That sound you hear is a bunch of the staffers at jeb2016.com (the official Jeb Bush website) trying to make it seem like they are on top of their web presence. Or is that the Trump team, laughing? We can't be sure.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that people who type "jebbush.com" into a browser found themselves redirected to Donald Trump's official site, donaldjtrump.com. You read that right -- one of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States has found himself on the wrong side of one of the most basic domain abuse issues. Someone else has registered a similar domain and is using it to confuse the public. Try it: jebbush.com (It's fun!)
Yes, it's funny for a moment. But in reality it is very scary. In fact, it is potentially devastating.
The massive breach at Anthem earlier this year originated from spear phishing emails that were sent from domains that impersonated Anthem. The employees who recieved the emails did not notice that the emails originated from a rogue address. They unwittingly opened attachments or clicked on links that gave the attackers inside access to Anthem networks.
When others appropriate your web presence by registering or appropriating a similar or easily mistaken domain, they put themselves in a position to confuse your message, siphon revenues or worse.
How big a problem can it be?...
Look no further than candidate Bush: as part of an ongoing investigation of web fraud and domain abuse in the 2016 Presidential elections, the BrandProtect team recently detected that there were over 860 different domains that incorporate the Jeb Bush name. That represents 860 possible ways for the candidate's messages to be distorted. Over 60 of these copycat and rogue domains take advantage of the newly authorized gTLDs (.money, .miami, .expert, .xxx., etc....) Download the InfoGraphic
Just imagine the reputational risk the Bush team faces. What would happen if one of those rogue websites started soliciting campaign funds, or campaign volunteers? Or started to generate outbound emails to families with its own special spin on the Bush platform?
The answer is very simple of course. And very basic. Monitor for rogue domains. When you find them, take them down.
If you have a reputation or online community of users, partners or employees that you want to keep safe from social risk, take the time to monitor for copycat and rogue domains. It's not just a problem for politicians. It's a huge problem for businesses. If you are a CISO, Reputation Officer, Legal Counsel, CMO, of HR professional, it's a big problem for you.
At BrandProtect, we take domain fraud seriously.
We service companies that take domain fraud seriously.