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Sunday, October 5, 2014

When Hackers Steal A Web Address, Few Owners Ever Get It Back (by Gerry Smith)

Author: Gerry Smith
Publisher: Huffington Post

Article link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/30/domain-theft_n_5890266.html 

Short excerpt:

Lee, 58, bought his domain in 1997 for a modest $600. A domain name appraiser recently valued the website at $47,000. Lee planned to eventually sell MLA.com and use the money as part of his retirement.

That is, until May of last year, when he received shocking news: A hacker had stolen his website, and there was nothing GoDaddy, his domain registrar, could do to get it back.

Read the rest of the story here: 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Story of Stolen Company Website

Although an older story, here's a typical example of a company having their website and domain name stolen (this is a case of "outsider domain theft"):

Article link: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/54626184-79/domain-zmehrir-com-daddy.html.csp
Newspaper: The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Tom Harvey

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today Marks 1st Year of Spotlighting Insider Domain Theft

As today is the third anniversary of the first criminal conviction in the U.S. for domain theft, today also marks the beginning of spotlighting and publicizing "insider domain theft".

What is Insider Domain Theft?
It's the insidious act of stealing a company's website and/or domain name as an insider usually for the purposes of seeking financial gain (i.e. through extortion), seeking revenge or seeking financial ruin of a company.

The insiders are typically rogue shareholders, employees or contractors (i.e. contracted website developer).

The victims are often small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Victims often have minimal recourse either civilly or criminally.

Many small businesses and entrepreneurs do not have the financial resources nor time for filing civil lawsuits.

U.S. criminal laws currently are not adequate for aiding victims of Insider Domain Theft.

As Insider Domain Theft is a very novel form of business theft, it hasn't yet received the attention it deserves within the criminal justice system, civil courts, legal community, business world, Congress, and among the media.

However, its time is coming and the upcoming year will help spotlight the criminal and uncivil act of Insider Domain Theft.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Insider Domain Theft by Employees Needs to be Criminalized

When the typical person hears about domain name theft (or website theft), they think of it being committed by some deviant computer expert in a far away country.

However, domain name and website theft often happens "much closer to home." One of the growing forms of domain name theft is committed by internal employees of the company.

Why do they do it? The reasons are varied but usually is because of one of the following deviant reasons:
1) Seek financial gain through extortion
2) Seek revenge against their employer
3) Gain access to email communications of employees and clients
4) To promote one's own products, services or information on the website
5) To assist another organization such as a competitor or an organization affiliated or supported by the employee

Insider Domain Theft is an act that needs to be criminalized.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Has Your Personal or Company Website been Stolen? Contact ASAP both Law Enforcement and Attorney Specializing in Domain Theft

If your website and/or domain name has been stolen or "hijacked" in any way, what should you do?

How to Respond to Domain Theft
1) First and foremost, contact your local police department and file a report immediately upon learning of the website/domain theft.
2) Secondly, research and contact several law firms or attorneys who specifically specialize in website and domain theft and advise them of your situation.

Keep in mind website/domain theft can happen anywhere and by anyone. The most common offenders include but not limited to: :

1) Co-owners of the company
2) Employees of the company
3) Sub-contractors of the company (i.e. an outside contractor who has been hired to develop your website)
4) Individuals with no connection to your company (i.e. third-party criminal)
5) Third-party criminal gangs specializing in cybercrime

Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Report a Domain Theft Attempt?

If you or your company believe you're a victim of a domain name theft attempt, one of the very first things you should do is contact your local police department and file a police report.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Domain Theft contributes to Cybercrime's $500 billion bottom-line

An article published in USA TODAY cities global costs of cybercrime at $500 billion. And it references U.S. NSA Director General Keith Alexander as stating that cyber theft of intellectual property constitutes "the greatest transfer of wealth in human history".

Although the above article doesn't reference all the various forms of cybercrimes that comprise the above $500 billion figure, it's important to keep in mind that domain name theft (theft of company domain names) is one of the many crimes that contributes to this staggering financial figure.

Read full article at http://www.usatoday.com/story/cybertruth/2013/11/08/cybercrimes-bottom-line-500-billion/3478235/

Friday, August 9, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Did you know domain names can be hijacked? (Tucson Citizen)

Below is another news article highlighting the growing, novel and ransom-based form of business theft called "domain theft." 

Article link: 

Author by
Published by Tucsoncitizen.com

Article Opening:
Do you know that hijacking or sniping domain names is becoming a business? Anyone who values his domain name needs to take precautions, Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns.
Recently a company failed to register its domain name again before it expired.

Another entity purchased it and held the domain name ransom, demanding payment of thousands of dollars in order to return it.

The company refused to pay the ransom, the threats escalated to the point of placing a porn site on the domain. The company ended up paying about half of the original ransom because they were losing business. Presently, the company is looking into what legal steps they can take.

Read the rest of the article at: 

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Terminology in Intellectual Property and Criminality: "Insider Domain Theft"

Here is new terminology for the Intellectual Property world: “Insider Domain Theft".

What is it? Theft of an organization's domain name or website by a shareholder, employee, or contractor.

"Insider domain theft" is a growing, novel and devastating form of theft in the business world, especially among small businesses.  

Enrico Schaefer, trial attorney and Internet law expert of Traverse Legal, writes at ezinearticles.com: "URL theft by a partner or co-owner is perhaps the most common example of domain name theft. Domain names stolen in this fashion account for about 25% of the calls and emails we receive in the domain theft area."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Anniversary Begins: The Year to Publicize Domain Name Theft (July 22, 2013-July 22,2014)

"The Year to Publicize Domain Name Theft" kicked off on July 22, 2013 and continues through July 22, 2014.

July 22 represents the anniversary date of the first-ever criminal conviction and prison sentencing for domain name theft in the United States.

This 2nd anniversary year is dedicated to publicizing and raising awareness of the devastating, novel and growing form of business theft known as "Domain theft" - the hijacking and stealing of websites.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Report: Cyber Crime Costs Global Economy Up to $500B a Year

Published by: FOXBusiness

Article link: http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/07/22/report-cyber-crime-costs-global-economy-up-to-1-trillion-year/

Here is opening excerpt to the article:
Cyber evildoers are inflicting serious damage to the world’s already-sluggish economy.
According to a newly-released report sponsored by McAfee, global cyber activity is costing up to $500 billion each year, which is almost as much as the estimated cost of drug trafficking.
In the U.S. alone, the report estimates that cyber crime is the catalyst behind the loss of as many as 500,000 jobs as companies grapple with the loss of coveted intellectual property, confidential strategies that are snooped on, and suffer reputational harm.

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2013/07/22/report-cyber-crime-costs-global-economy-up-to-1-trillion-year/#ixzz2ZtI4IArU

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today (July 22) is Historic 2-Year Anniversary of First-ever Domain Theft Criminal Conviction and Prison Sentencing in the U.S.

Today is a historic anniversary date in the fight against domain theft......whether it be outsider domain theft or insider domain theft.

Two years ago today on July 22, 2011.....the first-ever criminal conviction and prison sentencing for domain theft took place in the United States.

Here are various articles regarding this significant domain theft case and date:

Office of the Attorney General - State of New Jersey
Union county man sentenced to prison for stealing valuable domain name (July 25, 2011)

ABC News
NJ Man sentenced for Internet domain name theft (Jul 26, 2011)

DN Journal - The Domain Industry News Magazine
It's official - Domain thief Daniel Goncalves sentenced to 5 years in prison in precedent setting case (July 22, 2011)

Global Newswire
Domain thief gets 5 years in prison
NJ BIZ - All Business All New Jersey
Union resident will serve five years for theft of domain theft (July 26, 2011)

World Trademark Review Daily
Cybercriminal takes get rick click advice too far (Sep 13, 2011)

It's official - domain thief Daniel Goncalves sentenced to 5 years in prison in precedent setting case

The Sports & Entertainment Law Playbook
GoDaddy domain thief to spend 5 years in prison (Dec 15, 2011)

Domain Monster.com
Domain thief finally sentenced (Jul 25, 2011)

Man pleads guilty to stealing P2P.COM in landmark domain theft case (Dec 13, 2010)

Man pleads guilty in first ever domain theft case (Dec 14, 2010)

Switched.com/Terrence O'Brien
Guilty please entered in landmark domain theft case (Dec 15, 2010)

Prosecutors want 5 year prison term for Internet domain name theft (Dec 13, 2010)
Domain Name News:
Breaking: First Ever Criminal Prosecution for Domain Name Theft Underway (Aug 3, 2009)

The Register (UK)
Man charged in $111k domain theft

Legal News
NJ man indicted for stealing a domain name (Dec 1, 2009)
SC Magazine
Hacker charged with domain theft (Aug 4, 2009)

Domain Name News:
Grand jury indicts Daniel Goncalves on Domain Theft (Nov 16, 2009)

Cliffview Pilot (NJ)
Domain theft arrest by state police called first in U.S. (Aug 3, 2009)

NBC News 4 Washington DC
First-ever stolen web domain case going to (basketball) court

Mercer County Online
New Jersey state police make first known arrest for domain name theft (Aug 3, 2009)

The Associated Press/USA TODAY/FoxNews
NJ man indicted on web name theft, sale on ebay (Nov 16, 2009)

WisBlawg - UW Law Library
First criminal arrest for domain name theft in U.S. (Aug 7, 2009)
Video: Quotes from Landmark July 22 (2011) Domain Theft Case

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cybersecurity for small business: Hackers and mobile devices - 2013's top threats

Author and publisher: Jared Lindzon Special to The Star

Article link:

Here are a few article excerpts about small businesses as cybercrime victims:
"From hacking your phone to infecting anyone who visits your website, the internet’s greatest potential threats to small businesses in 2013 will be acquired more easily and do more damage than ever before."

"Cyber attackers can come from anywhere. It could be a professional hacker on the other side of the planet, or a aggravated former employee who purchased an out-of-the-box program for infecting your company online."

"According to Tom Kellerman (Vice President of Cyber Security for Trend Micro), even though many small business owners don’t consider themselves a primary target, cyber attacks against these enterprises are the number one form of financial fraud in the United States."

Read Jared Lindzon's full article here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Defense Shields California Businesses from Cybersquatters

Article link: http://www.syversonlaw.com/blog/2013/05/defense-shields-california-businesses-from-cybersquatters.shtml

Article published by: On behalf of Erik S. Syverson, Attorney at Law posted in Internet on Thursday, May 23, 2013.


Just when your Los Angeles business takes a step toward profit along comes a cyber-thief to destroy everything you've built. Unless a venture is extremely well funded, California startups can collapse under the weight of online theft.

Businesses are not entirely helpless victims of cybersquatting provided they carry Internet insurance or can support a domain name dispute. Regrettably, many of the individuals who launch online attacks have current or former company connections.

Business owners can avoid cybersquatting victimization by exploring the motivations of domain name burglars. Who has the most to gain by stealing a company's URL? Enemies may be closer than many businesses realize or care to admit.

A fast-moving, professional cyber-thief can make money by swiping a stranger's domain name. Quick money from any source satisfies the purpose. Insidious perpetrators sometimes lurk close at hand -- business partners, disgruntled ex-workers, investors, managers, competitors and full-time or contract employees.

One legal expert admitted one in four of his intellectual property clients filed domain name complaints about company partners or other owners.

A Wall Street Journal article published in 2007 found entrepreneurs-in-waiting and startups were the most vulnerable to cybersquatting. Thieves love victims who lack the money and power to wage war.

The first U.S. cybersquatting conviction was less than two years ago. A New Jersey man was sentenced to five years in prison after trampling the rights of P2P.com. The thief boldly swiped the domain and sold it on eBay for $110,000.

The head of an online religious tourism business is a cybersquatting victim turned domain name protection champion. The CEO of World Religious Travel Association now educates other travel business owners about how to avoid what his company experienced - total bankruptcy after a cybersquatting attack.

Alert businesses are no longer waiting until they have to play offense following a domain name theft. Intellectual property lawyers are a critical part of a company's cybersquatting defense.

About Author
Erik S. Syverson, a partner at Miller Barondess, LLP, is a trial lawyer specializing in Internet law and intellectual property litigation. Mr. Syverson is one of America's leading Internet law attorneys and frequently appears on Fox and NBC television networks to discuss internet law issues. He has experience litigating ground-breaking Internet law, intellectual property and business law cases across the United States.  Erik has secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of plaintiffs in internet related litigation.  On behalf of defendants, Erik is often able to secure dismissals of internet related lawsuits through the use of summary judgment motions, California's Anti-SLAPP statute and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Erik has been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, a distinction given to less than 2.5 percent of attorneys in California.”   

Monday, May 20, 2013


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Symantec "Internet Security Threat Report 2013"

Article link to the Report: http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/other_resources/b-istr_main_report_v18_2012_21291018.en-us.pdf

Published by: Symantec "Internet Security Threat Report 2013"

The following is an exerpt from the report:

Small Businesses Are the Path of Least Resistance
for Attackers

Last year’s data made it clear that any business, no matter its
size, was a potential target for attackers. This was not a fluke. In
2012, 50 percent of all targeted attacks were aimed at businesses
with fewer than 2,500 employees. In fact, the largest growth area
for targeted attacks in 2012 was businesses with fewer than 250
employees; 31 percent of all attacks targeted them.

This is especially bad news because based on surveys conducted
by Symantec, small businesses believe they are immune to
attacks targeted at them. However, money stolen from a small
business is as easy to spend as money stolen from a large
business. And while small businesses may assume that they
have nothing a targeted attacker would want to steal, they
forget that they retain customer information, create intellectual
property, and keep money in the bank. While it can be argued
that the rewards of attacking a small business are less than
what can be gained from a large enterprise, this is more than
compensated by the fact that many small companies are
typically less careful in their cyberdefenses. Criminal activity is
often driven by crimes of opportunity. With cybercrimes, that
opportunity appears to be with small businesses.