Cybercrime

Cybercriminals cloning websites to gain access to your business data and personal information

Coined in 1903 for biological duplicates, the word ‘Cloning’ has come a long way. While it was exciting once, its entry into the virtual world is a threat to businesses and people. In general, cloning refers to creating a replica (functional or non-functional) of an entity.

Cybercriminals clone websites, social media identities and other digital entities, owned by a business or an individual for ill gains and purposes. The malicious, anti-social, anti-national and fraud activities which happens through such cloned entities, causes troubles for the victims of cloning and their reputation.

Ways cybercriminals perform cloning and its drawbacks for the Victim

Cloning of websites has several drawbacks, especially where a cybercriminal picks a target and clones a particular business’s website on purpose. Let us see how it impacts a business:

  • Cloning for gains

Sometimes, when your business website is driving good traffic and excelling on the sales front, your competitors might try to clone the website and get the attached benefits. It will not only reduce the business for you but will also make you responsible for the mistakes they are making and deprive you of the revenue being made in your name. Aside from revenue loss, there would also be a significant loss in reputation as well.

  • Cloning for defamation or illicit activities

There are also a few cases where the website layout and appearance were cloned while the content was added to carry on illicit activities or fraud. Using the victim’s business name and reputation, cybercriminals made a fortune and fooled people. In the end, it affected the trustworthiness of the victim’s brand in the market.

  • Cloning for Stealing Data

While the previous scenario of cloning could be dangerous for your customers and market reputations, cloning for data theft execution is sometimes very dangerous for your organizational data. If cybercriminals succeeded at it, the results could wreak havoc for the business.

In such types of cyberattacks, cybercriminals carefully duplicate the layout as well as the functionality of a business website to an extent that is essential for their purpose.

The purpose is to trick your employees or executives or even your clients to expose the organization’s secret to the cyber attackers. Criminals may use emails, clone social media profiles, and various other methods to gain access to your business data and personal information.

 

How do Cybercriminals Perform the Website Cloning?

In general, cybercriminals start with owning similar-looking domain names, email addresses, social profiles, and digital entities with your business.

After this, their focus is on creating a website with the same or similar appearance as that of your brand’s website. It may have a few similar landing pages and a few similar content to carry on the illicit activities.

For example, a cloned website may have an employee login panel and once your employees fill in their details, it could show an error message and redirect them to the original login page. While your teams might not realize it, the cybercriminals can create a big database of login details of your employees and use them for acting against your business.

To support their motive in the cases where the profit on succeeding in stealing the organizational data is high, they also add similar content in social media profiles and use emails too.

Ways to take precautions against business website cloning

There are several good ways to prevent or disarm such cyber criminals are:

  • Encrypt your Code
  • Use online tools to check plagiarism of your business website and profiles on a regular basis
  • Provide cybersecurity training to your employees
  • Copyright your content and disable copying for it
  • When you find a cloned version of your website, contact the website owner and send DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down notice
  • Once you realize there is a cloned version of your website, broadcast the same internally and externally in order to save damage to your employees and your customers
  • Initiate legal action against the fraudsters

Additionally, you must hire an IT managed services provider to improve the business cybersecurity and constant monitoring.

 

Conclusion

Website cloning by cybercriminals could be for gaining from your brand reputation, executing frauds, or stealing your organizational data or personal information of your employees. In each of these cases, you must remain alert and take action to get them off the search engine searches.

Also, take proper measures to safeguard your website code and data while training your employees to avoid falling in the trap of cybercriminals. It will be a good strategy to win over such cyber threats.