MarkMonitor has released their Brandjacking Index 2008 report. “Brand-jacking is increasing, with online scammers actively abusing a brand’s reputation in order to build more legitimacy into their campaigns, by taking advantage of the brand’s trusted reputation” reported ZDNet on the study.The findings from the study show vendors in China, the U.S. and other countries are selling questionable aircraft components in bulk online, adding complexity to the supply chain for commercial aircraft and regulation of commercial aviation. Business-to-business channels are not the only targets for brandjackers who use online auctions to offer unusable airline vouchers to trick cost-conscience consumers out of their money and spam to infect their computers with spyware as well as to siphon business from legitimate brands.In other brandjacking trends, cybersquatting, the most pervasive form of brandjacking, grew by 40 percent in Q1 2008 with 402,882 accounts of cybersquatting, while pay-per-click fraud declined by 42 percent. Phishers target fewer new organizations and focus 90 percent of phishing activity on a small number of brands.The MarkMonitor news release is available below or from markmonitor.com/pr080602.MarkMonitor Examines Online Risks in Travel Including Scams Aimed at Online Shoppers and Sales of Questionable Aircraft Parts [news release]Spring Brandjacking Index™ also finds that cybersquatting continues to rise; phishers focus 90 percent of efforts on small, targeted group of brandsMarkMonitor®, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, today released the Spring 2008 Brandjacking Index™, measuring the effect of online threats to brands. The report investigates how the most popular brands are attacked online and the industries in which abuse is causing the most damage. This quarter, the report examines online travel scams designed to lure shoppers from legitimate eCommerce channels and the sale of questionable commercial aircraft components on business-to-business exchanges and consumer auction websites.The findings show vendors in China, the U.S. and other countries are selling questionable aircraft components in bulk online, adding complexity to the supply chain for commercial aircraft and regulation of commercial aviation. Business-to-business channels are not the only targets for brandjackers who use online auctions to offer unusable airline vouchers to trick cost-conscience consumers out of their money and spam to infect their computers with spyware as well as to siphon business from legitimate brands. In other brandjacking trends, cybersquatting, the most pervasive form of brandjacking, grew by 40 percent in Q1 2008 while pay-per-click fraud declined by 42 percent. Phishers target fewer new organizations and focus 90 percent of phishing activity on a small number of brands.”From bargain shoppers looking for vacation deals as the summer travel season approaches to major enterprises seeking increased efficiency in their value chain, the Internet is now the first port of call,” said Irfan Salim, chief executive officer, MarkMonitor. “Unfortunately, online criminals and scam artists find the Internet full of opportunities to line their pockets at the expense of leading brands and customer trust. If brandholders don’t move aggressively to protect their brands and their value chains from online risks, they put their customers, reputations and revenues at risk.”Following are select findings from the MarkMonitor Spring 2008 Brandjacking Index:Brandjackers leverage fraudulent airline voucher scams, search engine optimization and blended abuse techniques to target bargain shoppers and divert traffic from legitimate eCommerce channels
- Online auctions for fraudulent travel vouchers for leading airlines lure unsuspecting shoppers. The average discount for the more than 150 listings analyzed was 80 percent under face value. With the recent airline industry bankruptcies we may expect to see an increased incidence of online fraud related to refunds, credits and vouchers.
- Search Engine Optimization tactics are diverting Internet users searching for legitimate travel brands to illicit websites with questionable content, including adult content.
- Blended abuses target travel brands, combining multiple techniques such as spam, pay-per-click fraud and malware to put shoppers’ computers as risk for viruses and spyware.
Aircraft part sales on business-to-business exchanges and consumer auction sites raise questions, challenge traditional industry regulation and enforcement
- 24 vendors on business-to-business exchanges listed components from leading aircraft brands with minimum order quantities of over 1,900 metric tons per month. Components included valves, springs, gears, flanges, gauges, radar parts as well as “unspecified parts”.
- Unusual variations among vendor product listings, large supplies and inconsistencies in origination raise questions about the safety of this supply route for aircraft parts and efficacy of the supply chain and present new issues for industry regulation.
- 58 percent of questionable listings were with Alibaba and 41 percent of questionable listings originated from China, followed by the U.S. at 38 percent.
Cybersquatting continues to be the most prevalent form of brandjacking, while pay-per-click abuse remains low; abuse against media and automotive brands continues to rise
- On average, almost half a million instances of brand abuse were measured each week including 402,882 accounts of cybersquatting, the registration of domain names containing a brand, slogan or trademark to which the registrant has no right. Instances of cybersquatting rose 40 percent in the first quarter of 2008.
- Media brands continue to be the most targeted by brandjackers with over 40,000 instances of abuse in Q1 2008. Abuse against automotive brands increased by 99 percent since Q1 2007 to 25,792.
- Pay-per-click abuse continued to remain low in Q1 and is down 42 percent for the year. This form of brandjacking has experienced almost zero growth since Q2 2007. Vigilance by brandholders, regulatory changes by ICANN and policy changes by major search engines have driven the declines.
- While brand abusers can be located anywhere in the world, their top countries for website hosting remained consistent. The U.S. is home to 66 percent of websites that host brand abuse. Germany hosts 7 percent, followed by the United Kingdom at 6 percent. Canada hosts 4 percent.
Phishers demonstrate cyclical nature of “business”; 90 percent of effort focuses on small group of brands
- The number of organizations phished in Q1 remained steady over Q4 2007 at 408, representing an 8 percent rise for the year. The number of new organizations targeted by phishers decreased to 102 in Q1 2008.
- 14 organizations account for 90 percent of all phishing URLs. Eight of these organizations are based in the U.S., and six are in the United Kingdom. 11 are financial institutions.
- Phishing attacks against auction brands comprise 60 percent of all phish attacks in Q1 2008.
- Phishing attacks against retail/service brands declined by 85 percent this quarter returning to Q1 2007 levels. This trend is evidence of the seasonal rise in phishing attacks against retail brands during the pre-holiday season.
- 34 percent of phishing sites were hosted in the U.S. in Q1 2008 compared to 21 percent in Q4 2007.
- Phishing URLs continued to decline in Q1 2008, evidence of continued influence from the Rock Phish Gang.
The Brandjacking Index is an independent report produced by MarkMonitor that tracks and analyzes attacks on 30 leading global brands from the Best Global Brands study by Interbrand. The cornerstone of the report is the volume of public data analyzed by MarkMonitor using the company’s proprietary algorithms; no customer data or proprietary customer information is used to create the Brandjacking Index. MarkMonitor searches approximately 134 million public records daily for brand abuse in domain data as well as U.S. and international Patent and Trademark Office data.The report’s analysis of online travel risks is based on eight leading brands including the largest U.S. and global airline carriers, two of the most popular international travel websites, two leading international hotel chains and two global leaders in aircraft manufacturing.The phishing data MarkMonitor analyzes is based on feeds from leading international Internet Service Providers (ISPs), email providers and other alliance partners. The company has scanned billions of Web pages since November 2004 and processes up to 16 million unique suspected phishing emails daily.Note to Editors
For complete Brandjacking Index results or more information concerning methodology, contact Te Smith at 831-818-1267 / email@example.com or Jonathan Jordan at 202-370-6187 / firstname.lastname@example.org.About MarkMonitorMarkMonitor, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, offers comprehensive solutions and services that safeguard brands, reputation and revenue from online risks. With end-to-end solutions that address the growing threats of online fraud, brand abuse and unauthorized channels, MarkMonitor enables a secure Internet for businesses and their customers. The company’s exclusive access to data combined with its patented real-time prevention, detection and response capabilities provide wide-ranging protection to the ever-changing online risks faced by brands today. For more information, visit www.markmonitor.com.http://markmonitor.com/pr080602