Messaging is a broad area that covers various transit methods commonly used by people on the internet these days. Based on this definition, it covers a variety of areas like E-Mail and Instant Messaging platforms that are used by the public. These are important in the context of criminal activity as transit methods are an important tool for criminals to get their message out to their victims and therefore they play a part in an attack on your brand.
Many organisations have taken steps to protect their brands against misuse but its nearly impossible to avoid getting impersonated if someone decides they want to either target your brand or use your brand to lend credibility to an attack. If and when this happens, dealing with the communications that are sent as part of an attack are incredibly important. In the context of email, the fake email could be impersonating someone in your company or it could be impersonating one of your departments for the sole purpose of trying to coerce the recipient to go to a Phishing page or download some Malware and essentially give up their personal or financial information.
As life moves beyond the sphere of email into the realms of instant messaging, you need to be conscious of threats that can be coming from those platforms. Typically, individual or whole-brand impersonation occurs here in order for the criminal to use that as an additional distribution point for their attack. As consumers and businesses learn to trust these environments, it provides a useful place for criminals to deliver their message instantly. Additionally, these platforms give even more credibility to the source as they can impersonate your brand in the profile making it difficult for the recipient of their message to distinguish between the real brand and the fake one.
How We Can Help Protect You
When a fraudulent email address, instant messaging account or phone number is located, SiteTakeDown will investigate each incident to assess what activity is occurring using that medium. Once we can establish that it is being used in a fraudulent manner we will notify the you and once confirmed begin our takedown procedure for that account, email or number. This will generally consist of an instant messaging account, email address or number that is sending our message trying to get users to click on a link or reply with sensitive information. In both instances, it is highly probably that the sender will be impersonating your business in some way. Generally, two kinds of abuse:
- Brand Impersonation accounts
- Accounts sending malicious content or links
The primary focus when dealing with Messaging is to focus attention on the primary platforms and providers. The reasoning behind this is that criminals actively seek exposure and credibility for the distribution of their impersonation and therefore the main providers will be their focus.
As always, SiteTakeDown works in partnership with its clients and will take appropriate action if any messaging profile is sent through for assessment and takedown from our clients.
Our goal is always to have the offending account removed regardless of the platform or messaging medium but the results will vary from platform to platform. (i.e. Skype will take action on a malicious account but it will take several weeks before the offending account is removed from their public directory).
The manual scanning process conducted by our teams also includes a task to follow up on previously removed incidents to identify when they are in fact removed.