What is Domain Abuse

Domain abuse is the infringement of your intellectual property that is used for illegal, improper, fraudulent or malicious purposes.  Cyber-criminals use domain name abuse to steal data, scam the target brand and/or their customers and suppliers or trick consumers into thinking that they are dealing with the legitimate brand.

Common Domain name abuse scenarios include:

  • Cybersquatting – is the practice of registering a company, brand name or trademark term, as domain names, with the aim of reselling them at a profit.
  • Typosquatting and misspelling registrations – which is the method of just changing the spelling of the domain name to make it look like the real thing (apqle.com).
  • Domain name registration under another Top Level Domain (apple.xyz).
  • Replacing country code TLD’s (apple.com.ai).
  • Homographic domains – are words the share the same written form as another word but have different meaning or pronunciation.  For example, a domain name may replace a latin letter with a cryllic symbol (Дpple.com) to confuse consumers.

Domain name abuse can occur on isolated once-off domain name registrations to more sophisticated multi-domain name attacks.  Often domain name abuse occurs shortly after the domain name is registered so quick countermeasures should be applied to address them.

Monitor for 3rd party domain name registrations

Domain name monitoring is the first layer of defense.  Having the ability to detect domain name abuse and address it before an attack can be launched not only addresses the risk but also deters cybercriminals from further attacks.

It allows you to keep a track of suspicious domain names and also build up a profile of attackers by identifying parties who register more than one domain name.

Domain Monitoring should be comprehensive

Good domain name monitoring tools need to be able to spot fake domain names that are misspelled and use different types of scripts.  They should be able to:

  • Cover a broad range of TLDs in the world, including gTLDs, new gTLDs, ccTLDs and non-latin characters
  • Homographs and IDNs should be covered
  • Detect phonetically or visually similar and homographically matching terms
  • Report regularly on any infringements
  • Be easily accessible through an online platform
  • Identify registered and deleted domain names
  • Spot domains using accented characters

Strategic brand protection registrations

Our previous blog highlighted the TLDs that are commonly used in domain abuse. Review commonly abused domain name spaces here

Brand owners are faced with huge risks of cyber squatters registering their key brands across various TLDs, and more concerningly, brand abuse where we have seen companies’ brands being misused by cyber squatters, costing companies thousands in remedies to overcome brand abuse as well as recovering these domain names.

Registering domain name in commonly abused TLDs saves future headaches of taking an attack either through the DRP process or submitting domain abuse complaints to Registrar or Registries.

About brandsec

Brandsec is a corporate domain name management and brand protection company that looks after many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia’s top publicly listed brands.  We provide monitoring and enforcement services, DNS, SSL Management, domain name brokerage and dispute management and brand security consultation services.




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