With the Internet becoming increasingly important in global business, brands are constantly confronting different cybersecurity challenges. One of these threats is called brand abuse.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong brand name simply because it is a non-physical asset. Your business has a wide range of assets that go beyond products and equipment. Everything from machinery and stock inventories to customer lists and branding can be put at risk and compromised when targeted by cybercriminals.

Brand abuse is a word used to describe various malicious activities that all share the common theme of exploiting an established brand in some way. Doing cybercrime activity aims to either achieve particular advantages or harm the brand’s reputation.

 

Examples of Brand Abuse

These are a handful of the most common kinds of activities that the term brand abuse can encapsulate. Some of these include:

 

  • Cloaked Content

Cloaked content is the act of using product and brand identities in hidden text, Meta tags, keywords, phrases, and ads to direct site users to a different product via organic search results.

This often results when a cyber criminal configures web pages to masquerade as a certain brand. When a Facebook user clicks a particular link disguised as a brand’s ads, they are directed to a different and unofficial page that could serve the purpose of scamming customers and affecting your brand reputation.

The actual endpoint of an ad or post, or the actual content of the destination website, is concealed by bad actors. People have bad and unpleasant experiences when they visit cloaked destination pages, often encountering pages featuring diet medications, pornography, and even muscle-building scams.

 

  • Counterfeit Products

To sell goods/services, fraudsters often pose as an actual brand representative. Unfortunately, none of their merchandise is legitimate. Aside from counterfeit physical products such as jewelry or textiles, internet counterfeiting is a widespread type of brand abuse. Making matters even more complicated is that a single e-commerce product page may have offerings from both the manufacturer and numerous third-party retailers who sell counterfeit items.

 

  • Brandjacking

Brand abuse may involve phishing-style operations in which the offender aggressively advertises oneself as an actual brand representative. In its most basic form, this includes using a brand logo to indicate association with the brand. It is the act of taking a brand’s online persona to destroy the company’s reputation.

Brandjacking undermines your credibility. Even if the actions are carried out on pretenses, your company may lose regular clients and incur financial losses.

 

  • Cybersquat

Cybercriminals locate and register domain names having a brand association in order to cybersquat. Upon creating a domain with the same name but a different gTLD, they attempt to divert some of the existing brand’s online traffic to the spoof website. For example, instead of microsoft.com, bad actors use microsoft.ws. They set up domain names to catch misspelled URL entries as an alternative.

 

What Can I Do to Fight against Brand Abuse?

There are two major ways in which brand abuse may harm a brand. For starters, if people commit brand abuse in an attempt to grab sales for a competitor’s product or service, it will result in a direct loss of income. Second, if some entity did the brand abuse to harm the brand’s reputation in any way, it might result in a loss of brand image, which will damage awareness and credibility.

Unless you have the knowledge and free resources to address this continuing issue in-house, it’s wise to seek a third party that offers cybersecurity solutions to handle brand abuse. That is due to the fact that dealing with brand abuse can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive procedure. When some brand attack is detected, experts must take action to put a stop to it. Because this is an iterative process, finding and blocking brand abuse using tools like a website fraud detector should be done regularly.

 

Final Thoughts

When an organisation’s brand is utilised in an attack, brand abuse loses customer trust. To lessen the impact of this attack, employ services that detect and protect you from fake websites and other attempts to spoof your brand. Furthermore, educate your personnel. Verify that they can recognise such attacks, comprehend their fraudulent nature, and understand how to report them. By being vigilant, you can always fight back whenever someone malicious threatens to destroy your hard-earned brand name.

 

Always keep your brand and customers safe by partnering with third-party cybersecurity solutions that offer you brand abuse protection! At Fraudwatch, we are committed to ensure that you’ll have a peace of mind as you build your online presence! Learn more about us today!