Brand protection


How to Keep Your Brands Safe Online: Problems and Solutions

What are the threats to your brand online? In what ways can image security and ad safety be incorporated into your brand protection strategy? Over time, your new business will develop a reputation. Sadly, one of the risks of business success is the possibility of plagiarism, hacking, and data loss. Once you become a household name, consumers are more likely to purchase your well-established brand. With fame comes responsibility such as fending off counterfeit criminals who seek to capitalize on your brand name. This article discusses how digital images and digital advertising can hurt the reputation of your brand. Furthermore, we demonstrate how a combination of security against image theft and contextual targeting can provide robust security. What is brand protection? Brand protection is a security measure to guard against pirates, counterfeiters, and intellectual property infringers. You can use it to protect your company’s image, reputation, and revenue. Intellectual property (IP) includes creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, as well as symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Brand infringement or brand abuse results from this unauthorized use. It can take various forms, ranging from counterfeiting to copyright infringement to brand impersonation. These tactics are designed to accomplish the same goal, which is allowing bad actors to exploit your brand’s reputation for their own benefit. The obvious consequence of this is the loss of revenue. What is arguably more important is that it can lead to trust erosion in your brand – and this can be devastating and lost lasting. Why protecting your brand online should be a matter of concern for you? Despite its widespread nature, brand abuse is well-established due to the rise of the internet. According to recent statistics, the global counterfeit goods market is estimated to grow to 2.8 trillion dollars by 2022. Through online shopping and auction fraud, UK residents alone lost £69 million last year. Because of the impersonal nature of online shopping and the internet’s global reach, fraudsters have been able to reach millions. Buying a product or service before e-commerce usually meant inspecting the product or speaking to a professional in person. It’s clear, though, that in modern times, we feel far more comfortable basing our buying decisions on what we see on screens with global retail e-commerce sales going from $1.34 trillion to $4.28 trillion by 2020. Can we really blame a less risk-aware shopper for clicking on the ‘buy’ button if the listing on a well-established e-commerce platform shows the correct logos, colors, designs, and sizes of a well-known brand? Digital images are used to abuse brands In order to convince online shoppers that a product is authentic, digital images are crucial. In a study, for example, 90% of shoppers rated the quality of photos as extremely or very important in their buying decisions. Figures like these highlight the importance of professionally taken images when it comes to building trust. Moreover, the threat goes beyond e-commerce listings. A fraudster could easily create a fake social media account, or even an entire imitation website, with high-quality, official brand photography freely available online. There are 137 million fake Facebook profiles, 5% of all Facebook profiles, and three billion phishing emails that typically send users to scam websites every day, which shows the scope of the problem. Damage to digital advertising Digital advertising is also a potential threat to your brand’s reputation – as reported by 99% of advertisers. Programmatic advertising has nearly eliminated human intervention in the ad-selection process. This complete automation has, on the one hand, improved efficiency for advertisers. On the other hand, it has resulted in a reduction in quality control, leading to big problems for both advertisers and publishers. Poor placement of ads Badly placed ads have become a common occurrence due to the ever-increasing complexity of online advertising. Only 2.8% of participants felt the last digital ad they saw was relevant, according to a study. It usually involves an ad showing up next to inappropriate content, and while it’s possible to find humour in unfair placements, there’s also a much more serious side. In a study, 70% of UK and 62% of US consumers said they would stop using a brand’s goods if its ads were near unsafe material. Ad placement, therefore, plays a critical role in the success of your advertising and, in turn, the protection of your brand. Errors in retargeting In retargeting, cookies are used to target users who have left a website without converting. You may have noticed that you were being retargeted online after searching for something one day and afterward seeing it everywhere. In some cases, digital advertising can be extremely effective, but it has some flaws. As an example, you may have rethought your decision since you visited the website, or you may have already bought the product in a store. It could even refer to a personal or sensitive product that you would prefer not to be reminded of. In either case, the outcome results in a disgruntled user, which is bad for advertisers and publishers alike. Bad ads Although bad content can have a detrimental effect on a brand’s digital ads, it can also work in the opposite direction. Ads with poor quality can be equally damaging to carefully curated content. In the digital world, the term ‘bad ads’ refers to digital ads that create a bad user experience. They may contain offensive or inappropriate content, advertise fraudulent products or services, or spread malware through a practice known as malvertising. Ads that do not work are problematic. Google alone removed and blocked 3.4 billion bad ads in 2021. Such an issue presents a real threat. Programmatic advertising’s anonymity allows bad actors to distribute this type of ad without being detected, so it’s imperative that you take the necessary security measures to protect your brand. Secure images to prevent brand abuse Securing all imagery associated with your product or service is an essential component of any brand protection strategy. The right protection prevents

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Are You Being Impersonated on Social Media? You’ll Need to Know This!

The security of your customers is of the utmost importance to you and your organization. Consequently, cyber scams like brand impersonation and social frauds can and do harm businesses of all sizes. Approximately $5.3 billion has been lost worldwide as a result of impersonation attacks, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). If you steal sensitive information and money from your clients, this can erode their confidence in your organization and ultimately impact their trust in you. Here, we’ll examine the different types of impersonation and how brands can combat them. How does social media impersonation work? Impersonation or identity theft occurs when a person, company, or organization’s name, image, or other identifying information is used to commit fraud. In general, it refers to the act of pretending to be someone else on social media platforms. The practice of impersonating a brand or person on social media differs from other legitimate uses, including fan accounts, parodies, and information pages. Types of impersonation There are many forms of impersonation, from phishing scams to full-blown online fraud where you buy products from illegitimate sellers. Scammers often impersonate brands in these ways: Phishing: It is common for scammers to impersonate brands (or their employees) in order to obtain sensitive customer information, such as social security numbers, passwords, or bank account information. Among the industries most affected by these practices are the financial sector (particularly FinTech companies that tend to interact with their users on social networks). Counterfeiting: Brands’ fake pages are intended to deceive their consumers by selling inauthentic products. They often operate through aggressive advertising campaigns directed at brand consumers, redirecting them to a website outside the social network where the transaction occurs. Despite its relevance in a multitude of industries, this practice is particularly prevalent in the luxury and fashion sectors. Fake news: Accounts impersonating politicians, celebrities, public institutions, advertising agencies, and others, are used to spread false news and information. Scams: A lot of frauds on the Internet (coupons, romance fraud, 491 scams, account takeover, etc.) originate from identity theft through social networks. How do impersonators operate? Impersonators operate in different ways depending on their social network, their objectives, and their sophistication. It has been observed that different impersonation attacks exhibit some common behaviors: The number of impersonations a brand suffers and its social media presence are usually correlated. In one sense, brands without official accounts are often easy targets for fraudsters, who will attempt to exploit this gap to deceive their followers. Conversely, brands with more presence (followers, posts, campaigns, etc.) are also prime targets for impersonators, as they know there is a large base of customers to rip off. The impersonators often use the same photos, names, descriptions, posts, hashtags, etc. As the official accounts. Other common tactics include impersonating “support” or “customer service” pages, as well as running raffles and promotions. A few posts do not guarantee that a given account is risk-free: it could be sending private messages or running aggressive ad campaigns on the social network and redirecting those affected to external web pages. In some social networks, it takes several days for newly created accounts to appear in search results. During these periods, the most sophisticated impersonators launch very aggressive attacks, often through ad campaigns targeted directly at consumers of the brand. The type of social network strongly determines the type of impersonation. The likelihood of impersonating brand executives or employees is higher on social networks such as LinkedIn. The majority of impersonations on social networks such as Facebook occur through “Pages”, although sometimes they occur through “Profiles”, “Groups” or “Events”. In order to correctly identify the different types of impersonation, it is important to understand how each platform works and its audience. Is there a way to stop social media impersonation? The majority of platforms offer reporting tools for those affected, but they usually leave it up to brands to identify and report any impersonation. It is clear that the first piece of advice is to be proactive since no one will solve your problem for you. When dealing with social impersonation, the following considerations should be kept in mind: Automation: It is imperative that technology is used for daily tracking and reporting of violations in very serious cases. The key to detecting and reporting these accounts is consistency and speed. This prevents them from growing their follower base and causing damage. Broad Keywords: Additionally, searches should be conducted for all variations of the brand name (misspellings, separations, alphanumeric combinations, etc.). Observe hashtags and keywords frequently used by the brand. Logo recognition: The use of image and logo recognition models can help to identify the presence of logos and other distinctive brand signs in profile pictures, thereby eliminating false positives and determining criticality. Risk & Similarity scores: When prioritizing and choosing the best enforcement strategy, algorithms can help identify the importance of an account and the risk of confusion with an official account based on its parameters (name, description, photos, followers and followers, posts, opening date, etc.). As part of a comprehensive brand protection strategy, websites, domain names and app stores should be monitored in addition to social media. Conclusion Social media impersonation is a growing problem that affects thousands of brands and individuals across most platforms. There are risks involved, including loss of revenue and traffic, as well as reputational issues and loss of consumer trust. In order to identify and remove such infringements as quickly as possible, brands must take a proactive approach to the problem. Technology and expertise in intellectual property enforcement are key elements to ensure this strategy’s success. Your customers and reputation can be protected with mFilterIt’s Impersonation Removal solution, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify and remove fake websites, apps, and domains.

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