What is Brand Protection?
Across every industry, organizations rely on digital channels to drive brand awareness, promote their products and services, engage with customers, and facilitate sales. But with brand impersonation attacks on the rise, organizations must protect their intellectual property – along with their investments in social media and digital platforms – by detecting, identifying, and remediating brand abuse incidents across the public attack surface.
Brand protection is the cybersecurity practice of using brand monitoring tools and best practices to detect brand abuse and impersonation threats on digital channels and platforms – and effectively address those threats to safeguard the brand’s reputation and protect its employees, customers, and online community.
An effective brand protection strategy allows organizations to preserve their digital reputation while protecting themselves, their intellectual property, and their online communities from fraudulent content, impersonations, trademark infringements, and other forms of malicious brand abuse.
Why is Brand Protection Important?
Brand abuse and impersonation attacks are becoming more common as hackers take advantage of the widening public attack surface to impersonate target brands and leverage their reputation, brand awareness, marketing campaigns, and assets to commit digital crimes against employees and consumers.
Cybercriminals impersonate brands and hijack brand awareness to trick employees or customers into disclosing sensitive personal information. facilitating fraudulent transactions, or sharing access credentials that can be used to steal money or data from secure systems. When these attacks are successful, the consequences can include significant financial losses, compromised data and intellectual property, and damage to the brand’s public reputation.
Brand protection empowers organizations to fight back against cybercriminals by detecting and remediating unauthorized use of brand assets across the public attack surface.
Brand Protection Helps Stop Brand Impersonation Attacks
There are three types of brand impersonation attacks that SecOps teams can detect and remediate through their brand protection efforts.
Known Brand Impersonation Attacks
Cybercriminals can attempt to defraud organizations, individuals, and consumers by impersonating well-known brands in the marketplace. These well-known brands include some of the largest, wealthiest, most trusted, and most recognizable companies in the United States. Cybercriminals can leverage that consumer trust and market recognition to commit impersonation attacks that attempt to steal information or siphon funds from the target.
Own Brand Impersonation Attacks
Cybercriminals may attempt to scam or defraud an organization by impersonating their own brand. The attacker may send spoofed emails to employees that appear to be from executive leaders or other high-ranking employees of the business. These emails often direct the recipient to divert payroll to the attacker or make a fraudulent wire transfer to the attacker’s bank.
Stakeholder Impersonation Attacks
Cybercriminals may attempt to commit fraud by impersonating brands of stakeholders related to the target organization, including its customers, suppliers and vendors, distributors, investors, financiers, industry partners, or even the government or local tax authorities. Stakeholder impersonation attacks may attempt to steal financial data or have the target organization pay a fraudulent invoice.
How Does Brand Protection Work?
solutions work by detecting and disrupting the activities of cybercriminals who fraudulently deploy digital brand assets, attempting to scam your customers, siphon revenue from your organization, and damage your reputation in the marketplace.
Brand protection solutions offer a suite of features and functions that can be implemented and configured by cybersecurity teams to counteract brand abuse and impersonation. The most important of these features are:
Brand Monitoring and Visibility
Brand monitoring tools work by detecting when and where your trademarks, logos, and other brand assets are being used online. Monitoring the entire public attack surface requires visibility into mobile app stores, domains, social media accounts, email accounts, collaboration platforms, eCommerce websites, the deep and dark web, and other digital channels.
Today’s brand monitoring tools provide full visibility of brand impersonation attacks by leveraging AI to intelligently analyze text, images, and video assets online.
Digital Threat Alerting
Digital threat alerting is a brand protection software feature that automates the process of notifying organizational cybersecurity teams in real-time as incidents of brand abuse or impersonation are detected. Real-time alerting allows cybersecurity teams to respond quickly and decisively to digital threats, decreasing the mean time to resolution (MTTR) for brand abuse and impersonation attacks.
Threat Takedowns and Remediation
Once brand monitoring tools detect fraudulent use of brand assets, the next step is to initiate a takedown of those assets. Takedowns of fraudulent digital assets may be initiated by the organization’s cybersecurity team or provided as a service by a brand protection software vendor.
Today’s brand monitoring tools also offer flexible security policies that can be customized to automate the removal of brand impersonation attacks on platforms controlled by the user (e.g. automatically removing a brand impersonating post from the organization’s Facebook page).
How Does ZeroFOX Help with Brand Protection?
ZeroFox delivers industry-leading brand protection that will help your organization detect, identify, and remove brand abuse and impersonation attacks wherever they occur online. Our solution combines advanced AI brand monitoring with expert human intelligence services and automated disruption capabilities to protect against digital threats to your brand, employees, and online community.
Download our guide to Brand Protection for Modern Enterprises to learn more about protecting your brand from internal and external threats targeting social media accounts.