Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cybersquatting Increased in 2008

MarkMonitor, a Web security firm, found that cybersquatting - the practice of purchasing domains related to an established brand or trademark owned by someone else - grew by nearly 20% in 2008. Further, some 80% of sites identified in 2007 were/are still active. Though down from the 33% rise of 2007, cybersquatting appears to be cybercriminals' favorite practice. Other methods of fraudulently exploiting established brands and trademarks include phishing, "typosquatting," and PPC (pay-per-click) abuse.

MarkMonitor found that all forms of cybercrime related to "brandjacking" rose in 2008, with record numbers occurring in the third quarter. While financial institutions and international brands continue to be favorites, MarkMonitor noted social networks were increasingly becoming targets.

The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, or the Truth in Domain Names Act, was established in America in 1999. It stops short of delineating the practice criminal, but does make cybersquatters liable in civil cases. As MarkMonitor notes, the "...brandholders must take a stronger stance against aggressive fraudsters."

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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