Brands being abused on industrial scale by cyber criminals, warns think tank

Cyber criminals are “weaponising” top brands to snare victims, featuring brand names in 97 per cent of their scams, according to IT think tank, the DNS Research Foundation.

It said criminals are appropriating brand names on an industrial scale in order to trick consumers. In more than 50 per cent of cases, the brands of home delivery and courier groups and financial services, such as banks and credit card groups were used by criminals in scam texts or emails.

Criminals also used technology, media and telecoms brands in more than a third of their scams, followed by the identities of public sector groups such as HM Revenue & Customs in 30 per cent of cases.

Lucien Taylor, chief strategy officer at DNS Research, said that while the average amount people lose to internet scams is £1,169 per person, he suspects the real total could be 60 per cent higher as many do not report their losses due to embarrassment.

The think tank said that with our interactions with companies, charities and government services increasingly taking place online, fraudsters’ use of brand names is damaging trust in businesses. Its research found 58 per cent of people do not trust everyday messages and texts sent by brands.

Taylor said that more co-ordinated action is needed to tackle cyber criminals: “Without intervention and urgent action, we are on a collision course. Infringement of brands online – and being weaponised by criminals – comes at a time when consumers are using the internet more and more as the preferred way to engage with brands.”


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.