• Domain hijacking also known as domain theft is abusing privileges on domain hosting software to change the registration of a domain.
  • This kind of attack can result in destructive consequences to the domain owner, especially when the hijacked domain is used for other malicious activities.

How can domain hijacking occur?

The hijacking of a domain can occur in a number of ways:

  • Unauthorizedly accessing a domain, by exploiting a vulnerability, taking over the domain name owner’s account, or by social engineering techniques, is the most common way of hijacking a domain.
  • Other ways to hijack a domain include impersonating the domain name owner to convince the domain registrar to modify information or transfer the domain to another registrar.
  • Keyloggers can be used to steal credentials. Attackers may also exploit vulnerabilities at the domain-registration level.

The consequences

The effects of domain name hijacking include financial, reputational, and regulatory damages.

  • Domain is a huge asset for many companies. Losing access to the domain may mean massive financial losses.
  • Attackers may use the hijacked domain to capture data of users that can further be used in cyberattacks such as identity theft. This means that the domain owner will suffer regulatory damages.
  • Reputation and branding go hand in hand. If the hijacker uses the domain for illegitimate activities, it can ruin the reputation of the company badly. In fact, many countries are said to hold the domain owner responsible for any attack originating from the domain.

How do you prevent this from happening?

There are a few regulations in place to prevent domain hijacking from happening, there are a few steps you can take to add more layers of security.

  • Opt for strong passwords that are unique. Remember to change your passwords regularly. This can prevent attackers from launching brute-force attacks.
  • Choose a trusted domain registrar company after carefully considering the security features it offers.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication. This makes sure that even if your password is compromised, your account will be protected by another layer.
  • Beware of phishing emails and other social engineering techniques that try to trick you into giving up login details.
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