MarkMonitor Year in Review Report: How Escalating Online Brand Abuse is Used to Monetize Web Traffic

By MarkMonitor
MarkMonitor

MarkMonitor®, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, has released the company's latest Brandjacking Index®, which finds that online brand abuse rose across major industries in 2009. The report also reveals the total number of phishing attacks was at an all-time high, with attacks targeting social network sites increasing to represent two percent of all phish attacks in 2009. The report spotlights the techniques and scams used by fraudsters and cybercriminals to monetize web traffic using well-known brands as the lure.

Brand abuse increased across all industry categories measured by the Index with the automotive and media industries drawing the most abuse. Abuse targeting luxury brands demonstrated the greatest increase, growing 23 percent year-over-year, followed by abuse targeting apparel brands which grew 14 percent year-over-year. For the third straight year cybersquatting, the method of using brands in bad faith within the domain name system, continued to be the most prevalent form of brand abuse. In addition, phish attacks reached a new record high with 565,502 attacks in 2009, growing 62 percent over 2008's total.

"MarkMonitor Brandjacking Index: 2009 — The Year in Review" measures the effect of online threats to brands quarter-over-quarter throughout 2009. The Brandjacking Index investigates trends, including drilled-down analysis of how the most popular brands are abused online and the industries in which abuse is causing the most damage. The report examines how brandjacking tactics — such as cybersquatting, false association, pay per click scams, offensive content, and phishing — have changed over the past year.

"As scammers continually seek new methods of monetizing traffic, brands face a growing and pervasive problem from online abuse," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer, MarkMonitor. "With billions of dollars worth of eCommerce sales, intellectual property and online marketing investments at stake, companies need to take proactive roles in fighting brand abuse online now more than ever."

Brandjackers cast a wide net

Cybersquatting on the rise

United States leads in hosting brandjacking websites

Phish attacks at all-time high

Methodology

The Brandjacking Index is an independent report produced by MarkMonitor that tracks and analyzes online abuses of leading brands. The cornerstone of the report is the volume of public data analyzed by MarkMonitor using the company's proprietary algorithms — no customer data or proprietary customer information is used to create the Brandjacking Index. This year, MarkMonitor introduced a new measurement for cybersquatting, gauging the persistence of these sites during the study period.

During the study period, MarkMonitor searched approximately 134 million public records daily for brand abuse in domain data. In addition, MarkMonitor analyzes spam feeds from leading international Internet Service Providers (ISPs), email providers and other alliance partners to detect phishing and other fraud. The company has analyzed billions of web pages since 2004 and processes up to 30 million suspected URLs daily.

Related topics: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Domain Management, Domain Names, Law, Web

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