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New domain names spark wave of online threats

When asked how they expect the launch of thousands of new web address endings, such as .london, .shop and .sport, to change the internet in the next five years, 40% of consumers believe it will make it a more dangerous place – over double the amount who feel that it will be safer (17%). These concerns were mirrored by businesses, with 92% of companies surveyed recognising risks with the introduction new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).

Almost nine in ten (87%) of business respondents are worried about keeping their brands and trademarks protected with the introduction of the new gTLDs. The top risk identified by companies was cybersquatters (36%), who will effectively be offered new opportunities for domain-name hijacking, traffic diversion, counterfeiting and other forms of brand abuse.

The research also revealed that over a quarter (29%) of businesses are concerned about exposing their customers to fraud. Companies face serious consequences if they do not protect their customers in this new online environment with almost eight in ten (78%) of internet users stating they would shun a brand if they found themselves on a bogus website pertaining to be that brand.

Our research shows that people expect the internet of 2020 to be quicker and easier to navigate, but they also think it will be a more dangerous place. The launch of thousands of new domain endings is about to reshape the online landscape, effectively opening up another front for cybercriminals to carry out fraudulent activity against businesses and their customers.

The onus is on brands to ensure that they are protecting their customers from falling into the hands of online fraudsters. Before the internet evolves further, brands must develop an effective online strategy that protects both their intellectual property and online customers. Only then, will they be able to take advantage of the opportunities that the new gTLDs offer to strengthen customer relationships and grow revenues.