What should companies using webhosting know about domain name hijacking


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The domain name you have so carefully chosen for your business is valuable and should be protected, but are you aware how vulnerable it may be to hijacking?  Each year more thieves are resorting to domain name server (DNS) hijacking and webhosting companies have a responsibility to their customers to make them aware of the dangers.

Automated Redirect Threat

When a domain name is hijacked, what happens is that customers logging on to your site get redirected automatically to another website, costing you both business and customer loyalty.  You may already have experienced this as a customer yourself, where you think you have clicked on the correct listing, but are taken elsewhere instead.

Customers, who are unaware of what has happened from a technical point of view, may simply dismiss your website in future as a lost cause, and the consequent damage to business credibility in this situation is difficult to quantify.


Why Do Hackers Do This?

The motivation for hackers can be varied, from financial through to political, and simply malicious.  Some do it simply to show how easy and possible it is to stop a company trading, because they have a weakness in what they have previously considered was a heavily fortified system.

The hijacking may only last a few hours and then everything is returned to normal, or it may be a much more prolonged situation. It may be serious in that the redirection allows hackers to download malware to disrupt the webhosting server, corrupting all the other sites using shared webhosting.  If the webhosting company has been less than thorough with updating security, private and personal information can be stolen from other sites, including financial details.

Related Article:  Why Use a VPN When You Are Accessing the Web on the Go?

The Big Problem

User names and logins may be stolen, giving the hijackers a passport into as many customer files as they want.  The hijackers may also be able to read emails and sensitive information held by a company about its products and services, including launches of products, product design and other information it would prefer not to be in the public domain.

It’s a bit like squatters breaking into your home and making themselves comfortable. Webhosting companies often provide domain names free of charge as part of the package, but how often do they warn their clients of the dangers of hijacking and what their clients need to do to stop it happening?

Sometimes a domain name can be hijacked and the company itself has no idea it is happening, because viewers are not redirected to another website, but the hackers are observing everything that is going on in the site by rerouting emails and other interactions through their own server.

The more businesses use and grow dependent on the internet for trade; unfortunately statistics suggest the more hijacking is going to occur.  Companies using webhosting services would do well not to skimp on the security offered by their webhosting provider and take advantage of all the provision offered, even if it means an additional monthly fee.  The alternative is going to cost a lot more in the long run.

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