What is Domain 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 to access 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 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 their customers with domain-based cyberattacks that impersonate the organization’s website and domain name to fool unsuspecting victims into compromising their data.
Domain Protection is the cybersecurity practice of monitoring the public attack surface and domain registries for indicators of domain-based cyberattacks, then remediating those attacks to safeguard the organization’s brand, employees, customers, and online community.
What are Domain-Based Cyberattacks?
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.
Next, cybercriminals will launch a phishing campaign that includes 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.
How Does Domain Protection Work?
A comprehensive Domain 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
Digital 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. 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.
Domain monitoring is the cybersecurity capability to 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 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.
Why is Domain Protection Important?
Safeguard 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.
Secure Your Sensitive Data
Domain-based attacks may target employees of your organization, attempting to steal sensitive data or gain access to secure systems. Domain protection helps shield your employees from these attacks, preventing costly security breaches and data loss events.
Protect Your Brand Reputation
A high-profile cybersecurity event that targets your employees or customer data can negatively impact how your brand is perceived. Domain protection helps safeguard your investments in strengthening the reputation and value of your brand.
How Does ZeroFOX Help with Domain Protection?
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.
Check out our free webinar: The Insider’s Playbook for External Threats: Detection and Disruption Across the Public Attack Surface to learn more about the TTPs for 2021 and how to execute decisive takedowns of fraudulent domains that attempt to impersonate your organization.