Combatting Cybercrime Proactively and Monitoring your Brand

By Tim Brown, Com Laude Head of Brand Protection

Our US colleagues celebrate Thanksgiving this week and share with us the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – many of which have already started. With more holiday sales to come over the next couple of months, now is an opportune time for brands to reflect on the impact cybercrime has on them. This includes considering not just their internal mechanisms to mitigate the cost of cybercrime, but also mechanisms relied on and offered by their service providers.

Last week, the .UK registry operator Nominet announced the release of their report “Tackling online criminal activity” for the period 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2019. The report sets out how many .UK names have been suspended for criminal activity in the last 12-month period.

Nominet suspended nearly 29,000 domains

The .UK name space has over 13 million domains and this year Nominet suspended nearly 29,000 domains as result of criminal activity. The fact that Nominet successfully dealt with nearly 29,000 suspicious domain names in the .UK space alone last year, shows that there is a serious problem with online criminality, and that both brands and consumers need to be vigilant. Nominet reported that the most active law enforcement agencies who reported criminal domains were:

• Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit – 28,606 reports
• National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – 178 reports
• Trading Standards – 90 reports
• Financial Conduct Authority – 48 reports
• Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – 31 reports

Nominet’s anti-phishing initiative

In addition to working with UK law enforcement agencies, Nominet has implemented its own anti-phishing initiative which suspends “suspicious” domains in the .UK space at the point of registration. This year Nominet reported that 2,668 domains had been suspended pending further due diligence. According to Nominet, 274 registrants passed the further due diligence requirements.

We support Nominet’s initiative and industry-wide efforts in working with law enforcement agencies to prevent domains being used for phishing and other criminality. We encourage other registries and registrars to work with local law enforcement agencies to combat criminal activity online and to share the progress they make in combatting criminal activity online.

The importance of domain name monitoring

As a corporate registrar, Com Laude also offers a domain name monitoring system – Demys Platform. Demys Platform detects potentially infringing domain names alongside domain names used or associated with phishing, malware hosting, spam, cracked or ransomware websites. The system programmatically uses a customised algorithm to rank detected infringing domain names, which can be found in any space globally, by the threat they pose to clients’ brands. Further, monitoring for threats ensures our clients are able to take action to mitigate the harm of cybercrime to them and their consumers.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this year be thankful for the many prevention and mitigation measures against cybercrime already used by brands and their service providers – and the many more measures to come!