your customers and employees, resulting in credential theft, reputational damage, and potentially millions of dollars of damage along the way. 

One of the most difficult parts in managing typosquats is that most organizations don’t have visibility into when adversaries are registering new domains. Without a way to track brand impersonation, organizations spend significant time and resources reactively finding and removing malicious content — often after damage has been done and doing so with limited success.

Since typosquatting is so difficult to find and take down, many typosquat sites remain on the web for extended periods of time, compounding the damage over time. For example, over 2.1 million phishing sites were identified as of January 17, 2021 - a 27% increase from 2020.2

How to Detect and Defend Against Brand Attacks

To truly protect your brand, you need to be concerned about threats that leverage it to harm your organization. Your security team needs expertise and assistance in order to collect mass amounts of data, sift through thousands of data points, analyze relationships among the data points, decide on priorities, and ultimately take action.

Brand Intelligence empowers security teams to proactively detect and take action against brand attacks in real time — before they damage the business. By automatically collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data from an unrivaled range of sources spanning the open, closed, deep and dark web, in real-time; security teams are able to proactively detect and take down malicious sites faster and more efficiently. 

And the results are real: A Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study, commissioned by Recorded Future, found that users of Recorded Future Intelligence experienced better defense of their brand value, including improved brand protection savings by more than $638,000, and reduced negative brand impact monetarily by $212,666 annually.

For more information on the top ways threat actors target brands, how that impacts trust, and guidance on how to rapidly detect and respond to these risks, join us for Part One of the webinar series The Top Threats Targeting Your Brand on Tuesday, February 15 at 11:00 AM ET.

1. Cyber & Privacy Innovation Institute: PwC 2. Google Safe Browsing