In February 2022 LEMARIT will celebrate their 20th anniversary. However, at the beginning of this anniversary year we would like to look back at 2021, and to provide an overview of an eventful (domain) year with noticeable trends and developments both in the industry and with LEMARIT.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on many aspects of our lives cannot be denied. Even the digital world was subject to substantial change and had to deal with the related consequences. In the past twelve months domain owners and right holders particularly had to focus on the increasing number of cybercrimes and the resulting countermeasures.

Also in 2021, thinking outside the box for our customers and tackling the industry’s challenges was driving our continuous progress and improvement – following our guiding principle “Thinking beyond domains”.

Adding fuel to the fire: the pandemic’s impact on the domain world

For several years the increasing threats caused by cybercrime have been a major challenge in worldwide digitisation with the coronavirus pandemic driving the transition of people’s business activities but also of illegal activities to the digital world. In that context domains inevitably become crucial touchpoints in digital communication. As (successful) attacks in most cases involve loss of data, financial assets, or reputation, brand and domain owners cannot afford ignoring the relevance of IT security.

Also the recent developments in business and industry are playing an important role because home office infrastructure is more vulnerable to attacks. Moreover, the popularity of cloud services create a variety of opportunities for cybercrime driving the risks of phishing and thus making corporate identity theft an omnipresent threat.

A particularly great danger is digital extortion using so-called ransomware. Affected computers are not only encrypted but also data are tapped in order to exert even more pressure on the victims. Despite extensive investment in security awareness trainings for staff, e-mail security gateways, or security guidelines critical infrastructure is successfully attacked again and again.

Procentage increase in specific cybercrime (CCieS) | 2018 until 2020

CCieS total
Computer fraud
Data corruption
Computer sabotage
Data tapping

Quelle: German Federal Criminal Police Office

Measures to protect and control your digital brands

Important fact: An increasing number of attack vectors also means an increasing number of possible countermeasures for right holders, and in 2022 this will still be based on an individually optimised domain portfolio which should be completed by a number of follow-up measures as part of the brand protection strategy.

For early detection of potential danger one of these follow-up measures is monitoring of domains which have been registered by third parties and thus proactively fighting cybercrime activities. The resulting domain information gathered should be considered threat information in the sense of cyber threat intelligence because an increased cybersecurity awareness has become essential in the protection of digital brands and IT infrastructure. This way, partners and customers can be warned about potentially fraudulent domains at an early stage.

Implementing individual active brand monitoring and brand protection strategies means keeping control of your own brands in a dynamic and virtually unmanageable digital world.

Martin Küchenthal, CEO LEMARIT

As part of the above strategies so-called blocking services can provide a means for brand owners to protect individual brands from third party registration. In case the damage has been done LEMARIT is your reliable partner after identification of trademark infringement. If required, we will initiate cease-and-desist letters or take-down orders – based on years of experience, expertise and on the co-operation with specialised legal counsels in our international network.

ICANN update

In the past year, domain abuse including attack vectors like malware or phishing has been a topic of significant interest for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its Stakeholders. Together with Registries and Registrars ICANN continued the work in different task forces to control domain abuse. The aim has been and still is to protect the domain name system (DNS) as a basis for further growth of the internet and its role as global resource against abuse.

After release of a position paper in 2019 a Guide to Registrar Abuse Reporting is now available – a guide to reporting domain abuse to Registrars. The document serves to simplify the communication between parties and thus the fight against domain abuse.

Talking of abuse: At the beginning of 2020 the public interest in the coronavirus pandemic boosted domain registrations of pandemic-related terms, including abusive use. However, a recent ICANN report has revealed that only 1.8 to 6.1% – depending on the classification of the severity of abuse – of the 323,956 domains had been used for phishing or similar. The research was based on domains with generic suffix, which contained at least one key word and which were registered in the period between the beginning of 2020 and August 2021.

Scheduled review of the effects of a next application phase for Top-Level Domains and dotBRANDs

Fighting cybercrime will inevitably lead to recognising the advantages of an individual Top-Level Domain (TLD) because companies owning such dotBRAND TLD gain exclusive control of the complete name space, among other resulting in substantial digital security and identity.

Unlike the relatively simple registration of a domain under a conventional TLD like .com or .de, using an own TLD requires a comprehensive application process including multi-stage verification procedures. Businesses and organisations can only apply within fixed time frames – the last one in 2012. The complex and time consuming review process on the way to the second application phase will now lead to a review phase on the side of ICANN. ICANN’s operational design phase (ODP) serves to reconsider the effects of new regulations and possible adjustments for the next application phase. The team for the upcoming ODP is currently being put together in order to deliver results within the next 10 months, which in turn have to be assessed within the following 3 months by the ICANN board, before the next application phase can be started. Hence, the next application time frame is not to be expected before 2023.

RSP, BRG and CE: this year’s LEMARIT highlights in three abbreviations

LEMARIT as Registry Service Provider

We see the ever changing digital space also as our mission continuously to adapt our services to the needs of our customers and to the market requirements. As a result of our collective team effort involving everyone from software development to the ICANN specialists LEMARIT is a Registry Service Provider (RSP) since the beginning of 2021. An RSP provides the required technical infrastructure for operation of a TLD.

Our aim is to develop and maintain a stable and secure system meeting the demands of European TLDs. LEMARIT has taken on the technical operations of some TLDs from the 2012 application phase and will play an active part in the upcoming second application phase.

The LEMARIT registry system is operated in ISO 27001 certified datacenters in Germany and of course meets all stability, security, and assessment criteria of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Martin Küchenthal elected member of the Brand Registry Group Board of Directors

Director Martin Küchenthal

Being an ICANN accredited Registrar LEMARIT is playing an active and creative role in the domain world. Another manifestation of that fact is the election of LEMARIT‘s director Martin Küchenthal to the Board of Directors of the Brand Registry Group (BRG) in May 2021.

The BRG is an association of businesses and organisations who teamed up to promote the use of Top-Level Domains for brands (dotBRANDs). The board consists of nine members who, among other, represent Amazon, Apple, and Sky.

Since six years LEMARIT has supported the activities of the Brand Registry Group and thus the active use of Top-Level Domains for brands.

10th anniversary of the LEMARIT Customer Event

What started as information event on Brand Protection on the Internet in 2011 had its 10th anniversary this year: the LEMARIT Customer Event. After a successful digital premiere in 2020 LEMARIT continued that concept this year. On 30th September relevant updates from the domain world and “beyond” were presented.

The LEMARIT Customer Event is an essential building block in the co-operation with our customers. Since 10 years the event has encouraged close communication and participation in an atmosphere of confidence not only between LEMARIT and our customers but also among the representatives of our customers who regularly attend the event.

Martin Küchenthal

For even deeper insights into the everyday business we could win three external speakers this year: Boban Krsic (Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA), Martin Sutton (Brand Registry Group), and attorney Pascal Böhner (BARDEHLE PAGENBERG). A particular highlight was Boban Krsic’s presentation on the current challenges in the fields of IT security in business. Afterwards, the required changes in Digital Brand Protection as well as the everyday business of LEMARIT Brand Enforcement were addressed in a practice-oriented manner.

This year, the missing personal talk and the exchange of views in the breaks between the presentations was compensated by our LEMARIT Coffee Break. The custom roast was delivered our customers‘ desks just in time. However, despite the success of the event and the active communication we look forward to personally meeting our customers on site on the occasion of our 20th corporate anniversary.

LEMARIT‘s response to current challenges

We live in a world – including the digital world – which seems to be spinning faster and faster. The ongoing digitisation which is accompanied by the cybercrime threats are an indication for that trend. The scope of possible security measures reflects the awareness with respect to the threats leading to a wide variety of solutions for brand and domain owners. But above all, the strategic focus will continue to be on the protection of your brand and identity assets.

In the light of this and facing the current challenges LEMARIT has intensified and adjusted their own corporate development. This not only comprises the fact that LEMARIT is now active as registry operator but also the continuous development of the new enabling our customers‘ intuitive administration of their digital assets and particularly of the DNS.

New innovative products like our Premium Redirect Service or technical monitoring services serve to maintain our high service level and to provide for technically advanced services in this volatile environment which is repeatedly subject to abrupt changes. The ongoing development of our service is reflected in the growth of our customer base ensuring future performance. With determination and confidence we look forward to the challenges we will tackle together.

We shall be pleased to provide further information on the above issues and all other domain-related subjects. If you have questions, please contact us. We look forward to continuing our reliable partnership in 2022 and to supporting you in the background to safeguard your customers’ confidence in you.