As you begin your working week, log in to check your brand’s performance, and see that the data has disappeared or, even worse, your account doesn’t exist. You might start to think the reasons for this could be related to technical issues, account changes, data loss or even account suspension. But in the current times, the likelihood is that it’s due to your brand identity being compromised or stolen.
The threat of cyber-attacks on brands’ digital identities is rising, with a growing number of high-profile breaches and data leaks making headlines. A recent known breach targeted a fintech start-up called Revolut, which had more than 50,000 users’ data stolen! These types of attacks can be anything from phishing scams to ransomware attacks; cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated with their tactics and targeting large corporations and small businesses.
The consequences of a cyber-attack on your brand’s digital identity can be devastating. Not only can it result in financial losses and damages to brand reputation, but it can also compromise the personal digital identities of customers and employees, leading to legal and regulatory implications.
In this blog post, we'll explore the key themes and topics surrounding protecting your brand's digital identity. We'll discuss the most common vulnerabilities that brands face, how to identify and address them, and the key steps you can take to defend your digital territory. By the end of this post, you'll have a clearer understanding of the risks posed by cyber-attacks and the steps you can take to protect your brand's digital identity.
The importance of digital identity is becoming increasingly evident, even though our online presence has always been a crucial part of our daily lives. Picture this, if someone gains access to your bank or PayPal account through stealing your login credentials, it can cause inconvenience, confusion and frustration. However, protecting your password is not the only way to be cautious.
Your domain name is also an important factor to your business brand identity, and it is the first thing people see when they search for your business online. But if someone steals your domain name, they can use it to extort you for money or impersonate you on the internet. And this is something you want to avoid at all costs!
To prevent this from happening, start by registering your domain name for a 10-year period (where possible) and ensure it’s registered under your company’s corporate name rather than an employee’s. We have had to help clients in the past where an employee has registered domains in their own name, and getting the domain back can be tricky and sometimes near impossible. But rest assured, this is one of the many issues we can help to solve.
It is essential to safeguard your brand’s digital identity against potential risks. Here are some of the typical threats that can pose a danger to your brand:
Identity Theft: Cybercriminals can steal your personal information and create fraudulent digital identities that can be used for malicious activities such as accessing your bank accounts or committing online fraud. You must safeguard your personal information and monitor your accounts regularly.
Phishing Scams: It's important always to be cautious of fraudulent attempts to obtain your sensitive information, like usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. Scammers often disguise themselves as trustworthy sources, so it's crucial to stay vigilant and protect your digital identity and online accounts from potential threats.
Data Breaches: Your sensitive information can be accessed or stolen by unauthorised parties through data breaches, which can compromise your digital identity and lead to identity theft. You must protect your sensitive data and regularly monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
Social Engineering: Scammers may use psychological manipulation to trick you into revealing sensitive information or performing actions against your best interests. Social engineering can compromise your digital identity by tricking you into revealing passwords or other sensitive information.
An example of social engineering is when a hacker sends an email that appears to be from a trustworthy source, such as a bank or courier. The email might contain a link to a fake login page that looks identical to the legitimate one. When the victim enters their login credentials, the hacker captures their information and can use it to access the victim's account and steal their sensitive information.
Being hacked can go unnoticed; hackers may use tactics like spoofing email addresses or misspellings to pose as legitimate contacts. This happens more than you think; here’s an article outlining the most prolific attacks of 2022. (The Biggest Phishing Breaches of 2022)
Reputation Damage: Negative online reviews, comments, or other types of content can damage your brand, negatively impacting your reputation and potentially leading to financial or social consequences.
By being aware of the potential risks and following these foundational practices, you can start to protect yourself and others around you online.
Here are some steps you can take to build a defence plan to safeguard their digital identities:
Authentication Methods: You should use secure authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, to ensure that only authorised individuals can access sensitive information and accounts.
Security Protocols: Implementing security protocols, such as SSL encryption and firewalls is essential to protect against data breaches and hacking attempts.
Employee Education: You should train your employees on best online security practices, such as identifying and avoiding phishing scams and preventing social engineering attacks and creating strong passwords such as using alphanumeric characters (a-z, 1-9) and special characters like (“!?*$£%”).
Access: You must limit access to sensitive information and accounts only to authorised personnel and ensure that access is revoked when employees leave the company.
Review and Update Security: You should periodically review and update security measures to ensure they remain effective against new and evolving threats.
Privacy Policies: You should use privacy policies and obtain consent from customers to collect and use their personal information.
Partner with Service Providers: When looking for a reliable third-party service provider to safeguard your digital brand identity, consider partnering with a company like Safenames.
You can start today and take several proactive steps to protect your digital brand identity. First, secure your domain name with a reputable registrar (safenames.net); make sure the right person registers the domain and it’s registered under a corporate entity. Ensure it’s a secure domain registrar that offers additional security features, such as two-factor authentication. A common authenticator used is Google authenticator.
Second, use strong passwords for all your online accounts and consider using a password manager such as LastPass or NordPass to store and manage your passwords securely. Implement security measures like SSL encryption to protect your website and online accounts from hacking attempts and data breaches.
Third, to safeguard your digital identities, tools like Google Alerts or a more advanced tool to use would be our Mark Protect brand protection tool. Our tool monitors and detects trademark infringements across the internet.
Fourth step is to educate your employees on the significance of digital identity and the potential risks of personal online activities and encourage them to follow the best security practices while online.
Final step is to schedule a free Brand Protection consultation to protect your digital brand identity before it becomes compromised. By being proactive, you can prevent potential harm and maintain a strong online presence.