Brand protection in online world a major concern for enterprises
Diverse reputation protection services are now a reality but corporate mindset is slow to adapt
"The fundamental problem is that there is no quality control of content on the Internet." says Graham Titterington, Principle Analyst and information security specialist at Ovum and author of the report. "The corporate mindset has been slow to adapt to the changing world. New techniques are needed to detect attacks and defend reputation in the online world, even when the remedy requires conventional legal action."
The Internet is now a major channel for the sale of fake branded goods, which in some cases results in danger to the customer. Copyright and trademark infringement are commonplace. Businesses have suffered real damage as a result of false allegations spread on the Internet. The annual revenue of online counterfeiting fraudsters has been estimated at $110 bn (source MarkMonitor).
Another aspect of online counterfeiting is represented by the misuse of a web domain name. The attacker sets up a website with a similar name to that of a legitimate organisation with the deliberate intention of deceiving visitors. It extends to virtual services offered by fraudsters on the Web purporting to be the legitimate organisation. The issue will become more prominent as the Web becomes more interactive.
A niche group of service providers has grown up to monitor the Internet for these offences and initiate enforcement action both at the ISP level and in the physical world. "For example MarkMonitor is a niche vendor offering services in domain management, online trademark protection, online channel monitoring, and anti-phishing. Larger IT vendors also offer protection services, such as IBM's COBRA alerting service."
However, according to Ovum countering bad publicity needs a more subtle approach. Debate has to be matched by a positive involvement in online discussion forums. The wider issues of reputation abuse need to be tackled by a combination of prevention, detection and reaction. The first stage in protection is the registration of trademarks, domain names and intellectual property. Web monitoring can detect early stages in the development of an attack strategy. More detailed detection requires the co-operation of ISPs in identifying the use of specific IP addresses and their ownership. Reaction includes, forensic analysis, the issuing of legal notices and follow up action, and the closure of web sites and IP addresses that are engaging in illegal activity.
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Ovum has developed long-standing relationships with many of its corporate clients, which include major international blue-chip companies such as Alcatel, AT&T, BT, Cable & Wireless, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Telecom, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Telstra and Vodafone.
Ovum is part of the Datamonitor Group, which is wholly owned by Informa plc.