Rise in domain-related cyber attacks in 2020, says Clarivate report - The EE

Rise in domain-related cyber attacks in 2020, says Clarivate report

Jeff Roy of Clarivate

Clarivate Plc, a provider of trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, has released a new report that explores the role of domains in IP management as well as the most significant domain challenges now and into the future.

2021 Global Business Survey: The growing role of domains in IP’ surveyed IT, legal and marketing decision makers worldwide and revealed a third of organisations suffered a cyber attack on their domains last year. Domain security is cited as the biggest challenge in domain management by over half (56%) of all respondents.

Security: A dominant domain management issue

The global pandemic has accelerated digitalisation efforts worldwide. 70% of new value created in the coming decade is estimated to come from digitally enabled platforms. However, digitalisation has made intellectual property in the digital space, such as domains, a target for cyber crime. According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), cybersquatting case filing has surged during the global pandemic.

As a result, organisations have boosted their investment in domain management in order to secure those domains that are of paramount importance to their operations. 52% of respondents were spending more than $25,000 (€20713.37)annually managing domain portfolios in 2020, up from 39% in 2019.

The most popular methods used to secure domains have evolved. While two-factor authentication remains the most popular option, increasing from 41% in 2019 to 53% in 2020, registry locking leapfrogged into third place, up substantially to 39% in 2020 compared to 28% in the previous year, reflecting a growing understanding and awareness of registry locks.

Furthermore, organisations realise that external expertise can help them navigate today’s domain security challenges, particularly so with global domain ownership. However, 41% of respondents cited difficulties in overseeing security of numerous global domains and identifying trusted, reputable registrars or providers in each global region.

Protecting brand value with domain management

With the steady rise in cybersquatting case filings observed by WIPO, organisations are prioritising brand protection to mitigate the growing risks of infringement, fraud and other abuse. Mitigating brand abuse is the biggest motivator driving domain registrations, according to 50% of respondents in 2020, a significant rise from 27% in 2019.

The volume of domains organisations own has direct implications on their brand value. Organisations are making use of defensive domain names by redirecting them to their main websites to capture more traffic.

Even merely defensive domain names can present security risks, ranging from DNS compromise to email spoofing if not configured correctly and managed securely. 72% of respondents indicated they have at least one inactive domain, 47% have more than 10 and nearly a fifth (19%) have more than 50.

Strategic value of new gTLDs

As domain strategies evolve, so does usage of new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) within domain portfolios. Companies are moving beyond legacy gTLDs such as .com, .net or .org, and deploying new gTLDs including apple.store (Apple) and adidas.clothing (Adidas). In fact, more organisations have registered a new gTLD such as .clothing, .software and .consulting in 2020, with 53% doing so compared to 39% in 2019.

The purpose for registering new gTLDs is maturing. While in 2019, respondents’ most common reason for registering a new gTLD was to further brand awareness (38%), in 2020, capitalising on potential commercial opportunity was the most cited factor (27%). This marks a positive shift as organisations move beyond building awareness to grasping the commercial potential and strategic value of new gTLDs.

Jeff Roy, president, IP Group, Clarivate, says, “In today’s global, digitally-driven economy, domains are valuable IP assets and key to successful e-commerce strategies. Our research shows that organisations not only understand the commercial value of domains, they are also adopting a strategic view of their domain portfolios.

As a recognised industry leader and ICANN-accredited registrar since 1999, we are committed to helping our customers maximise the full potential of their domain portfolios with our unmatched expertise, superior security and singular focus on customer delight, enabling them to go to market faster, while reducing risks. Our end-to-end intellectual property expertise allows companies to make smart and informed business decisions to take new products to market faster and to protect their existing IP assets.”

Download ‘2021 Global Business Survey: The growing role of domains in IP’.

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