Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
Ever click on a link from an email or while surfing and something just wasn’t right? The domain name in the address bar looked like a letter or two off? A misspell? Maybe it had a number tossed in there for good measure? This is either cybersqautting or typosquatting and its a problem.
Cybersquating is the act of procuring someone elses trademarked brand name online as a dot com or any other US based extension.
Cyber squatters squat for many reasons including impostering for fun, hoping to resell the domain, using the domain to advertise competitors wares, stalking, harassment or outright fraud.
Grabbing someone’s given name is also a form of cybersquatting and is happening in social networks and on Twitter. Twitter is affected by Twittersquatting where peoples names and an estimated top 100 brands have been hijacked.
There are also bunches of Kevin Mitnicks ( hacker) on Facebook that even prevented the Gent from accessing his own Facebook account. Facebook fixed the problem after Mitnick rightfully bitched then CNET made a call. Then Facebook listened. Facebook said “We are very aggressive in fostering and enforcing our real name culture and sometimes we make mistakes. But it’s rare, and it’s been fixed.”
Cybersquatting is also done maliciously for fraud. The Identity Thieves will jack a domain similar to that of a bank and create a spoofed site for phishing. Often if the domain isnt available, then the next best thing is Typosquatting. Annualcreditreport.com was a victim of that. More than 200 domains were snapped up right after the site launched.
This is just one more reason to protect yourself from identity theft.
Back in the day, I was accused of cybersquatting! Here. I wasn’t I swear! Back in the early 90’s with my IBM PS1 Consultant 3.1 Microsoft operating system and a rockin 150mb hard drive, I bought me up some domains as well. Some that I sold, others I regrettably gave up and one that will haunt me till the day I die.
I owned LEDZEPPELIN.com for about 5-6 years. Led Zeppelin then and now is my band, and as a fan I bought the domain as a keepsake. I would get emails from people globally like “I am Paulo from Brazil, I love the Led Zep!”
Then when Clinton passed a law later making cybersquatting illegal, I knew it was a matter of time. I had it for 5 years before anyone from the bands team of lawyers approached me on it. And when they did I didn’t know how to handle it. And my lawyer at the time even less so. Ultimately I gave it up without a fight on my part, but I’m sure the bands lawyers billed them for the 1 inch thick book of a lawsuit I was served with. Sorry dudes. My bad.
In this case the lawyers saw an opportunity to build a case against me, a fan that would have been happy with a stupid guitar pick from Jimmy. Instead I sat in silence for a year while they built a huge case as to why they should own the domain. When served, I freaked and called them yelling to take it, I never wanted that.
One of few regrets. But I have a nice 1 inch thick book about me and the band and why I’m an idiot.
Anyways back to cybersquatting. A recent report from the NY Times sourced MarkMonitor, a domain name seller and company that protects brands names from misuse, tracked an 18 percent rise in incidence of cybersquatting.
Which means as a brand or individual (or band, eesh) get your name on social network sites or domain name NOW. Then get your kids names as well.
Because they may be Zeppelin famous and have to fight a twit like me.
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing DNS issues Here
I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information