Hey cyber peeps, brand IS our f*cking job
Whenever I talk to my colleagues, it seems that talking about Brand triggers some brain switch-off. For most cybersecurity professionals, Brand is a topic associated with marketing or legal teams and is viewed as something “soft.”
Security professionals get so caught up in traditional cybersecurity practices that they forget there is more out there to protect and defend. This narrow view creates additional risk for the organization from places they would not normally expect. One of these important yet overlooked areas is protecting your brand.
Over the last year, there has been a 360% increase in brand impersonation attacks. Failing to protect your brand opens you up to a variety of attacks that can damage potential customers but, most importantly, make you the victim of serious security issues such as account takeovers, data breaches, and more. This article explores the various ways that securing your brand is an integral part of cybersecurity and how you can go about defending it.
Cybersecurity Must Handle Brand Protection
Brand Protection is critical to a robust security posture. Brand protection falls as much under cybersecurity as firewalls, data protection, and encryption. They all serve to help reduce organizational risk exposure on different levels. Firewalls, data protection, and encryption are all technical controls designed to combat technological threats. A clearly defined and protected Brand secures an organization’s reputation and avoids customer confusion.
“What many don’t realize is this translates in the security realm as brand protection defends customers and staff from attacks such as phishing and malware that lead to more significant attacks which can damage more than just organizational reputation.”
- Luciano Allegro, CMO at Bfore.Ai
Beyond External Attack Surface
One area of brand protection that is already being handled by virtually everyone is account takeovers. It involves malicious actors taking over social media or organizationally controlled accounts to issue fake or misleading messages while masquerading as the company. Unfortunately, by the time an account takeover has happened, it’s already too late. The damage has been done in a very public and often embarrassing manner.
The best cybersecurity is proactive, and brand protection must be as well. You should look to eliminate a threat before the damage is done. With account takeovers, a reactive response is not sufficient. The earlier that threats are detected, the less damage they do. Every moment someone else has access to an account, the damage keeps piling up, destroying your brand and creating the impression that your organization’s cybersecurity is lacking.
Impersonation Is a Foothold
Brand impersonation is the backdoor to many data breaches and account takeover attacks. Tricking legitimate users and partners into clicking on impersonated content starts the attack. Employees or customers are often taken to content that masquerades as a legitimate site but with hidden malicious intentions. These sites may be utilized to collect credentials with fake login screens, launch malware infections, or install rootkits. Because these attacks target your legitimate users, the likelihood of a payoff for an attacker and serious damage to you is much greater.
You Must Protect the Brand
As brand damage is one of the gateway exposures that organizations must contend with, cybersecurity must play an integral role in protecting the brand. Brand attacks result in a real-world impact on customers in various ways. Fake storefronts sucker customers into purchasing items that don’t exist, giving both revenue and payment information to cybercriminals. Phishing emails appear to come from your organization’s legitimate communication channels spreading misinformation or sending people to malicious sites with infected content.
Defending from Suppliers
If you are not paying much attention to your brand, your suppliers and partners may also have a similar posture, especially if they are smaller in size or capability. An overlooked pathway of brand attacks is its suppliers and partners. Customers, employees, and other partners are used to legitimate communication originating from them on behalf of or to your organization. When cybercriminals impersonate your suppliers’ brand, they can send information that appears to legitimately come from their organization but instead leads back to their simulated domain. Your suppliers and partners may overlook brand attacks making them seem more legitimate; thus, the attacker is capitalizing on your existing vendor-partner relationship.
Attacks of this nature can have significant consequences for your organization. Attackers can request unnecessary orders that cost your organization directly. They can also issue fake invoices and request payment information updates, allowing them to directly abscond with payments or account information to steal from later. These attacks not only cause direct financial damage but they impact your reputation with partners, decreasing the trust they have in your organization.
Cybersecurity Has Tools that Marketing or Legal May Not
The only way to manage the risk of brand attacks is for cybersecurity to take immediate ownership of the problem. Brand threats continue, and the sooner organizations take charge, the less damage will be done. There are solutions to help your organization create a solid line of defense against these attacks rather than resorting to manual, reactive measures after an incident has already happened. Manual defenses might stop an attack, but they are not as effective as preventing it in the first place. Once a brand attack has occurred, the damage has already been done. Additionally, manual processes are time-consuming and do not effectively scale, resulting in a poor time-to-value ratio.
Proactive, automated solutions are integral to creating a scalable defense that catches brand attacks before they can be executed. Using solutions that leverage machine learning and have deep visibility into domain registrations and dark-web activity delivers the necessary information to identify attackers at the earliest stages of brand impersonation. These solutions parse through massive amounts of constantly updated information to flag potential brand attacks, allowing your organization to take proactive steps to stop them.
Taking Control Back
Bfore.Ai empowers organizations to protect their brand with a comprehensive set of solutions to stop fraudulent activity, rapidly deploying countermeasures to limit the impact of an attack. With Bfore.Ai, your organization continuously monitors new domain registrations and the dark web that are constantly assessed for potential threats. Once threats are identified, Bfore.Ai manages the takedown process, eliminating the complexity and allowing your staff to focus on what they do best.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Bfore.ai can help your company stop brand attacks to defend your reputation.