Brand Intelligence


What is Brand Intelligence?

Brand Intelligence is a type of threat intelligence focused on the process of monitoring and analyzing online mentions and activities related to a brand.

This includes tracking fraudulent accounts, detecting any misuse or impersonation of the brand, and identifying potential threats or opportunities.

By gathering this information, companies can mitigate threats, protect their assets, and prevent brand related attacks such as domain spoofing, phishing, account takeovers, and impersonation attacks.

Why is Brand Intelligence Important?

In the context of threat intelligence, brand Intelligence is an important component for several reasons:

  1. Fraud Prevention: It helps detect fraudulent accounts, phishing websites, and other forms of brand impersonation. This is crucial for preventing scams that target customers and damage trust in the brand.
  2. Threat Detection: Brand Intelligence can identify emerging threats and vulnerabilities related to the brand, allowing organizations to take proactive measures to protect their assets.
  3. Incident Response: Timely detection of brand-related threats enables quicker incident response, minimizing potential damage and recovery time.

The most common types of Brand Abuse

The most common types of brand abuse include:

  1. Phishing Scams: Attackers create fake websites or emails that mimic a legitimate brand to trick their victims into providing sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or personal details.
  2. Domain Squatting (Cybersquatting): Malicious actors register domain names that are similar to a brand’s official website, often to deceive visitors, sell the domain at a high price, or host phishing sites.
  3. Social Media Impersonation: Fraudsters create fake social media profiles that impersonate a brand to scam followers, spread misinformation, or damage the brand’s image.
  4. Unauthorized Use of Brand Assets: Using a brand’s logo, images, or other intellectual property without permission for commercial gain or to mislead consumers.
  5. Typosquatting: Registering misspelled variations of a brand’s domain name to capture traffic from users who mistype the brand’s URL, often leading them to malicious sites.
  6. Content Scraping: Copying a brand’s online content, such as product descriptions or blog posts, and republishing it on other websites without authorization, potentially damaging the brand’s search engine rankings and credibility.
  7. SEO Manipulation: Using black hat SEO techniques to rank fake or malicious websites higher in search engine results for queries related to the brand, diverting traffic from legitimate sources.
  8. Counterfeit Products: Unauthorized entities produce and sell fake products under a brand’s name, which can damage the brand’s reputation and lead to financial losses.

Real-world examples of attacks that Brand Intelligence can prevent

  • Netflix: In 2017, a phishing campaign targeted Netflix users by sending emails from a domain that closely resembled Netflix’s official domain. The fake domain included subtle changes, such as replacing an “i” with an “l”. The emails directed users to a fake Netflix login page to steal their credentials. Brand Intelligence should be leveraged to take down lookalike domains immediately after they’re registered.
  • Twitter: In 2018, a number of Twitter accounts impersonating celebrities, including Elon Musk were created to promote cryptocurrency scams. These fake accounts would reply to Musk’s tweets, claiming to give away cryptocurrency in exchange for a small initial payment. Organizations should use Brand Intelligence to continuously monitor social media for any accounts that are trying to impersonate their brand or C-level executives. By setting up alerts for specific keywords, names, and variations, brand intelligence tools can quickly detect fake accounts and suspicious activities.
  • Tangerine Telecom: In February 2024, Australian ISP Tangerine Telecom was breached, resulting in the theft of over 200,000 customer records. The breach was traced back to a single contractor’s leaked credentials. Brand monitoring, specifically including third-party vendors, is critical to protecting an organization’s assets.

What to look for in brand intelligence solutions

When evaluating solutions, consider the following key functionality:

Comprehensive Monitoring

  1. Domain Monitoring: The solution should monitor for typosquatting, homoglyphs, and other look-alike domains that could be used in phishing or brand impersonation attacks.
  2. Social Media Monitoring: It should track mentions of your brand on social media platforms to identify potential misuse or impersonation.
  3. Dark Web Monitoring: The solution must be capable of tracking brand mentions and threats on dark web forums and marketplaces.
  4. Data Breach Monitoring: Monitor third-party breaches, stealer logs, and combo lists for leaked employee, vendor, and customer credentials

Threat Detection and Analysis

  1. Phishing Detection: Ability to identify phishing campaigns targeting your brand, including email and website-based attacks.
  2. Impersonation Detection: Detect fake accounts, websites, or emails impersonating your brand.
  3. Malware and Fraud Detection: Identify malware campaigns and fraudulent activities linked to your brand.

Data Integration and Correlation

  1. Integration with Existing Security Tools: The solution should integrate with SIEMs, firewalls, and other security infrastructure to provide a unified view.
  2. Data Correlation Capabilities: Ability to correlate data from various sources to provide a comprehensive threat landscape.

Real-time Alerts and Reporting

  1. Real-time Alerts: Immediate notification of critical threats to your brand.
  2. Detailed Reporting: Provide detailed alerts for stakeholders to understand and be able to mitigate the risk.

Actionable Insights

  1. Remediation Guidance: Provide actionable insights that make it clear how security teams should mitigate the identified threats.
  2. Incident Response Support: Assistance or integration with incident response processes to quickly address threats.