"Brandjacking" threatens media, online firms, says report

Corporate brands face multi-pronged assaults from fraudulent online attackers, according to a report quoted by a Reuters report.

The Reuters report quoted MarkMonitor, which supplies Internet brand protection services to companies, as saying that cybersquatting, in which illicit sites usurp popular trademarks false association, phishing and clickfraud remain a major threat.

The Reuters report said MarkMonitor's 'Brandjacking Index' also found that cybersquatting posed the greatest threat to brands.

Phishing, the criminal use of email to trick consumers into divulging passwords, credit cards and other personal details, and domain 'kiting,' the rapid registering and dropping of similar- sounding Web site names, are on the rise, the report said.

The study tracked daily mentions on 134 million public Web records for the world's top 25 brands, along with major brands from eight industrial categories such as autos, apparel, food and high-tech, the report said.

MarkMonitor found major brands suffered, on average, 286,000 examples of cybersquatting during over the four-week long survey, far and away the most common abuse detected, the Reuters report further said.

The report further said MarkMonitor cited media and Internet companies are the biggest targets of cybersquatting, while banks and other financial services are the mostly likely victims of kiting and phishing.

Media and Internet brands are the most attractive targets, drawing 31% of what MarkMonitor collectively terms 'brand abuse,' the report further said.