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Does Domain Spoofing Hold the Key to All Phishing?

Domain Spoofing is one of those elements of online scamming that often gets a short mention and nothing more when it comes to online security. This is mostly because it is not addressing the most common scams like phishing emails or ransomware links. It also does not directly affect the outcome of the scam but can play a huge role if done correctly.

So, domain spoofing is like using the right hairstyle or dress to present yourself appropriately. It’s a presentation tool that can make a phishing campaign very compelling and just might get targets to click on the compromised link.

If you have not looked into domain spoofing and the dangers it can bring to your cybersecurity, here are 3 key points to consider:

Why Domain Spoofing Is important to Consider in Cybersecurity

1. Spoofing is the root of all phishing

Spoofing is the fundamental act of impersonating a brand, a domain, or a document that comes from a legit source. This is usually done so that the person being targeted by the phishing scam believes that the email or communication from the source domain is authentic. A simple spoof of a brand logo can make a very suspicious email look legitimate.

With email-based phishing attacks, domain spoofing can lend a great deal of credibility to any kind of phishing attempt. If it looks like the email is from your domain, then your usual email recipients are far more likely to click on a compromised link. This also helps them bypass certain kinds of email security measures at the server level. The dual benefit makes it an inherent part of all kinds of spoofing activities.

Spoofing as a whole underpins all kinds of communication intended to fool and scam targets. This includes new types of phishing techniques like vishing, smishing, etc. The idea is to lend credibility to any kind of communication that can be used to gain some benefit at the expense of the target. Often, scammers can use multiple phishing tactics to raise their chances of success and then use spoofing to push it through. An example of this is when an attacker combines smishing with brand logo image spoofing to make an SMS look legit. This has often been used in large volume scams ranking on the top 10 phishing hacks lists across the internet.

2. Two Types of Spoofing

Spoofing email domains primarily comes in two forms – domain server spoofing and lookalike domain spoofing. The first one is the most important since it allows hackers to use the spoofed company’s domain to target their intended victims. This is largely not something anyone can change at the client level. You must have access to the server at an IT backend level and implement anti-spoofing mechanisms which can then prevent your domain from being spoofed.

The biggest benefit of implementing anti-spoofing mechanisms is that they prevent all unauthorized email domain use. This means no one other than your authorized IP users will be able to use your domain to send emails. This eliminates email domain abuse at many levels including tactics like Business Email Compromise, Vendor Email Compromise, Brand Impersonation, Credential Phishing, and all other types of scams that can get routed through your domain.

The second type of spoofing, lookalike domain spoofing, is simpler and easy to implement. This is also called brand spoofing and it includes your company URL. So, you will have a URL that looks like it’s from your company but, in fact, is not. This is usually done so that those who are not paying attention or don’t care enough to check who actually sent the email, get easily fooled. Some hackers can simply use URL spoofing in the email body while others might buy related URL domains to make them more authentic. There is no immediate way to prevent the use of lookalike domains. This requires training employees and informing users to stay vigilant when opening emails and clicking on any links or attachments contained in such emails.

3. Reputation Compromise

The biggest issue with spoofing of any kind is reputation loss. When you have phishing emails coming from your domain, many customers and potential ones will simply not open your email ever again. They do not want to run the risk of getting spoofed and this will naturally hurt your email marketing returns and overall business growth.

Further, reputation compromise is also going to affect other aspects of your business like securing loans, hiring employees, and seeking collaborative ventures with other companies. Domain spoofing can also create legal liability for you in certain cases, which may lead to long-running legal problems as well. In short, since you use emails primarily, you cannot afford to accrue a bad reputation.

What Is the Best Way to Avoid Spoofing?

Given that there are tons of ways to spoof and scam unsuspecting clients, your company cannot cover all of them. That does not mean that you cannot cover email domain spoofing, which is one of the most prolific and damaging ways cybercriminals orchestrate phishing these days. For this, you will need the DMARC email authentication protocol implemented on your email domain server. This will enable you to monitor all outgoing emails that go through your server. You will also get the ability to authorize certain IP addresses to use your domain server exclusively.

EmailAuth is the best tool to use when implementing DMARC on your email domain servers. It offers intuitive interfacing, excellent reportage, and convenient SaaS-based models for a subscription. Get your business the email domain server security you need to prevent domain spoofing indefinitely. Get EmailAuth now!


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