By Jonathan Matkowsky, Founder & CEO

GettyImages_84474325Government agencies and brand owners may believe they have successfully taken down sites, but it is critical to remember that HTTP status codes can be spoofed.  Moreover, the criminal networks operate from behind spoofed HTTP status codes. So the site looks down, but it’s actually in full operation visible only to those the criminals target.

At Yahoo!, we developed a “paranoid” mentality that comes in handy for online brand enforcement.  If your brand enforcement strategy does not seriously take  into account the possibility of spoofing HTTP status codes , then the worst criminal networks attacking your brand assets may actually be evading your initiatives. Worse, you may be paying vendors for successfully taking down sites that are up and running.  The criminals resort to stealth innovation to avoid disruption to their criminal activities.

We are not talking about the Dark Net here! We are talking about the open Internet! And the worst part about it is that while the site looks down, it looks completely different to the targeted audience.

To make matters worse, whether there is commercial use of your brand assets is actually often a legal factor that can influence the merits of a proceeding. If brand owners are not aware of how to go about detecting spoofed HTTP status codes, there may be serious legal consequences that are not only undeserved, but letting the worst criminal actors get away.

Rogue online pharmacies are not the only criminal networks operating from behind spoofed HTTP status codes. First of all, rogue online pharmacies often are involved in other criminal activities, ranging from fraudulent payday loans to complicated international money laundering schemes.  Second, any online criminal network exploiting your brand assets in any industry can operate from behind spoofed HTTP status codes. I would expect this practice is pervasive in industries ranging from footwear to apparel, from luxury goods to electronic accessories, just to name a few.

Maccabim develops cybercrime solutions to protect your brand & IP assets in an expansive digital world. To audit whether criminal networks are operating to exploit your brand from behind spoofed HTTP status codes, contactMaccabim today.

Photo Credit:  Olivier Auriol/Video Creatas/Getty Images