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How to prevent subdomain hijacking
Impersonation Removal
4 mins

How to prevent subdomain hijacking

Table of Contents:

    Subdomain hijacking is a common cyber threat used by scammers to take advantage of brands and consumers. In recent years, more businesses have been targeted by bad actors with deceptive domain squatting and domain impersonation tactics. 

    To ensure that you can prevent or mitigate the impact of subdomain hijacking on your business, you must be informed and proactive. Even if your domain has been hijacked there are ways to recover it and safeguard your brand’s online presence. 

    In this blog, we’ll be exploring how to prevent subdomain hijacking by focussing on a few key topics, including: 

    • What is subdomain hijacking?
    • How to prevent subdomain hijacking
    • How to recover hijacked subdomains
    • How Red Points’ Domain Management Solution mitigates the risk of subdomain hijackings

    What is subdomain hijacking?

    Subdomain hijacking is a digital tactic used by online scammers to gain control of legitimate subdomains that are no longer used. They will then use these subdomains to host their own malicious or fake content. 21% of major organizations are vulnerable to subdomain hijacking and many businesses remain exposed to hijacks because of weak online security. 

    Subdomain hijackers can damage real brands by interfering with online strategies, eroding a brand’s image, misusing intellectual property (IP), and misleading consumers. More than ever, brands rely on building a strong and accessible online presence. If you allow your business to become vulnerable to subdomain hijacking your online presence will be damaged, which will impact your ability to serve your customers and grow your brand online. 

    How to prevent subdomain hijacking

    • Proactively register domain names as intellectual property

    The first step to take to prevent subdomain hijacking is to register your domain names as intellectual property. As long as your domain name is a unique internet name capable of distinguishing and identifying your services or goods from others you can register it as a trademark. 

    In the United States, you can register a trademark at the US Patent and Trademark Office. By registering your domain name as IP you will provide your business with reliable legal protection. If bad actors are aware that you are protecting your content through IP registration they may also be deterred from interfering with your domain names in the first place. 

    • Manual domain name monitoring

    You may also be able to protect your business from subdomain hijacking by conducting manual domain name monitoring. This will involve searching for relevant domain names via online domain name search tools like Whois Lookup and trying to identify whether domains related to your business have been hijacked. 

    If you can monitor domain names successfully you will be able to detect bad actors before they have done significant damage to your online brand. The downside of manual monitoring is that it is often time-consuming and expensive. 

    • Invest in an AI Domain Management Solution

    The most effective way to tackle subdomain hijacking is to invest in an artificial intelligence (AI) domain management solution. The capacity of AI to operate efficiently and accurately will help to find, monitor, and remove bad actors far easier than any manual monitoring. 

    Additionally, by investing in a holistic solution you will be able to provide your business with complete domain management. This will help you secure your online presence and deter any scammers from targeting your brand with their subdomain hijacking attacks. 

    Red Points' Domain Protection

    How to recover hijacked subdomains

    1. Identify the hijacking

    The first step to recover a hijacked subdomain is to identify that a hijacking has actually taken place. You will be able to recognize if your subdomain has been hijacked by using open-source intelligence tools to search for subdomains across multiple sources.

    You will then be verified if your subdomain has been compromised if you find that one of your domains now hosts suspicious content that wasn’t created by you. Once they have executed a hijacking attempt, bad actors will often try to take advantage of your domain by uploading malicious or fake content. 

    2. Gather evidence

    Once you have identified the hijacking you must start gathering evidence. Any evidence that you do gather will be crucial to helping you remove impersonators and tackle the hijackings. 

    You should start by collecting as much relevant information as possible via screenshots, records of communication, and other methods. This will be vital evidence that your domain provider can then use to take action.

    3. Contact your domain provider

    You must then notify your domain registrar or hosting provider that you believe someone has hijacked one of your subdomains. When you notify your domain provider you should provide them with all the relevant evidence you have gathered to support your claim. 

    4. Identify gaps in your site’s security

    Following your report to the domain provider, you should investigate the root cause of the hijacking. Are there any gaps in your website’s security? Where are the weak points? Once you have identified vulnerabilities you will then be able to implement appropriate safeguards and improve your online protection. 

    How to protect your domain from hijackers 

    Domain hijackers will try to take advantage of your business and your customers. To ensure that you can counter their efforts and protect your brand you need to use a domain protection solution that is modern and effective. This is where Red Points’ Domain Management Solution can help. 

    • Detect

    Our solution will help your business discover all the registered domains that are potentially infringing on your trademarks. You will receive an up-to-date historical list of all the domains registered using a trademark. 

    Then you will be able to monitor all the new registered domains that are using your trademark, ensuring that you have complete visibility of your online presence. This will put your brand in a good position to mitigate the risk of subdomain hijackings.

    • Claim 

    Once we’ve detected potential infringing domains we will execute resolution processes on your behalf to suspend, cancel, or recover domains. Through our platform, you can send personalized requests, negotiate, and follow up with domain owners. You will also be able to make transfer requests and submit official complaints to the relevant administrative institutions. 

    • Manage

    Then we can help you manage your domain portfolio. We allow you to identify gaps in your portfolio and put you in a position to take action. Our platform can be used to manage, acquire, and register domains with efficiency which will allow you to properly tackle the risk of domain hijackings. 

    What’s next

    Subdomain hijacking is a serious threat that you must be aware of if you want to protect your brand. Bad actors intent on domain impersonation, domain squatting, and typosquatting can only be dealt with if you are proactive and supported by smart solutions. By acting now you will be able to mitigate any risks associated with domain hijacking and start using your resources on more exciting and creative projects. 

    Red Points’ Domain Management Solution will help you mitigate the risk, and potential impact, of domain hijackings. Through our robust system of detecting and monitoring, we can find domains that take advantage of your brand and ensure that you are protected from them. With this solution, you can secure your domain portfolio from external threats and safeguard your brand from bad actors. 

    To learn more about how Red Points can help you deal with domain hijacking, get in touch with us.


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