A-Z Of Online Brand Protection Jargon You Need To Know
With more businesses expanding their presence to the online channels, brand protection quickly makes its way to the top of the executives’ priority lists.
Establishing a brand protection strategy can seem overwhelming, and many businesses are at a loss as to how to get started. Misconceptions about brand protection contribute to this confusion. For example, are you confident that you know the answer to the following questions?
- Who is responsible for executing your brand protection program; in-house legal or outsourced services?
- Which assets do you protect as part of the brand protection program?
- Does your brand protection program include affiliate monitoring?
To get to the bottom of this, we've compiled a comprehensive list of all the online brand protection jargon you need to know. What is online brand protection?
Brand protection is about protecting an online brand from infringements, counterfeiting, and other cyber attacks (like phishing and whaling.) While cybersecurity focuses on protecting organizations from threats and other vulnerabilities, brand protection focuses specifically on securing the online brand.
It is important to note that online brand protection doesn't focus exclusively on preventing financial loss, but also on safeguarding a brand's reputation.
Why you need online brand protection
It can be easy to overlook brand protection and its importance, and many organizations choose to focus exclusively on preventing cyber threats instead. And yet, a poor brand protection strategy can do irreparable damage. Online counterfeiting and infringement can destroy a brand and how consumers perceive it; damaged brand reputation can be impossible to recover from.
Ultimately, brand protection does more to shape buying decisions than most companies give it credit for. A solid understanding of what brand protection is will help you see how it can fit into your overall cybersecurity strategy. Understanding brand protection starts with understanding the jargon. Schedule a demo with us to see where you stand.
Online Brand Protection Glossary
This refers to a framework within which affiliates must work in connection with a brand. It is a non-negotiable aspect of the affiliate relationship, allowing companies to ensure the safety of their brand.
Anti-counterfeiting is the proactive use of technology, processes, labor, and tools to detect and remove counterfeit products. In the online realm, AI-powered crawling and scraping capabilities enable organizations to automatically cover hundreds of marketplaces and online platforms to detect counterfeit goods and IP infringements.
Anti-piracy is a broad term encompassing the actions taken by organizations and law enforcement agencies to fight against digital copyright infringements of specific assets including IP assets, digital content, software and code. .
Online Brand abuse & Brand Exploitation
Online brand abuse & exploitation occur when third parties exploit an existing brand in any way, shape, or form. The goals can vary from monetary gain, or in order to damage the brand reputation to prop up a competitor. They can take many forms, such as:
- Social media impersonation
- Counterfeit goods
Online brand protection focuses on protecting companies from risks that are outside the firewall perimeter.
It covers a wide range of external digital channels: the Internet, social media, Dark and Deep Web, mobile apps, online applications, marketplaces and even PPC ads. Each channel comes with its own specific threats that must be detected and countered effectively.
Whereas brand value can be measured in monetary terms, brand reputation is more ephemeral and has to do with customer and potential customer perceptions of your brand. Positive brand reputation is a driver of growth, while negative brand reputation is a costly liability.
Brand value refers to the monetary worth of a brand. The brand is a valuable asset that is derived from brand recognition by customers and prospects and through associations of the brand with specific values, such as good quality, low price, or popularity among a specific social group.
Copyright infringement is the unlawful use of copyrighted materials without permission to reproduce, distribute, display or create derivative works. Copyright infringement is protected by copyright laws.
Counterfeiting is a malicious activity that includes manufacturing and distribution of goods under someone else's brand name and without their permission. Counterfeit goods take advantage of the brand reputation of the brands consumers know and trust.
Cybersquatting (aka Domain squatting)
This type of fraud involves finding and registering domain names that have similarities with a popular brand in order to divert a portion of web traffic from the legitimate brand and send it to a rouge website.
For example, setting up a domain with the same name but in a different Generic Top Level Domain (GTLD). Eg Outlook.ws instead of outlook.com.
In an impersonation attack, fraudsters pose as a known and trusted individual in order to dupe an employee into transferring money, sharing sensitive data (including financial data, payroll information, or intellectual property), or revealing their login credentials that can be leveraged to infiltrate an organization.
Common types of online impersonation fraud include
- CEO fraud
- Business email compromise
- Phishing and Whaling
This refers to products being manufactured with the brand’s knowledge and consent, but then being sold outside the original manufacturer’s approved channel. The import and sale of such goods is unsanctioned, however not illegal.
The proliferation of (perfectly legal) International Domain Names (IDNs)-- domains that are in non-English languages, as well as any domain associated with brand names have also created endless opportunities for online brand abuse. Almost unlimited languages, brand name combinations and typos that can be created makes tracing legitimate use complicated. For example, some websites exist for the sole purpose of redirecting traffic to a brand’s legitimate website. So in theory, there is no abuse, but in actual fact, it takes an extra click for consumers to reach the desired website and on the way, they are exposed to content that has no connection to the brand they are seeking.
Impersonation (or lookalike) websites
Websites that copycat the look and feel of a known and successful brand in order to impersonate the brand for malicious gain. This can be either a website identical to the original or a different design, but still an imitation.
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations such as literary or artistic works, designs, or patents. Brands encapsulate multiple types of IPs that are protected by law, including but not limited to patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Proving intellectual property rights is key to enable a company to report and takedown illegal use.
Patent theft is the unauthorized use of a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. Online patent theft covers a wide range, including creative ideas and designs, web content, images etc.
In its essence, phishing involves cybercriminals impersonating themselves as a trustworthy entity through digital communication to steal sensitive information or data, including username, login/password combinations, PII (Personally Identifiable Information), or payment details.
Phishing often includes a combination of social engineering with email spoofing, instant messaging fraud, text messaging, email personalization, etc. Phishing works by convincing the user that it is safe to enter their personal information in digital communication that matches the look and feel of a legitimate entity such as a company website, a trusted colleague's email, or an SMS message from a service provider.
PPC ads (Pay-per-Click ads) impersonating a brand can lead the user to click on malicious links or be diverted to a website that leverages a similar look and feel to dupe the user into thinking they are shopping with a trusted brand.
Rogue website is a broad term covering many types of sites that are set up for malicious or criminal purposes. This includes counterfeit-selling sites, typosquatters, and cybersquatters, as well as imitation sites.
Social media fraud
Social media fraud is a wide term that includes many kinds of fraudulent activity, including:
- Fake profiles: Creating a fake profile in order to connect with people online and pose as one of their friends or acquaintances is a common fraud on social media. The fraudster will then send phishing links for users to click on that will take them to a malicious site designed to steal their information.
- Social Media Account takeover: When cybercriminals gain access to a social media account, they get not only a wealth of private information but a level of trust. They are able to communicate through the person or brand’s account, which thereby increases the risk of committing additional successful online attacks.
- Malicious URLs: Shortened URLs that hide the web page's full location. It is common on social media to save space and preserve the character limit of the message (especially on Twitter.) Those links are often used to divert users to counterfeit sites and infringing domains.
Trademark infringement is the unlawful use of work protected by a registered trademark, such as the company's brand, logo, or brand name by a third party.
This is a form of cybersquatting that involves registering domains that catch misspelled URL entries. For example, Outlouk.com instead of Outlook.com. Typosquatting relies on typos and errors that happen when users manually input a URL into a web browser or click on links that look very similar to the name without the typo.
Whaling is a laser-focused phishing attack that often involves a high degree of sophistication and social engineering, often aimed at senior executives or employees who are handling company payments. Whaling utilizes a mix of social engineering and attack tactics to persuade victims to perform a secondary, high-value action, such as initiating a wire transfer of funds or entering their credit card details.
What did we miss? Do you have any to add?
We know how tricky the brand protection lingo can get sometimes. After reading this blog, we hope that you can now understand the difference between Cybersquatting and Typosquatting and have a clearer understanding of what brand protection is and why it is important. Schedule a demo with us now!