What Is Domain Hijacking, and How Can You Protect Yourself?

When we talk about your website’s domain name, it is the web address that the audience types into their browser to visit your site. Usually, a domain name consists of a business name, and it’s a huge part of that business’ identity.

People type your domain name when they access your website. They can see it at the top of their browser every time they visit your website. Thus, you can say that it’s a valuable asset you own, without which the audience wouldn’t be able to visit your website.

Since it is a big part of business identity, you must carefully protect your domain name. This article speaks about one of the threats called domain hijacking and how you can protect yourself.

Concept of Domain Hijacking

Just like buying a car or a house, you also purchase a domain in your name and become the rightful owner. Thus you can use that domain for your website. But only this legal purchase doesn’t make it safe from hackers.

They often use a variety of illegal or unethical tactics to transfer your domain’s ownership to someone else and eventually gain control of it. This is called domain hijacking, and you should take preventive measures against it.

Since it is a structured, malicious attack with a clear intention, it can cause severe damage to your business.

How Are Domains Hijacked

Domains are often hijacked by exploiting a common cybersecurity vulnerability in a domain name registrar or illegally accessing it. Sometimes, they acquire access to the email address of the domain name owner and then change the password to the owner’s domain name registrar.

Some hackers impersonate the real domain name owner by collecting their personal information and then convincing the domain registrar for transferring the domain to another registrar under their control.

Other ways can be email vulnerability, keyloggers stealing login passwords, domain-registration vulnerability, and phishing attempts. Additionally, cyber-criminals use a target domain name for malicious purposes such as social engineering scams, launching spam campaigns, or cybercrime activities.

Consequences of Domain Hijacking
Domain hijacking is devastating for your business due to the following consequences.

• Financial Damages

E-commerce companies rely on their website for business and hence can lose millions of dollars when their domain gets hijacked. That’s why domain hijacking is considered among the largest cybersecurity risks for online businesses.

• Reputational Damages

Domain hijackers facilitate additional cyber-attacks such as social engineering attacks or installing malware by using the domain name since they can take control of your hijacked domain’s email accounts.

• Regulatory Damages

With access to your domain name, hijackers replace your actual web page with an identical one and capture personally identifiable information (PII) or sensitive data. Hijackers can target gaining unauthorized access to customer accounts or identity theft by collecting contact information, account information, personal information, social media accounts, IP addresses, or any other information.

Protecting Yourself Against Domain Hijacking

You can prevent your domain from being hijacked in several ways. Some of them are –

• Prefer a reputable domain or hosting provider

Avoid those who provide free domains or charge you very less since there are chances of security being compromised.

• Purchase and register your domain in your own name

If you’ve asked someone else to purchase a domain for you, immediately contact them and ask them to transfer it to your name.

• Avoid keeping sensitive domain information in emails

If you think your email is a safe place for keeping domain account login credentials, it’s not. Prefer a physical diary.

• Always use two-factor authentication and a strong password

You can safeguard your domain and email by using a strong password. And make sure you enable two-factor authentication.

• Never share domain details with anyone

Instead of sharing your domain details with your web designer or developer, handle the high-level domain administration activities yourself.

• Enable domain privacy protection

By enabling WHOIS protection, you can control your sensitive data from being exposed to the internet, thus protecting your domain from cyber-criminals.

Now that you are aware of how important it is to protect your domain, make sure you prevent it from being hijacked.

If you need any assistance in website designing, graphic designing, or social media marketing, reach us at NAx2 CREATIVE.