The World Wide Web continues to grow at crazy rates. New domain names are registered on a daily basis and their total number was roughly 284 million worldwide during the January of 2015. By comparison, in the end of 2012, the number of registered domains was around 252 million, meaning that more than 28 million new domains cropped up in less than 3 years. Currently, the growth of registered domain names is re-accelerating rapidly after a brief slowdown back in 2009 and 2010.
The most popular top-level domain remains .com, which is still the one most prone to hijacking and other cyber threats like hacking, phishing and social engineering. Some of the world’s biggest brands and companies have fallen victims to these attacks including Twitter, Google, The New York Times, Forbes.com and even The U.S. Marines.
Feeling vulnerable yet?
Millions of consumers are constantly at risk for identity theft and credit card fraud, and the trick is that these threats are not just restricted to large enterprises and popular brands. Virtually any organization with a fair amount of traffic, significant intellectual property or an interesting and attractive domain name could become the victim. So, let’s take a closer look at 3 easy ways of making your domain less vulnerable to these dangerous attacks.
1. Registered Trademark
Having a registered trademark is the first protective strategy according to San Francisco state attorney, Richard W. Stim. Stim is also the co-author of Trademark: Legal Care for Your Business & Product Name, thus he is certainly the man to trust when it comes to protecting your domain.
“There are two ways you can have a trademark,” according to Stim. “It can be registered or unregistered. Having it listed in the government registry is the right way to go.”
Hundreds of millions of domain names are registered and renewed every year, while the number of legitimate trademark claims that comes out of the ones that aren’t registered, is quite high. The numbers never lie, so if you haven’t yet had your trademark registered, now would be the right time to do so.
2. Proper Domain Ownership
Make sure you register the proper domain ownership and keep the data update all the time. In case you are planning to allow a member of your IT team to register the company domain under his or her name, you must be particularly careful. While this makes it easier for multiple employees to administrate the domain, it can also cause some troubles in future. Imagine this employee decides to leave the company and go on bad terms – it will be a lot harder for you to claim the ownership.
The same goes with third party website designers or other freelancers you decide to work with. Always be sure your domain name is registered in the name of senior management or the company itself.
It is also useful to have two names on the registration so that both parties would be notified in case there are changes. Much like those awesome movie vaults which need two keys to be turned simultaneously in order to be opened.
3. Name Variations
Buying up multiple variations of your domain name is another widely used strategy to protect your online brand. Some experts suggest that it is extremely useful to have a portfolio of domain names because this one of the easiest and cheapest brand protection strategies. This is why you should register common variations of your domain before someone else does and avoid any possible future threats.
Nobody can take what’s already yours, right?