Australian businesses are now under threat from cyber criminals due to their internet domain names. However, your web developer could become your greatest business asset.
How? Read on
Australian entities have mostly registered their websites with suffixes such as .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, and .asn.au. In particular, Australian businesses use .com.au and .net.au/.
Like your business name, you don’t own your domain name, and there is no security against anyone else using it, until you register it.
However, the humble ending to your domain name may soon leave your business vulnerable to cybercrime.
Since March this year, new rules made by the regulator, .au Domain Administration (auDA), have allowed any business anywhere in the world with an Australian connection to register with the shorter .au domain. Claiming that these are most impactful change in decades for Australian websites, the administration states at least 3 benefits for businesses:
short, simple and uniquely Australian domain names, making it easier for clients to remember and highlighting your business as one that is innovative keeps up to date with emerging trends and technologies
greater choice of website or email addresses ending in .au, especially if you are a start-up and don’t have an ABN yet.
easier for customers or clients to type into mobile devices and internet searches, ideal if you are launching a new marketing campaign.
What does this mean for you?
This all sounds good, but let’s recall what the auDA has allowed – any business anywhere in the world with an Australian connection to register with the shorter .au domain.
Think about that – any business in any country could register your business name with a simple .au instead of .com.au. Clients will land on their page instead of yours and give their business to them instead of you – that’s the least harmful outcome. Worse, cybercriminals could use your business name to reproduce your products and/or services, mislead potential clients, steal from existing ones, undercut your profits and even ruin your reputation.
At the time of writing , more than 3 million .au domains have been registered. Nevertheless, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise ombudsman, Bruce Billson, reports that the short deadline could take many businesses by surprise and leave them unprotected if they fail to register a .au domain name. (His request to the .au Domain Administration for an extension to the deadline has been rejected.) Billson predicts that “large numbers of businesses could have their brand or identity impersonated” and the “the short deadline for the changeover could lead to a rise of cyber criminals taking advantage” of vulnerable businesses, especially small to medium enterprises who often don’t have access to large IT departments.
Your domain name is an integral component of your business’s identity and brand. You are unlikely sell your identity and brand to another, unknown, business so why would you give them away?
The web developer – your greatest asset
With tools like WordPress and webflow platforms, setting up a site very similar is easy. Integrating text and images and designing to imitate yours is not a problem for a savvy web developer.
To protect yourself and your business, you need to register an au. Name for your business by September. Do you have time? Do you know how to do it?
This is where your web developer can be your greatest asset. Your web developer can register your business with a new .au domain name for every website you have. This applies to apps as well – an app developer will set your business up for success if you register your .au suffix before the cut-off date and all .au domain names are available to a global marketplace.
Don’t leave your business exposed to an unscrupulous offshore business or to a bunch of cyber criminals who could cheat, steal and ruin your business. Contact your web developer today.
If you need advice on .au names or web development in general, email us at B2B Websites firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0435 661 080.