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Web Domain Fraud Monitoring: How It Works

4 minute read

An organization’s online presence has become more important than ever in 2021. In particular, a company’s website is often the first thing a potential customer sees when they are considering buying a product or learning more about a service offering. While organizations are rightfully concerned about the multitude of cybersecurity threats they face, web domain fraud monitoring and addressing other associated threats are often an afterthought. 

What is web domain fraud?

Web domain fraud is one of the most valuable tools for attackers and relies on the use of fraudulent or fake domain names. A fraudulent domain utilizes a domain name that is similar to a major brand and mirrors major collateral for that domain, like a name or logo, to pass them off as legitimate websites. For example, simply replacing the letter “O” with the number “0”, which may not be detected to the untrained eye of a consumer. 

Since web domains are relatively cheap to stand up and provide an opportunity for direct interaction with users, they are a profitable platform for scammers. These fraudulent, spoofed web domains can then be used for the purpose of stealing customer data through transactions, phishing or other methods to steal personal information. 

In 2017, Financial Times auditors found a fraudulent site that impersonated a digital publication, earning $1.3 million per month, for instance. 

How does web domain fraud monitoring facilitate fraud detection?

There are a multitude of tactics in which a cybercriminal can engage in domain fraud to appear credible, which include copycatting, or mirroring a legitimate site or piggybacking off of a look-a-like domain. Cybercriminals can also use typo squatting, leveraging common URL misspellings, or homoglyphs, using similar-looking alphabet characters, to ferry unsuspecting users to malicious websites. 

Typosquatting example

At scale, spoofed domains can have a massive impact on an organization’s bottom line as would-be customers are lost to attackers and trust and brand reputation is eroded. Web domain fraud monitoring enables organizations to take control of their online reputation by working to detect and identify malicious and fraudulent domains. This can get challenging, however, for large organizations with numerous subsidiary brands and subdomains. 

Ultimately, utilizing web domain fraud monitoring actively scans your online presence with the goal of protecting your organization, employees and customers from being targeted by cybercriminals with spoofed domains or other scams, which could be a precursor to a domain-based cyberattack.

How web domains are handled from a security standpoint 

Web domains can be handled both offensively and defensively to ensure they remain secure. Defensively, it is important for organizations and their security teams to maintain a repository of owned domains and subdomains, as well as proactively register similar domain names. This will ensure that attackers can’t buy similar, look-a-like domains to mirror them (i.e. ZeroFox purchasing ZeroF0x.com). Offensively, quickly taking down malicious domains right when they are registered will help to make sure that they don’t remain active to harm users, or potential customers. 

As cybercriminals continue targeting businesses’ online presence at an alarming rate, there are tools that can be relied upon to secure your organization against domain-based threats like domain fraud, including:

  • Continuous monitoring and fraudulent domain detection to discover potential fraudulent domains, and their associated security risks, as they become available. 
  • Global data collection across the public attack surface to provide the data you need, compiled from across channels, in order to have the context you need to make an informed decision. 
  • Actionable intelligence to arm you with a complete view of your brand’s domains so you understand and mitigate your blind spots. 

Streamline the takedown of malicious domains and reduce workload

Streamlining the takedown of malicious domains is often the final, but most important, step towards securing an organization’s online presence. With this step, it is imperative that the domain, and its associated infrastructure, are removed. These takedowns can be done on your behalf by ZeroFox’s team of takedown experts. 

ZeroFox’s domain monitoring tools not only find malicious domains but take down attacker infrastructure to prevent future attacks with:

  • Comprehensive Searching ensures that the internet, including the dark web, is actively monitored for changes to domain registries, newly-registered domains or malicious links. 
  • Intelligent Analysis that meshes both human and machine-based learning to actively discover threats and assess alerts to determine the best course of action. 
  • Accelerated Removal saves your team valuable time and resources once a threat has been uncovered, working to remove the fraudulent domain as quickly as possible. 

Choosing the right web domain fraud monitoring tool for your organization

Regardless of size, organizations use websites to drive engagement with their customers. This includes sharing resources, promoting product offerings and facilitating sales. Due the multitude of cyberthreats facing organizations today, choosing the right web domain fraud monitoring tool to ensure the trustworthiness of their brands is vital. 

Domain monitoring can help organizations avoid costly brand and security incidents, safeguard customer engagement and save time and money. ZeroFox Domain Protection quickly identifies spoofed domains impersonating your brand and takes action on your behalf to complete the complex and cumbersome takedown process. 

Once a takedown request has been issued for an offending domain, ZeroFox works on behalf of the customer to remove the domain using a combined technological and legal approach. Ultimately, ZeroFox protects customers from phishing and malware scams by ensuring URLs are the only ones they could possibly click on, and stops attackers from running mass campaigns against a brand and protects businesses from reputational ramifications.

For more information on how ZeroFox Domain Protection provides comprehensive protection against fraudulent domains, from identification to takedown, please watch our free, on-demand Domain Monitoring Tools Demo Webinar, or click here.

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