Mumbai: Brand abuse is common online. MarkMonitor tracked billions of webpages and millions of emails, including listings on online auctions and B2B (business-to-business) exchanges over the first quarter of this year to uncover new trends in brand abuse in its Spring 2008 MarkMonitor Brandjacking Index. Brand abusers are getting more sophisticated in their timing and deployment of misleading websites, finds MarkMonitor.
The Spring 2008 MarkMonitor Brandjacking Index shows that while overall brand abuse continues to rise across industry sectors globally, cybersquatting continues to be the most common attack route with more than 40,000 exploits in the first quarter of 2008 and a 40% increase for the year. “Using brand names as part of a domain name is an easy way to drive traffic through search engines, and since most common dictionary words are already used for domains, fraudsters and criminals continue to turn to brand names and trademarks when they register domains,’’ says the report.
The index also reveals the different guises of brandjacking in the quarter: 78,562 episodes of false association, followed by 29,504 exploits in pay-per-click scams, 19,737 cases involving e-commerce sites, 11,473 instances of domain kiting and 1,464 instances of brandjacking via offensive content.
Phishing remains a potent brandjacking tool and MarkMonitor’s analysis shows that a total of 14 companies account for 90% of all phishing targets, based on phished URLs. According to their finding, during the first quarter of 2008 there was a decrease in the number of new organizations targeted by phishers, with 102 companies observed for the first time as the subjects of an attack, versus 122 in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Overall, 406 different organizations were targets of phishing attacks last quarter, which represents an increase of 8% over the number observed from the first quarter of 2007. Banks and financial services firms continue to be the most phished business, with 12 out of the 14 most phished brands, states the report.
While brand abusers are located anywhere, the report finds the US, Germany, and the UK leading other countries with a 66%, 7% and 6% share of domains hosting abuse, respectively. Interestingly, China has a 2% share, while India finds no place in this ranking. Proof, according to some brand analysts here, that there’s little documentation of online brand abuse in India.