March 27, 2024
BlackRock Fights Back: Legal Battle Against Copycat Domains and Fraudulent Sites
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BlackRock Fights Back: Legal Battle Against Copycat Domains and Fraudulent Sites

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has taken legal action to combat the proliferation of copycat websites and potentially fraudulent domains attempting to exploit its name. The investment giant initiated a legal complaint on October 10 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the operators of 44 internet domain names. These domains contained keywords like “Blackrock,” “Aladdin,” “capital,” “crypto,” and “investments.”

BlackRock alleges that these domains were registered with malicious intent, aiming to profit from consumer confusion and redirect online traffic using methods like pay-per-click advertisements, malware distribution, and email phishing attacks.

To support its case, BlackRock’s legal team, represented by Wiley Rein LLP, referenced studies indicating that more than 95% of the 500 most popular websites on the Internet are susceptible to “typosquatting.” Typosquatting involves registering domains that closely resemble legitimate sites but contain typographical errors.

BlackRock asserts that these entities have violated the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act by registering domains that create confusion with its own brand.

Among the domains in question, there were a few related to the crypto space, such as “blackrock-crypto dot net,” which failed to open, and “crypto-blackrock dot com,” which appeared to offer web design services. However, the majority of the tested domains did not function as intended or were engaged in typical cybersquatting activities.

BlackRock conducted research into publicly available domain registration data, sourced from the Whois database, in an effort to identify the domain owners. The company is pursuing the transfer of these domains under its control, as well as seeking damages and injunctions to prevent further cybersquatting and trademark infringement involving its brands: BLACKROCK, ALADDIN, and BLK, committed by the defendants.

Copycat domain names are often employed in collaboration with advertising platforms like Google and Facebook to promote fraudulent schemes or distribute malicious software. This year, Cointelegraph previously reported that victims have suffered losses exceeding $4 million due to counterfeit websites promoted via Google Ads. 

Image by Freepik

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