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Report: Brandjacking is everywhere

Brand protection services vendor MarkMonitor has just released a report about the growing problem of what it calls “brandjacking.”

In short, the company says, corporate brands are under increasing attack from digital miscreants and a sustained, multi-pronged onslaught is in the cards. The company said its new “Brandjacking Index” — based on a four-week survey of public Web sites — found that phishing, clickfraud and cybersquatting are among the major threats.

Cybersquatting, the unauthorized use of a brand name in a domain, is the most frequent form of abuse with more than 275,000 instances recorded, the company said. Because of the strong brand association created, cybersquatting is most often combined with another form of abuse such as e-commerce, pay-per-click fraud and kiting.

“Brand holders face a double whammy — not only is the volume of these abuses significant, but abusers are becoming alarmingly savvy marketers,” Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer for MarkMonitor, said in a statement. “Brand abusers are employing online marketing techniques such as search engine optimization to siphon traffic from reputable sites. Our analysis identifies cybersquatting as a driver leading to other abuses that further degrade brand value, customer loyalty and revenues.”

Meanwhile, the report said, phishing attacks are steadily rising and financial institutions are a big target.

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