A website’s domain name is the address users key into the browser when they want to visit your site. It’s like your business name, without which people wouldn’t be able to reach you. Since your domain name is your business identity, you should protect it from hackers. If a cybercriminal gains control of your domain, they will likely corrupt your online activities. Here is a look at what domain hijacking is and how you can prevent it.
What Is Domain Hijacking?
Buying a domain is similar to buying a car or house. It bears your name, and you have the right to use it for your website. However, hackers use unethical means to access your domain and transfer the ownership to someone else. This phenomenon is called domain hijacking.
Domain hijacking arises when a hacker exploits a cyber security loophole in a domain name registrar or has access to your email address and can crack the password to your domain name registrar.
A hacker can also hijack your domain by gathering all information about you and impersonating you to convince the domain registrar to change your registration details. Other means of domain hijacking include domain-registration vulnerability, email vulnerability, phishing attempts, and keyloggers that steal login passwords. When hackers have access to a domain name, they can use it for social engineering scams, spam campaigns, and other criminal activities.
How To Protect Your Domain Name From Hackers
The best preventative measure against domain hijacking is building a solid defense against malicious acts. Here are some steps you can take to prevent domain hijacking.
1. Find A Good Domain Registrar
There are different domain registrars to choose from. Many people tend to choose registrars based on their prices. However, apart from price, your choice of a domain registrar should be influenced by security features. For example, you should choose a domain registrar that provides efficient DNS management and round-the-clock technical support.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Don’t use dictionary-based words when setting your domain registrar account password. Also, avoid birthdays, anniversaries, and common names. A strong password should have a combination of capital and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. It’s advisable to use a password generator to get harder to predict passwords.
Make sure you change your passwords every 90 days. Additionally, you should activate two-factor authentication on your domain account. This secures you even if a hacker gains access to your password because they won’t be able to access your account until they enter the security code sent to your email address or phone.
3. Increase Overall Protection
Apart from two-factor authentication, the other way to boost the security of your domain account is by enabling WHOIS protection and domain locking.
When a person wants to acquire a domain or know whether it’s taken, they visit the WHOIS database. This is an easy way to reach the domain name holder. Therefore, enable WHOIS protection to limit the amount of personal information on the internet like your country of residence, home address, and contact number. This measure also secures you from social engineering attacks.
Domain locking is another feature you should enable to prevent domain hijacking. This feature blocks cybercriminals from transferring your domain name to another registrar.
4. Beware Of Phishing Or Scam Emails
Hackers deliver phishing emails by using a trusted sender’s email address. For example, to make it look like an email is coming from the New York Times, attackers will use emails like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you come across emails asking you for your username and password or to click on a link, be alarmed. Ensure you reach out to the domain registrar or technical support to determine if it’s a scam email.
5. Don’t Keep Domain Information In Emails
Over 20 million Gmail and Yahoo hacked accounts have been on sale on the dark web in recent years. Therefore, there is a chance that your email account can be hacked. Don’t store your domain account login credentials in your email to avoid domain hijacking. If your domain provider sends sensitive information to your email, move this information to a secure location.
How To Act If Your Domain Is Hijacked
If your company’s domain is hijacked, contact a cybersecurity firm so they can investigate the incident. The security experts will find out what happened and provide remedies for remediation.
Alternatively, you can contact your domain registrar. The registrar can help reverse the domain to your control. Suppose the domain was transferred to another registrar. In that case, your domain registrar can reclaim ownership of the name by implementing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) dispute resolution policy. You may also contact ICANN’s abuse desk for assistance in recovering your domain.
Domain hijacking can disrupt your business activities, especially if it catches you unprepared. As a business, take the appropriate measures to protect your practice from cybersecurity threats like domain hijacking. Follow the above preventative measures and contact a cybersecurity firm for advice on additional ways to secure your website against cyber-criminal activities.