In this article, we dive into the growing threat of domain-name squatting and the potential losses it can inflict on your business. Domain-name squatting is a deceptive practice where cybercriminals impersonate your organisation using deceptive domains. We highlight the dangers of this technique with a real-life example and provide essential strategies to protect your business, including email authentication protocols, secure Office 365 settings, impersonation protection, and fostering employee alertness. By taking these proactive measures and seeking legal assistance when necessary, you can safeguard your organisation against domain-name squatting and prevent substantial financial losses and damage to your reputation.

Don’t Lose More Than Data: Safeguarding Against Domain-Name Squatting

In today’s digital age, where everything from communication to commerce takes place online, safeguarding your business against cyber threats has never been more critical. As we observe Cyber Awareness Month, it’s essential to address a growing concern – domain-name squatting. This deceptive practice is on the rise, posing a significant threat to businesses, and it’s crucial to be aware of the dangers and how to protect your organisation.

What is Domain-Name Squatting?

Domain-name squatting, also known as domain spoofing, is a fraudulent activity where cybercriminals exploit publicly available information, often obtained from sources like LinkedIn or existing data breaches. They register domain names that closely resemble legitimate business domains, with the intent to deceive and impersonate the target organisation. These imposters then use these fake domains to carry out various malicious activities, such as pretending that invoices have not been paid or providing false “new bank account details” for payments.


domain squatting example
Picture this: Your business’s domain is A cybercriminal registers, with a capital ‘I’ instead of a small ‘L,’ making it appear virtually identical to your actual domain. They then send emails to your employees, pretending to be from your organisation, and request urgent payments, posing as legitimate financial transactions. This is just one example of how domain-name squatting can be used to deceive and defraud businesses.

Defending Against Domain-Name Squatting

As a Managed Services Provider, we’ve observed a surge in domain-name squatting incidents, especially among our major customers. Here are some strategies and best practices to defend your business against this deceptive practice:

1. Implement Email Authentication Protocols
SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) configurations can help validate the authenticity of email senders. These protocols prevent cybercriminals from using fake domains to send malicious emails on behalf of your organisation.

2. Configure Office 365 Security Settings
Properly configuring your Office 365 security settings is essential. This includes enabling multi-factor authentication, threat protection, and encryption to fortify your email and data security. Regularly update and monitor these settings to ensure their effectiveness.

3. Enable Impersonation Protection Settings
Utilise impersonation protection settings to safeguard your employees from receiving emails that impersonate internal personnel. By flagging or blocking such emails, you reduce the risk of falling victim to domain-name squatting attacks.

4. Implement Transport Rules
Establish transport rules to identify and flag external emails that claim to be internal communications. These rules can help employees recognise suspicious emails and act accordingly.

5. Foster Human Alertness
While technical defences are crucial, the most potent defence against domain-name squatting is human alertness. Employees should exercise caution when faced with unexpected requests for money or sensitive information. Encourage them to verify the authenticity of any request, especially if it involves financial transactions or sensitive data. Pisys offer FREE Employee training for all their customers, find out more here: IT Training – Pisys – Business IT Support Company

6. Seek Legal Assistance
Should your organisation fall victim to domain-name squatting, remember that it’s illegal, and you can contest it. However, this process often requires a specialist’s expertise. As your Managed Services Provider, we have a preferred partner with the knowledge and experience to handle such cases effectively.

Read the UK Governments Cyber security breaches survey 2023 here.

In conclusion, domain-name squatting is a growing threat that requires proactive measures to protect your business. Pisys can help you to implement strong email authentication protocols, configure security settings, foster employee alertness, and seek legal assistance when needed, you can defend your organisation against this deceptive practice. With these measures in place, you can reduce the risk of falling prey to domain-name squatters and safeguard your business’s reputation and assets. Stay vigilant, stay secure – Contact Pisys on 01792 464748 for more information.