What is Brand Monitoring?
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to carry out impersonation attacks and commit fraud by exploiting the logos, trademarks, messaging, product photos, and other recognizable characteristics of trusted brands.
Brand monitoring is a software capability that enables organizations to keep tabs on how their brand is being talked about or used online. Cybersecurity teams implement brand monitoring to gain visibility into mentions of their brands and utilization of brand assets across the entire public attack surface, including email, social media, domains, app marketplaces, and the surface, deep and dark web.
An effective brand monitoring strategy gives organizations the ability to rapidly detect and identify unauthorized uses of their brand assets online. Armed with this information, cybersecurity and SecOps teams can initiate takedowns of fake social media accounts, email accounts, websites, advertisements, and other infrastructure before they are used to target the brand’s employees and customers with digital attacks.
Brand Monitoring vs. Social Monitoring: What’s the Difference?
The term “brand monitoring” isn’t unique to the field of cybersecurity. It’s also used by digital marketing teams, who may use it interchangeably with “social monitoring” or “brand reputation monitoring”.
The brand monitoring activities done by cybersecurity vs marketing teams are not quite the same thing, although they may be supported by the same brand monitoring software tools and technologies.
When cybersecurity teams do brand monitoring, their main focus is to identify and detect the fraudulent use of brand assets across the public attack surface. When combined with an effective strategy for removing brand impersonators, brand monitoring enables cybersecurity teams to defend their organization, employees, and customers from digital attacks.
When digital marketing teams do brand monitoring (or social monitoring), their main focus is to identify mentions of the brand on social media, review aggregator websites, blogs, and public forums. Brand monitoring gives marketers the ability to see how they’re being talked about online, engage directly with customers, respond to reviews, and gather feedback to improve their brand’s products, marketing strategies, and reputation.
While marketers tend to concentrate their brand monitoring efforts on the most popular and relevant social channels and review sites, cybersecurity teams need broader visibility across the public attack surface to effectively identify and counteract brand impersonators.
How Does Brand Monitoring Work?
Brand monitoring software solutions work by detecting and identifying the unauthorized usage of brand assets online. This process has two basic steps: defining brand assets to protect, and monitoring digital channels for brand abuse.
Defining Brand Assets to Protect
Cybersecurity teams configure the brand monitoring solution by defining the organization’s most important brand names, logos, trademarks, promotions, copyright images, hashtags, domains, and other assets that should be protected.
Monitoring Digital Channels for Brand Abuse
The brand monitoring solution continuously collects and analyzes content from across digital channels, detecting brand risks as they appear and allowing cybersecurity teams to remediate instances of brand abuse before they negatively impact the customer experience.
What Visibility Does Brand Monitoring Offer?
To effectively detect unauthorized brand usage, cybersecurity teams need broad-scale monitoring capabilities that span the entire public attack surface. Today’s brand monitoring technology offers visibility of brand abuse and impersonation attacks from a variety of sources.
Visibility of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter helps detect fake social media pages, profiles, and accounts that contain unauthorized use of brand assets.
Visibility of cloud email solutions like Gmail and Outlook helps detect phishing, impersonation, and business email compromise (BEC) attack messages that fraudulently leverage an organization’s brand assets to trick an unsuspecting victim into disclosing information or transfering money.
Visibility of eCommerce marketplaces like Alibaba, Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay helps detect cybercriminals who create fraudulent profiles leveraging an organization’s brand name and assets to sell fake products or commit fraud.
Visibility of top-level domains and country code top-level domains via domain registries helps detect domain registration status changes that could indicate brand abuse or an impersonation attack.
Mobile App Marketplaces
Brand monitoring covers application marketplaces that include the App Store and Google Play Store, as well as third-party marketplaces that may have fewer security measures in place to prevent fraud. Visibility into app marketplaces helps identify and detect fake apps created by cybercriminals to impersonate a brand and defraud its customers.
Deep and Dark Web
The deep and dark web includes hacker forums, covert communication channels, paste sites, dark web marketplaces, and thousands of other unindexed digital properties that you won’t find on Google Search. Visibility here helps detect a variety of brand abuse and impersonation attacks that could harm an organization, its employees, or its customers.
How Does ZeroFOX Help With Brand Monitoring?
Brand monitoring gives organizations the ability to protect their brand investments, safeguard their brand’s reputation, and spend less time searching for incidences of brand abuse and impersonation.
ZeroFOX delivers industry-leading brand monitoring capabilities, leveraging AI-driven analysis to detect brand abuse and impersonation threats on social media, mobile app stores, marketplaces, email, and across the web.
View our Brand Threat Intelligence Webinar to learn more about how ZeroFOX Brand Monitoring capabilities protect your organization from digital attacks.