The Cyber world of Today
The World Wide Web is a huge space where a lot of people gather, interact, educate, and etc. With a lot of activities which feed people’s minds and the ability to conduct a lot of transactions in the internet space, it is a pretty convenient space for the majority of the users and perfect for cybersquatting. This will be an ongoing future of our society.
Now that the internet is a common thing among people and is continuously expanding comes the risk of cybercriminal activities where most of the time consumers up to medium scale business owners are at risk of being the victims of such crimes due to the lack of information and security precautions. Most fall victim to socially engineered attacks which leads to their credentials being stolen.
Did you know that even big companies can be a profitable big-time target by these criminals too? One simple way of abusing a famous big company is through cybersquatting and typosquatting, the two could also evolve into a full-grown phishing website if left unattended.
- Let’s put light on what Cybersquatting is. It is the act where a person AKA Registrant registers a domain name in bad faith which contains a person’s and/or company’s brand or trademark. Which obviously is not owned by the Registrant. The most common way Cybersquatters will be able to abuse a trademark is by registering the domain with varying modifications which is also known as Typo-squatting.Some common examples of typo squatting include but does not limit:
- Removal of “dot” in the domain name URL: wwwsample.com
- Misspelling: sumple.com
- Differently phrased domain name: samples.com
- Different top-level domain: sample.org, sample.top, sample.asia and etc.
Now the deceit is clearly evident, however too technical in which domain registrars and first level WIPO correspondents won’t be able to help you with your disputes if your business will be affected by this. Why? They will reason out that such decisions which involve minor modifications can only be ruled by the court. These domain name registrars only rely on whatever document you have and yet they will point you to WIPO for arbitration.
Why Cyber squat?
Cybercriminals will say “why not”because it is an easy money if they will successfully sell domain names similar to the legitimate domain name of a big company. Companies who are unaware about domain name pricing would fall victim and pay for an overpriced domain, thus encouraging the demand for such activities.
Second possible scenario, when nobody buys the overpriced cyber-squat domain, the cybercriminal could easily find a partner or do it themselves to put up a content similar to their target original domain to generate revenue by putting up a fake website to receive traffic for ads, or much worse is establish a phishing-scam website by either using the stolen credentials themselves or sell it for profit.
Third possible scenario, sell the domain name on a trading platform such as Flippa domains. Disclaimer: this is just an example and no infringement intended. Look how Deutsche which is a popular name has a premium price for its name itself. Check the picture below:
However there are no bids yet the intention is clear; make a huge buck out of them
Keeping an eye out
It will be a headache for most companies to maintain the sanctity of their brands and trademarks, for which we all want fairness and justice when it comes to the trade, all the reason why you must have your brands protected by your Trademark documents. But it does not stop there, you may also want to globalize your protection in your digital lives by seeking help through a Domain Name Monitoring service to watch out whether a related Trademark infringed domain is causing bad brand reputation or not, if there is a visible content then let the experts take them down for you from Monitoring and recommendations moving to applicable takedown procedures.