Threats to the Domain Name System (DNS) are on the rise

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Businesses have shifted their emphasis since the epidemic, aiming for a completely computerized corporate model. As a result, practically every organization has become a digital entity in the past two years, with digital assets becoming core aspects of corporate operations and recognized as significant as physical assets.

The introduction of bitcoin, online communications, and other online platforms has accelerated the shift toward having part or practically all activities online. These are used by businesses to interact with consumers and transfer information between brands and their target audiences. Unfortunately, while being the cornerstone of this new digital emerging, web domains are often disregarded, exposing organizations to cyber threats, since domains are a common entry point for cyberattacks and brand-based fraud.

When domains are left unsecured, they run the danger of two things. The first is about domain name governance and domain hijacking, which companies are especially vulnerable to if they choose a consumer-grade registrar. Registry lock and other sophisticated domain security precautions are often overlooked by these registrars, putting the domain at danger. The second kind is fraudulent, brand-specific domain registrations, which are frequently the result of a lack of a comprehensive monitoring and enforcement service, making the brand seem to be a simple target for criminal actors.

The use of bogus branded domains to conduct fraud and launch cyberattacks has increased dramatically. Malicious domain registrations are often used to take advantage of customers’ faith in the target company and initiate phishing attacks. Revenue loss, traffic diversion, and a tarnished brand image are all consequences of such digital brand misuse. In typically, phishing and brand misuse takedowns take six hours in the United States and 12 hours outside of the United States, resulting in lost income and online traffic. Takedowns of brands that have been abused might take longer since the problems aren’t always as obvious and need more research and evidence.

As third-party domain dangers continue to develop, jeopardizing enterprises and their brands, I’ve identified four important rising concerns to be wary of in the domain name field.

1. Third-party registrations are simple to do.

Unbeknownst to most people, anybody may register an accessible domain name at any time and for a minimal price. It’s a free-for-all when it comes to developing danger vectors. If the domain name is available, all that is required is a credit card, and a bad actor may get a freshly registered domain name in as little as 10 minutes – it’s that simple. Bad actors often register a web domain months in preparation and seem to keep it inactive, only to have it revive abruptly when an assault is launched — for example, an email asking personal information sent to the brand’s workers or customers — and watch who bites.

2. A shift in the way businesses value their domain names

Organizations are quickly recognizing that their domain names are their most valuable brand-related digital assets, particularly as COVID-19 accelerates the digital environment transitions. Domain names are increasingly seen as a critical component of a company’s digital strategy for building a trustworthy brand. If these digital assets, which drive consumer interactions, are not secure, businesses expose themselves to massive cyber risks that might disrupt operations, result in data breaches, and erode customer faith in the brand. This emphasizes the need of employing a registrar that is security mindful in order to protect the domains that your clients entrust to you. As a result, faked domain monitoring should be a component of your digital governance plan.

3. The increased usage of QR codes opens up additional opportunities for hijacking.

QR codes are graphics that can be scanned with a smartphone camera and converted into a URL that directs visitors to a certain website. The usage of QR codes extends the life of a domain name and increases traffic to a company’s website. Bad actors, on the other hand, may use it to divert traffic for fraudulent reasons. Many 2022 Super Bowl advertisements, for example, utilized QR code pictures on the screen, which was widely noticed. These are becoming more common in our daily lives, and so create a potential for them to be hijacked, leading unwary customers to a phishing site where personal data or financial information may be stolen rather than the legitimate one.

4. Blockchain domains are becoming more popular.

The use of blockchain domain names is growing in popularity. A conventional domain name is an IP address for a website that may be accessed via the internet. When you type a domain name into a URL box, the browser asks a DNS server to look up the IP address and show the website associated with that domain name. A blockchain domain, on the other hand, uses an alternative DNS to connect to a blockchain address given by a blockchain domain name provider. The problems with Blockchain domains include that they are not governed by a regulator (such as ICANN), that they are decentralized, which means that standard enforcement mechanisms do not apply, and that establishing who owns or controls them is frequently more difficult. Blockchain domains, like QR codes, provide new avenues for bad actors to conduct cyberattacks, but this time in an environment where enforcement action may not always result in the domain name being suspended or deactivated.

Finally, some ideas

We now live in a digital economy, thus these rising digital hazards in the domain name field must be closely monitored. Many people are still unaware of how simple it is to carry out these assaults. Companies must form a multi-stakeholder digital governance team and coordinate their plans. The bad guys are among the first to use these assault avenues. Keep an eye on this.

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