Oct 13, 2023
Building a brand has never been more critical in an increasingly connected world—and protecting it has never been more challenging. A recent Brand Protection Trend Report from ZeroFox shows a disturbing uptick in brand impersonation, affecting trusted brands across various sectors.
Digital threats against brands rose an alarming 164% between the first and second quarters of 2023. The most disturbing part? Most of these threats are carefully calculated impersonations meant to exploit customer trust. Additionally, actors can gain access to personal or otherwise sensitive information.
The Anatomy of the Threat: Understanding the Impersonators Playbook
Before we delve into the alarming statistics provided by ZeroFox's report, it's essential to grasp what brand impersonation work entails. Imagine bad actors wearing your brand like a costume, attempting to mimic your identity, voice, and even customer promises.
Their ultimate goal is to deceive your customers. Imposters may attempt to access login credentials or even carry out account takeovers for financial gain or to damage your reputation.
These impersonators deploy sophisticated techniques like phishing emails, fake social media accounts, and spoofed emails. At first glance, these tactics may be impossible to distinguish from the real deal.
Bad actors can exploit the established trust between brands and their customers. These deceptive tactics are not just a problem for companies but also a dangerous landscape for consumers navigating online spaces.
Now that we've set the stage, let's break down what these statistics mean in layperson's terms:
- Fraudulent Alerts: There was a 35% quarter-over-quarter increase in alerts regarding brand-related threats, encompassing scams, fraud, and piracy.
- Spoofed Job Listings: Fraudulent job postings tied to specific brands surged by over 50%.
- Phishing Domains: A nearly 20% increase in domains designed to imitate legitimate brand websites was recorded, with a third linked to phishing schemes.
- Social Media Impersonation: Accounts imitating key personnel and corporate profiles rose by 22%, even going so far as to include bios, names, and photos to appear more legitimate.
Why is Brand Impersonation a Growing Concern?
The alarming surge in types of brand impersonation attacks severely affects customer trust and brand integrity.
When impersonation attempts lead to activities that harm or mislead consumers—such as fraudulent transactions or false information—the impacted customer often wrongly attributes these negative experiences to the genuine, trusted brand.
The unfortunate outcome is a loss of customer trust, a tarnished brand image, and potential financial repercussions.
Mitigating the Risk: Brand Impersonation Protection Tips
You’re not alone if the "Anatomy of the Threat" section makes you uneasy. The good news is that acknowledging the problem is the first step toward solving it.
The strategies outlined below are not merely suggestions but essential safeguards in today's digital environment. Each action to protect your brand acts like another layer of armor in your company's defensive toolkit. In today's connected world, protecting your brand across websites and social media is essential, not just a luxury.
Stay Vigilant on Social Media
Social media platforms are a hotbed for impersonation activities. Use monitoring tools that alert you when someone creates an account with similar naming conventions to your brand.
Regularly track newly registered domains that could be mistaken for your brand’s website. Various services can alert you when such domains go live.
Your employees are the first line of defense against brand impersonation. Train your team regularly on brand protection and how to spot red flags, like phishing emails.
Partner with Experts
Working with a cybersecurity firm specialized in brand protection can provide you with tailored guidance and solutions your business needs. Such partnerships can offer invaluable insights via routine audits and actionable recommendations.
Transparency is key. Keep your customer base informed about interacting with your brand safely online. Regularly update them on new security measures to instill confidence.
The Critical Role of Technology
Incorporating technology in brand protection strategies is no longer an option; it’s necessary. With advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, companies can now use automated solutions to monitor and report potential brand impersonation activities in real-time.
What to Do If Your Brand is A Victim
While prevention is the best defense, there's always a chance that your brand could become the victim of an impersonation attempt or phishing attack. If you are in this unfortunate situation, knowing the steps for reporting the incident to the proper authorities is essential. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a streamlined process for consumers and business owners to report fraud, including brand impersonation scams.
Taking the time to report to the FTC can help you build a case against the bad actors involved, potentially preventing further harm to others.
The rise in brand impersonation is a disturbing trend, but knowledge is the first step in protection. The latest numbers from ZeroFox serve as a cautionary tale, shedding light on the growing complexities of maintaining brand integrity in a digital age.
Protect Your Brand with Blade Technologies, Inc.
Are you concerned about the integrity of your brand in this increasingly digital marketplace? Blade Technologies Inc., based in St. Louis, offers tailored solutions for companies keen on fortifying their brand against impersonation and other digital threats.
With cutting-edge technology and expertise, Blade Technologies ensures your brand remains unassailable. Don't leave your brand's reputation to chance; contact us today to learn how we can help protect what you've built.
For an in-depth understanding of brand impersonation trends, we recommend reading the full ZeroFox report. Because when it comes to protecting your brand, staying informed is not just an option—it's a requirement.
Need help managing your business technology? Contact the St. Louis IT experts at Blade Technologies Inc. today.