Website Cloning: Should I Worry?

Is Website Cloning a Major Threat?

Website cloning is a significant concern in regards to the security, integrity, and availability of most modern day online businesses. Website cloning is essentially the process of scraping a publicly available website and then creating a duplicate website that looks almost exactly like the original. Malicious actors will do this as a way to try and redirect legitimate users from the original website to a malicious website where the hacker will then harvest the user’s information. Many pitfalls can result from websites being cloned. Let’s review some situations that could be a result of website cloning.

Reputation Hit

The worst result for any business that could occur from website cloning is loss of reputation. If there are two copies of the same website online and end users are getting confused or steering away from your service altogether, that will cause a significant loss of business and client trust.

Incorrect Money Transfer or Payment

If your website handles credit card transactions, having a website clone floating around on the internet is a major problem. Legitimate users could be making payments on the cloned website to the hacker. Once your clients realize their transaction was illegitimate, they will be demanding a refund for the money that you never received in the first place!

Stolen Client Information

If the website that you own is a portal where external end users log in to enter sensitive information about themselves, then having a cloned website is your worst nightmare. Perspective clients will unknowingly turn over information to a malicious actor. Not to mention, your business could be charged exuberant legal fees/penalties that may arise from identity theft.

Defacement

Last but not least is defacement of your brand. There are people out there that want to see your website fail. If they can create a copy of your website and post derogatory messages about your company, that will surely damage your overall company image to the public eye. Plus, once you have a clone on the internet, Google will become confused about which website to place in its ordering algorithm. This will default to exclusion altogether.

Steps you can take to stay on top of website cloning:

Google is your best friend when it comes to discovering website cloning. By searching specific terms, documents, or exclusive items that would only pertain to your company, you can uncover instances of this information theft. Once you do get a hit, you’ll be required to do some further digging on the cloned website to determine who owns it. Contacting the entity directly and ask that they take it down. From a legal perspective, you have to contact and ask before any other authorities can take action. If the malicious actor is still unwilling to bring down their cloned website, your next step would be to contact Google to remove the site from its databases. This process will require you to prove ownership of the original website before Google can remove the cloned copy.

For more information about website safety, contact IND Corporation. Our team is committed to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to tech and IT industry knowledge.