A company’s domain name is intrinsically tied to its brand and service delivery – making it an extremely important digital asset. Several high-profile brands have previously lost control of their valuable online properties and faced significant brand damage as a result.

Tech giant Lenovo recently fell victim to a domain hijacking attack, during which visitors to its website (www.lenovo.com) were redirected to another website featuring webcam images of a young man at his computer to the soundtrack of a Disney song.

The hack comes just days after Google’s Vietnam webpage was similarly hijacked, redirecting visitors to a page reportedly pointing to those responsible for the hack.

While they are the most recent examples, Google and Lenovo are not the first brands to be targeted by domain hijackers in high-profile cases. The last few years have seen the likes of YouTube, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Dell, Kaspersky and even the New York Times embroiled in domain name security breaches.

While the exact cause of the Lenovo hacking is yet to be confirmed, reports have widely linked the Attack Vector to the Registrar serving both the Lenovo and Google Vietnam domains.

The fact of the matter is, you don’t have to be a big brand to be vulnerable to this kind of attack – and it can have significant impacts on your brand and your bottom line.

A matter of time?

Commentators say hackers are using more creative methods such as phishing in their attacks on companies that fail to increase security measures.

For example, Marco Chiappetta wrote for Forbes for example that we can “expect things to get worse” and that taking steps to protect your online assets is vital.

“The only way to solve these problems is to educate the population and to ensure everything possible is being done to protect sensitive data…. Don’t skimp on man-power or technology when it comes to security,” he wrote.

Protecting your .au domain

To increase domain name security and protect website assets, AusRegistry launched a security measure called .auLOCKDOWN, which adds an additional layer of authorisation and domain name protection at the Registry level.

With .auLOCKDOWN, .au domain name registrants are able to lock their domain name records and prevent unauthorised changes. Only verified, authorised individuals are permitted to alter domain records.

.auLOCKDOWN adds significant security and peace of mind for owners of .au domain names, with the important added advantage of preventing mistakes from occurring when domain name records are updated incorrectly – leading to self-inflicted errors such as happened to LinkedIn in 2013.

A more detailed description of how .auLOCKDOWN works is available on our .au LOCKDOWN FAQs page.

Secure your domain – Free 3 month trial

.auLOCKDOWN is a valuable measure for any .au website – you don’t have to be a big brand like Google or Lenovo to benefit. If a couple of hours offline would impact your business, you should be considering additional protection.

One perceived barrier many organisations face in adopting new security measures is the financial investment involved. For those considering signing up for .auLOCKDOWN however, now is the time to act.

.au domain name registrants that sign up for .auLOCKDOWN between 1 March and 31 May 2015 are eligible to receive a free three-month trial at participating Registrars. You will need to enquire with your Registrar to find out whether they support the free trial.

Finally, each domain hijacking case suggests that if you wait before taking a security-mindful position regarding your domain name assets, the impact from unauthorised or accidental changes will be much worse and the costs much higher than being proactive and protecting your digital assets now.