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In a world where businesses are getting increasingly dependent on the web to reach their target audience and procure more customers, the worth of a domain name can be understood as a business enterprises’ alternate identity. However, in recent years, domain names have been suffering an onslaught from various types of cyber crimes. Even small businesses are increasingly realizing the significance of ensuring infallible security for their domain names. Registered domain names face the threat of:
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Domain Name Hijacking
This is the most common form of cyber abuse that is targeting domain names. Domain hijacking basically means that an unauthorized source is diverting the online traffic of a registered (valid) domain name to another (prohibited) source. There are various ways in which domain name hijacking is committed. Hackers have been known to use this tactic to redirect online shoppers towards illegitimate sites like those heavy on pornographic content. It is a misplaced perception that such illegal account transfers are committed by web hackers only. In many cases, over-jealous competitors indulge in such malpractices to ruin the business of their immediate competition by illegally diverting the customers towards their own websites.
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Here, a squatter register or a domain name that sounds just like the valid domain name of a prominent business/trademark is created. These misleading domain names are then sold to competitor businesses at premium rates. Cyber squatters have been known to use such domain names to reroute online traffic to sites with prohibited content.
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There have been thousands of reported cases where domain names have been transferred to someone else without even gaining the consent of the registered owner. The dot-com domain names are in a serious short supply and hijackers are always on the lookout to steal existing domain names and then sell them at exorbitant rates. Such practices that poach upon original domain names are often called Slamming.
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Domain Name Security Solutions
Avail the benefit of Defensive Domain Registrations. These are usually provided at the time of seeking domain registration in the form of most likely domain extensions. However, this still does not solve the problem of gaining access to multiple similar-sounding domain names that are created due to misspelled URLs being typed by online customers. Small businesses may find it hard to gain defensive registrations since it could be a slightly expensive proposition but they should take precaution to Renew their domain names as per the schedule. Failing to do this immediately exposes their domain names to hackers who are constantly tracking such negligent practices.
The most fundamental and effective way of protecting your domain name is through the timely and authenticated Registration of your trade (domain) name. Why? Having a registered trade name, including domain names, means that you are lawfully awarded the ownership of a trademark and this can be effectively used in arguing cases that deal with domain poaching. Registration of domain names isn't very expensive or time-consuming and should be feasible for most small businesses.
Locking transfers is an effective and economical way of securing yourself against domain hijacking. The reputed domain registrars will always offer a facility wherein you can induce a ‘lock’, i.e. a legal restriction on any intended transfers for the domain that has been registered in your name. This prevents you from seeking the services of other shady registrars who could be hijackers/spammers who promote themselves as registrars providing ‘cheap domain names".
Your Contact Information is the single-most prized piece of data for hijackers searching for ways to infringe upon your domain names. At the time of registering your domain, ensure that you provide all your personal and business details through a well-secured medium. Ensure that in case of any change in the contact information, you update it immediately with your registrar.
Even if you are a small business enterprise, it is advised to seek the services of legal attorneys in cases of your domain names being breached. Legal professionals are best-suited to the cause of representing your domain names as your intellectual property/trademark and penalizing defaulters (hijackers/ squatter) who have violated it.