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A Different Kettle of Phish

Phishing is usually viewed solely as an information security problem, but it is actually more than that — it's also a brand protection problem. Why? Phishing targets an organization's customers, using an organization's trusted brand to steal customers' credentials. The result is financial loss, bad customer experiences and a damaged brand name.

Forward-thinking organizations complement their traditional information security approaches with online brand protection strategies. They recognize that their assets also reside outside the enterprise perimeter and require protection. They understand that the security of their online brands has a direct impact on customer relationships and revenues.

What can an organization do to address the range of brand threats? Information security professionals may start by checking how their brands are used online. For example, search in a mobile app store and see what turns up. Do some online searches on business-to-business exchange sites and see how many "manufacturers" are wholesaling your branded goods. Think like a consumer and use your brand with popular search terms like "discount", "sale", or "cheap" to see what suspicious e-commerce sites are out there undercutting your own distribution channels.

IT has long been known for solving business problems through technology. Check with colleagues from other groups such as e-commerce, marketing, and legal about their department's brand abuse challenges and needs to see if there is an opportunity for cross-departmental cooperation. Organizations employ various countermeasures against phishing, but other threats that misuse trusted brands to target customers will require state-of-the-art brand protection strategies.

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Related topics: Cybersquatting, Domain Names, Security

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