Digital brand protection is defined as comprehensive intelligence sourcing and mitigation of external threats targeting your brand. Digital brand abuse can occur anywhere online. Therefore, it is necessary to have proactive and comprehensive detection capabilities across digital channels to prevent revenue loss and reputation damage.
Efficient brand protection requires more than simply using tools to broad match brand mentions. Security teams should source data by first prioritizing channels relevant to their brand and identifying actionable content. Not doing so can lead to volumes of data too overwhelming to identify false positives in a timely manner.
Once specific threat types and their sources are determined, organizations should detect threats with automated collection and trained analysts. These analysts should specialize in identifying threats relevant to your brand as well workflows and processes specific to their curation and mitigation. Lack of threat-specific knowledge as it applies to external brand threats can result in low-fidelity collection and compromise an organization’s ability to quickly find true threats to their brands.
Where Should Organizations Prioritize Digital Brand Protection?
Brand impersonation is a desirable component of online threats because it adds credibility to attacks. Cybercriminals can masquerade as a reputable brand a number of ways and cause harm via the open web, dark web, social networks, email, mobile apps, and other digital channels.
While intelligence sourcing via these channels must be broad to be effective, it should also be optimized for your brand to minimize unnecessary noise. Brand impersonation can cause swift and substantial harm to enterprises and their customers if security teams are unable to quickly identify and accurately assess these threats.
Optimize threat intelligence sourcing to minimize unnecessary noise
The specific types of threats organizations find themselves encountering are key to defining the intel sources that need consideration and prioritization. Once security teams have defined detection parameters for potential brand threats, focus should be on fine-tuning those parameters to minimize time spent reviewing non-issues. This is an ongoing process that requires in-depth understanding of the detection parameters and constant analysis of what is (or is not) being accurately detected. By removing the low priority brand mentions or search hits that often overwhelm security teams, more time can be focused towards mitigating threats and reducing harm to high-value brands.
Brand Threats - A Snapshot
Digital brand protection requires visibility into a variety of online threats including look-alike domains, credential theft sites, and bogus social media profiles. These threat types can come in various forms, and require trained analysts to identify, apply context, and pursue effective mitigation.
Look-alike domains are some of the prevalent elements of cyber attacks targeting brands. Threat actors use domain impersonation in a variety of ways, and digital brand protection requires early detection into everything from the creation of convincing credential theft sites, to the phishing emails that drive traffic to the page. In order to capture the wide-range of domain-related threats targeting brands, security teams should collect information on the following:
- New and existing domain registrations
- SSL certificates
- Passive DNS data
- DNS Zone files
Cyber criminals rely heavily on brand impersonation to set up legitimate-looking websites and steal customer credentials. Because of the extensive nature of brand misrepresentation on the open web, effective digital brand protection requires consuming data from a robust set of intelligence sources fine-tuned to accurately detect relevant, actionable brand mentions and variations. In addition, security teams should apply anti-evasion technologies to ensure detection of malicious campaigns that might otherwise go unidentified.
The rapid sharing nature and broad customer base of social media platforms poses an increasingly substantial risk to targeted brands. Victims of a social media attack can face brand damage and fraud losses with lasting effects. Proactive brand protection measures require advanced and continuous threat monitoring across a broad range of sites including:
- Highly-trafficked social platforms
- Paste sites
- Gripe sites
In addition, it is important to note that effective social media brand protection takes time to gather actionable intelligence, as each platform enforces unique policies and procedures for removing questionable content.