19 April 2023

TLD Updates

.CONSULTING – Available Now! .consulting has been added to the portal for organisations in the consulting space. Beneficial for consulting organisations who want to showcase their expertise and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in their industry.

The .FORUM TLD will be relaunched and the Sunrise is now open! The registry is releasing all registry reserved names, including 1-2 character .FORUM domains, and is introducing new premium price tiers.

OTHER SPACES: Save the dates outlined below and be prepared for the launch of the following TLDs: .FOO for developers, .ZIP for speedy hosting, .MOV for moving content, .NEXUS for everything you’re doing online, .DAD for fatherhood, .PHD for doctorates, .PROF for professors, .ESQ for lawyers.

  • Sunrise Phase: Until May 3, 2023 (15:59 UTC). For trademark holders with a valid signed mark data (SMD) file.
  • Early Access Period (EAP): May 3 (16:00 UTC) until May 10, 2023 (15:59 UTC).
  • General Availability (GA): As of May 10, 2023 (16:00 UTC). First-come, first-served.

Threat Observations

Branded Shortened Domains – Brandsec has recently enforced lookalike domain names across several brands where the TLD is used, in part, to spell the name of the brand in phishing attacks.  For example, Google = www.goog.le.  We recommend reviewing whether your brand has been registered as a shorted domain name by a third party, and registering your key brands if available.

shortened domain name scam

An example of how shortened domain names can be used in phishing attacks

Unbranded Domain Name Attacks – Brandsec has also noted an increase in the number of unbranded domain names in copycat websites, especially in the retail sector.  An attacker will take a random domain name, such as petercroncite.com impersonating the Nike shoes website, and then upload an entire retail website, with images, prices and a shopping cart.  We understand that these sites are advertised through Meta and Google ads to direct traffic to the copycat site.  In most cases, these sites do not allow crawlers (“No Follow”) so a google search will not find them. The best way to capture these website is through proactive ads monitoring.

fake website

An example only of how attackers use unbranded domain names to launch copycat websites

Learn more about our comprehensive domain name monitoring solution here

Feature: Are Defensive Domain Names Worth It?

A defensive domain name registration strategy can offer benefits and drawbacks to a brand owner. This approach involves registering domain names that are similar to the brand owner’s name, trademarks, or products to prevent spoofers, cybersquatters, and phishers from using them as attack vectors.

A significant advantage of this strategy is preventing third parties from creating websites or social media profiles that could misrepresent or copy the brand, or trick customers into believing they are dealing with the legitimate brand. However, the cost of registering and maintaining multiple domain names can be a drawback, depending on the size of the brand and the number of variations that need to be registered.

It’s important to strike a balance between registering the obvious misspellings and not overdoing it. A domain name monitoring solution can be a useful alternative to capture when identical or confusingly similar domain names are registered by third parties. Overall, a defensive domain name registration strategy can be beneficial, but it’s essential to weigh the costs and consider alternative solutions, such as domain name monitoring (that proactively monitors for spoofed domains) to effectively protect your brand online.

About brandsec

brandsec is an Australian domain name management provider that offers online brand management solutions to corporate and government organisations.

Our services include domain name management, domain name security, domain name policy development, dispute management, monitoring, and enforcement services. Additionally, brandsec offers a comprehensive online brand protection service that covers various platforms such as websites, social media, email, and online marketplaces. The service addresses issues related to counterfeiting, fakes, copyright infringement, intellectual property (IP) matters, piracy, and other intellectual protection-related issues.




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