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Why brand protection is critical to your cybersecurity strategy

The damage cyberattacks can have on any brand is incalculable. From data breaches to financial and reputational harm, we all know how ruthless bad actors can be. The argument for cybersecurity is clear – but how does brand protection fit in? Here’s why it should become an integral part of your corporate cybersecurity strategy.

The risks of cybersecurity

When it comes to a classic cyberattack, there are three clear casualties in any brand’s fallout:

  • First and foremost, there is the data breach itself, which harms both users and the business – and can ultimately prove to be an existential threat.
  • Second, there is the financial impact, which can leave organisations haemorrhaging money.
  • And finally, there is the reputational damage which can diminish a brand’s image in seconds.

While all three elements are vital for any brand to protect, when it comes to cybersecurity brand protection measures are often overlooked or reactive.

Indeed, while CEOs rightly focus on protecting their data security, thereby ensuring their financial bottom line, the value of proactive online brand protection should not be underestimated. From enforcing key digital assets worldwide, including intellectual property, to monitoring distribution networks, reputational risks and more, effective brand protection covers the core external threats your business can face from bad actors every day.

Whether acting as an insurance policy or part of a managed global fightback, given a brand’s image is the lifeblood of any business, we believe the role brand protection plays in cybersecurity is something every organisation should consider.

So how do cyberattacks damage your brand – and how can brand protection defences be improved? Here are a few ways where it can help.

Brand attacks

When it comes to how cybercriminals can damage your brand online, they are often divided into three key types. Covered below, take a look at how your brand may be targeted today:

Brand impersonation attacks

Brand impersonation attacks occur when an infringer directly mimics a brand’s online presence in order to trick consumers and steal their credentials (be it data, money or both). Though this can occur in many ways, the most common tactic is to create a near-identical replica of a brand’s official site, before luring customers towards it through phishing or social media advertising.

In many cases, this includes impersonating a brand’s domain name in the URL itself, with only a minor typo or unofficial top-level domain – for example .de versus .com – indicating something’s amiss from the real thing. In terms of visuals, the fake website will likewise mirror its genuine counterpart almost exactly – meaning it takes a highly experienced individual to notice the difference.

These attacks are rife today and can cause serious brand damage. What’s more, for organisations which do nothing, this negative impact is only amplified by disgruntled customers unhappy they’ve been caught out without warning. Indeed, when this occurs, many will often go directly to brands to claim back their lost money – leaving the genuine company having to fork up a replacement or refund to mitigate further fallout.

Social media spoofing

As a corporate communications vehicle, social media allows brands to directly engage with customers, promote new products and make company announcements. Unfortunately, cybercriminals understand this power and will often use fake social media accounts to promote infringing goods, disseminate harmful content and carry out attacks on brands’ customers and followers.

Whether aping your brand or claiming false affiliation, typical infringements range from spoofing the legitimate brand itself, implying an official partnership or even impersonating individuals, including prominent figures such as a CEO.

Once established, cybercriminals will post messages which are harmful to followers and customers. In brand protection terms, these are often linked with consumer incentives to (unknowingly) purchase counterfeits directly and visit dangerous sites designed to harvest their data. What’s more, many malicious actors will also create content purely to damage a brand’s reputation – from misleading information to destructive messaging.

These attacks can be very harmful to a brand because their valued customers and followers suffer the consequences. When customers are duped by scams, they will also often ask the genuine brand why they are not taking more steps to monitor, identify and shutdown fake social media accounts.

Reputational damage

Another critical consequence that can occur from cyberattacks relates to reputation damage. There is no way to prevent every single cyberattack, so organisations must prepare for how to mitigate them when they do occur.

When an organisation suffers a cyberattack, it can cause catastrophic damage. Traditionally, this will involve customer data loss, downtime which impacts services and negative media attention. Each factor attracts significant brand damage which can shatter customer trust and even cause a brand’s share price to fall.

Though company-wide cyberattacks can present the most serious threat to internal security, the dangers of external attacks should not be underestimated. Allowing bad actors to use and abuse your intellectual property, spread misinformation, sell dangerous goods and scam customers each undermine the integrity of your brand’s reputation, leading to financial insecurity and the devaluing (or even loss) of key brand assets.

To ensure online integrity, cybersecurity alone is not enough to protect your brand’s reputation and security – which is where dedicated brand protection specialists come in.

Building brand protection into corporate cybersecurity strategies

Given the inherent risks of inaction, organisations must embed brand protection into their cybersecurity strategies – but what are the best steps they can take?

When it comes to protecting against brand-destroying cyberattacks, organisations must focus on how they can build defensive tools against these and embed them into their overall cybersecurity strategies.

By implementing tools like SnapDragon’s AI-powered Swoop technology, organisations can protect their online environments against impersonation threats, including domain and social media spoofing. Our innovative AI solution complements existing security tools by scraping the internet for fraudulent domains and webpages, ensuring they can be identified and removed before causing harm. What’s more, our dedicated brand protection specialists provide an added layer of human expertise, helping you navigate the biggest threats – and opportunities – you face online.

Another brand protection benefit is about ensuring a clean online presence, free from intellectual property infringement. In cybersecurity terms, this can mean identifying and removing fakes on ecommerce platforms, analysing authorised seller compliance and much more. These measures offer much-needed transparency to your distribution channel and support your IP from abuse or mismanagement, ensuring it works hard to protect your business.

A final key element of brand protection also comes down to reputation management. A fundamental aspect of protecting your brand and consumers online, this must be fed into your cybersecurity strategy and incident response planning. Indeed, by working proactively before breaches or infringements occur, online brand protection not only support cybersecurity efforts, it helps mitigate risk and minimise losses.

By building brand protection into your cybersecurity strategy, businesses can combat online threats wherever they emerge, ensuring a proactive approach which bolsters their reach, reputation and IP security. For further insights on how online brand protection can support your cybersecurity, contact us now.


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