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Jon Gold
Senior writer

Akamai debuts Brand Protector service to combat phishing, online forgery

Apr 24, 20232 mins
PhishingRSA Conference

A new product from cloud services provider Akamai takes aim at online fakery by automating protection of a user’s brand and web presence.

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Credit: Martyn Williams

Akamai is rolling out a new service designed to provide automated detection, investigation and even takedown services for businesses looking to protect their online reputations from digital criminals and phishing campaigns.

The basic concept of the new service, launched at RSA Conference in San Francisco today, is simple — Akamai, via its large array of global points of presence, monitors vast volumes of traffic, looking for indicators of intellectual property or client resources being misused, like corporate branding or certificates being used from IPs that aren’t associated with that company.

Akamai said that it can use that intelligence to detect brand abuse “often, before an attack campaign launches,” according to its official announcement.

”This shields businesses from revenue loss and increased risk by combating fake goods sales, phishing sites and unauthorized use of brand elements outside of its environment and across the Internet,” the company said.

Akamai said that Brand Protector pairs its wide detection net with AI and heuristics to provide real-time analysis of threats to users in a dashboard view. The product uses a “threat score” metric to weigh the relative severity of potential attacks, but the underlying data used to make those calculations are easily available from the management console.

It’s a completely different approach to the problem than anything that’s been tried before, according to IDC group vice president for security and trust Frank Dickson.

“A traditional security product is normally looking at streams of ingress, like what’s coming into a [customer] environment, or egress,” he said. “Akamai will tell you they have a massive footprint and can look at a whole host of traffic.”

Akamai’s outsized web presence is a key piece of leverage in Brand Protector’s automated mitigation feature, as well, Dickson said. Where takedown notices for fake sites would sometimes take days or months to be processed by ISPs in the past, Akamai has an API-based approach to sending those notices, letting ISPs act on notifications much more quickly.

“Every hosting provider wants to maintain a certain level of legitimacy,” he said. “If they start getting downgrades to reputation, then all of their customers get downgraded as well, so then there’s a problem that [the hosting provider] will start losing customers.”

Akamai said in its statement that Brand Protector is available as of today. Details on pricing were not immediately available.