Cybersquatting and brand abuse sites are remaining online with 80 per cent left untouched.
According to MarkMonitor's latest Brandjacking Index, there has been online abuse of many of the world's leading brands and this rose in 2008, with 80 per cent of abusive sites identified in 2007 still active.
The practice of cybersquatting grew by 18 per cent in 2008, while brand abuse grew overall across mainstream industry brands including apparel, automotive, high technology and media. In addition, phishers expanded their targets in 2008, with 444 organisations phished for the first time.
It also found that e-commerce abuse grew by 46 per cent over 2008, with brandjackers increasingly leveraging search engine optimisation techniques for e-commerce and offensive content abuse to drive revenues. The United States, Germany and the United Kingdom are home to the majority of brandjacking websites.
Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, said: “Brandjackers are honing their techniques as they continue building their revenue on the good names of leading brands globally.
“That 80 per cent of abuse sites identified in our study last year remain active today confirms that abuse is economically sustainable for fraudsters. We expect attacks to grow both internationally and in complexity, further increasing the threat to organisations' reputations and revenues.”