What is Domain Ownership Protection?
Organizations of all sizes use websites to drive brand engagement, share information and resources, promote product and service offerings and facilitate sales to their target customers. Websites are also used for accessing secure systems, such as online banking and investment accounts, databases, or hosted software applications. Every website has its own domain name, also known as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which acts as its unique address on the internet. With digital commerce at an all-time high, it’s more important now than ever for organizations to secure their owned domains and proactively remove malicious or spoofed domains that attempt to scam their customers.
Digital threat actors are becoming increasingly innovative in their attempts to target organizations, their employees and customers with domain-based cyberattacks that impersonate the organization’s website and domain name to fool unsuspecting victims into compromising their data. Domain Ownership Protection ensures that your owned and registered domains remain secure from a variety of threats that it may face, safeguarding them and ensuring they remain part of your organization’s online presence.
This should be part of your broader Domain Protection strategy, which includes monitoring the public attack surface and domain registries for indicators of domain-based cyberattacks, then remediating those attacks to safeguard the ownership of an organization’s brand, employees, customers, and online community.
Is Domain Ownership Protection Necessary?
Globally, businesses rely on websites with owned domains to grow brand awareness and promote and sell products and services. In turn, threat actors have turned to a variety of tactics to take advantage of a brand’s recognition and reputation while working to scam customers.
Domain impersonations are one of these incredibly prevalent cyber-threat tactics, including the use of ‘look-a-like’ urls that trick legitimate customers by mimicking brands and through common misspellings, typosquatting and homoglyphs. A domain-based cyberattack is an attempt to steal data or commit fraud by impersonating a web domain that belongs to a trusted organization, brand, or even a person.
Domain-based attacks begin with cybercriminals registering a domain that resembles the target’s authentic domain. Fake URLs or domain spoofing can also be used to make a fraudulent domain appear authentic. After registering the domain, cybercriminals will replicate or “mirror” the target’s authentic website, making it appear to victims as if they are interacting with the brand’s authentic website.
Cybercriminals may launch phishing campaigns that include a link to the fake domain. When unsuspecting victims click the link, they will land on a page that looks just like the authentic website of a brand they trust – except it’s not, it’s a malicious website created to steal their money, sensitive data, or access credentials.
With domain-based attacks on the rise across industries, investing in domain protection, and ultimately brand protection, should be a top priority for organizations of all sizes.
What are the Advantages of Domain Ownership Protection?
Domain Ownership Protection offers numerous advantages to organizations that engage in the practice. These advantages include:
Safeguarding the customer experience
Domain protection removes fraudulent domains that attempt to impersonate your business, ensuring that customers have the best possible experience when engaging with your brand online.
Securing your sensitive data
Domain-based attacks may target employees of your organization, attempting to steal sensitive data or gain access to secure systems. Domain Ownership Protection, and data leakage detection, helps shield your employees from these attacks, preventing costly security breaches and data loss events.
Protecting your brand reputation
A high-profile cybersecurity event that targets your employees or customer data can negatively impact how your brand is perceived. Domain Ownership Protection safeguards your investment in strengthening the reputation and value of your brand.
How do I Protect my Domain Ownership?
With the increased importance of protecting your domain ownership, it is imperative to find a solution that not only identifies, but removes, malicious or spoofed domains to safeguard your customers and hard-earned reputation.
A comprehensive Domain Ownership Protection solution incorporates several techniques and strategies to detect, identify, prevent, and remediate domain-based attacks before they can victimize employees or customers of the target organization.
Defensive Domain Registration
Threat actors may initiate a domain-based cyberattack by registering a domain name with a name that is similar to that of a trusted website or organization, or one that takes advantage of a common misspelling in the domain name. Defensive domain registration is the practice of registering domain names that resemble your organization’s authentic domain name and could be used to impersonate your brand. Defensive domain registration prevents malicious actors from attempting to register these domains in the future and use them for malicious purposes.
Domain monitoring is the cybersecurity capability to proactively monitor domain registries and the public attack space for newly registered domains, domain ownership changes or malicious links that could indicate a domain-based attack against your organization’s online community.
The most sophisticated domain monitoring solutions leverage artificial and machine learning tools like computer vision, natural language processing, optical character recognition, domain URL collection and analysis, and fraud detection to identify threats that appear in a variety of contexts and formats.
Domain protection solutions offer alerting capabilities that send information to cybersecurity teams and threat intelligence experts when a domain-based risk is identified. Alerting facilitates a rapid response to potential attacks that decreases mean time to remediation (MTTR) for a domain-based attack and shrinks the window of opportunity for the attack to succeed.
Human Threat Intelligence
Human threat intelligence teams review alerts to assess the risk and determine whether to proceed with threat remediation protocols based on the risk level, context and threat actor details.
Domain Remediation and Takedown
Domain remediation and takedown is the final, and most important step, in Domain Ownership Protection. Enterprise cybersecurity teams may develop their own remediation and take protocols, or depend on an external vendor providing takedowns-as-a-service. In either case, the goal is to quickly and decisively dismantle the threat actor’s infrastructure to disrupt the attack and dissuade future attacks.
The timeline for this kind of takedown can be sporadic and lengthy if you don’t know what to look for or how to handle the remediation itself. Constantly monitoring for offending domains is time-consuming and ineffective- which is why ZeroFox built domain monitoring into the ZeroFox Platform, saving customers time and resources on not only identifying these threats but taking action on them as well.
Choose the Right Domain Ownership Protection for Your Business
Organizations invest heavily in their online presence as customers continue to rely on a user-friendly and engaging experience with their brands of choice. It is vital that organizations also invest in tools that safeguard their owned domains by providing Domain Ownership Protection.
A comprehensive solution that offers everything from defensive domain registration to domain monitoring and takedown can be the difference between safeguarding your employees and customers, or exposing their data for malicious purposes – ultimately hurting your reputation and bottom line.
ZeroFox provides enterprises protection, intelligence and disruption to counteract domain-based cyberattacks and other complex digital threats across the public attack surface. The ZeroFox Platform delivers AI-driven domain monitoring capabilities, managed threat intelligence services and domain takedown services to protect your brand, customers and online community from domain-based cyberattacks.
To learn more about ZeroFox’s Domain Ownership Protection, schedule a demo today!