Domain Name abuse is a key tool used by bad actors to scam brands, their staff, prospective employees, suppliers, customers etc… A complaint was recently filed through the Arizona District Court that provides insight into the elaborate nature of domain abuse and is a reminder to remain super vigilant.
Last week, Future Test Inc filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the perpetrators of a sophisticated fraud.
Future Test uses the domain name FutureTest.com. The fraudsters registered FutureTestIncAZ .com to impersonate Future Test. They posted job listings on popular job boards and then interviewed candidates online.
Once they offered a fake job to the candidate, they told the candidate they needed two forms of ID to verify them for employment. They also needed banking information for direct deposit. And, in some cases, they needed a credit card.
You can imagine the damage someone can do when they have a copy of someone’s passport, driver’s license, and bank numbers.
In addition to ID and banking theft, they duped some of the people into incurring expenses on the belief they’d be reimbursed.
It’s a sophisticated scam made possible by the ease of registering a domain name similar to a company’s main domain. This often happens in accounts payable scams, where someone impersonates a company’s accounting department and demands payment.
But could they have pulled off this scam without the domain name? How many of the people noticed the domain?
To be sure, this type of scam accounts for a minuscule amount of domain names compared to common types of abuse. Spammers and phishers cycle through domains as they get blocked; more sophisticated scams usually only involve a couple of domains.
How Brandsec Protects Against Domain Abuse
A key defence to ensuring that your company, customers, staff, and partners do not fall victim to these types of elaborate scams is to constantly monitor for the 3rd party domain name registrations.
Brandsec monitors our customer’s brands and provides an alert when an identical or confusingly similar domain name is registered within 24-48 hours.
Once a domain name infringement is discovered, we conduct a threat analysis that includes checking whether a website resolves, its DNS architecture, especially looking at their MX records, a spam list review and also a google cache review.
If the domain name is deemed a threat we liaise with the relevant Registrar or ISP and work with them to get it suspended and content removed.
If the domain name is not deemed an immediate threat, we add it to a different monitoring system to check for any changes to the website and DNS which is an early alert system to future possible threats.
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.