The Spamhaus Project


Manage IP & domain reputation wisely - they're valuable assets!

by The Spamhaus TeamMay 15, 20245 minutes reading time

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Trust. That’s a word with huge connotations. The Oxford Languages defines it as: believe in the reliability, truth, or ability of. But how can you believe in the reliability, truth or ability of an IP address or domain? In our world it boils down to reputation.

IP and domain reputation

Every activity related to an IP or domain leaves a digital fingerprint associated with the history of its behaviour. This fingerprint is an indicator of if, when and how you should engage with the IP and/or domain. It provides a measure of behavioural quality and trustworthiness – AKA reputation.

Reputation is fragile – attend to it carefully

When looking at an IP’s or domain’s reputation it isn’t a simple ‘good’ or ‘bad’. There is good reputation, bad reputation, and everything in between. Think of it as akin to a credit score. In the same way a credit score needs constant care and attention, so does reputation.

To achieve a good reputation requires hard work, following best practices, and carefully monitoring vulnerabilities. Yet, it is incredibly easy to damage, difficult to repair and even more difficult to start over. How relevant do you think IP and domain reputation is to your business?

The quick answer is, very!

IP and domain reputation affects ANY business or organization with a digital presence, which is almost any entity operating in the 21st century.

As of April 2024, it is estimated that there are approximately 5.44 billion internet users worldwide, expected to reach 7.9 billion by 2029. Parallel to this, in 2023 the e-commerce market reached an eye-watering US$21.1 trillion globally and is expected to reach a staggering US$183.8 trillion by 2032.

With the exponential rise in day-to-day interactions being of a digital nature, these figures are only going to climb. Looking to the future, when connecting to an app, webpage, or portal; IP and domain reputation will be a fundamental part of decision-making.

IP and domain reputation IS your brand reputation

Maintaining a positive reputation has never been more relevant, playing a vital role in several core areas: brand, security, and revenue. Businesses need to consider their IPs and domains as assets (high value ones). By actively managing and monitoring their reputation they will not only safeguard their online activities and protect their brand’s integrity but also drive the growth of the business.

So, what proactive steps can you take?

Protecting your IP and domain assets

Here are six strategies any business can implement to ensure their IP and domain assets remain secure:

1. Keep track of your domain registrations

An inventory can help determine which domains are the most important. Use it to track renewal dates, as you don’t want to risk losing your domains to third parties. You may also wish to purchase variations of your domain name to protect your brand and prevent domain hijacking or cybersquatting!

All domains should be added to the inventory and any changes documented. Ensure the purpose of each domain is explained and assign responsibility to individuals for their security and maintenance.

2. Put in place robust security measures

As a wise donkey once said, “onions have layers'' and so should your cybersecurity infrastructure. Domain protection should be part of the company’s security policy. Keep the information private, secure and recoverable. Utilize firewalls, VPNs and other protective measures including DNS blocklists and anti-malware software; ensuring all systems, software, and plugins are regularly updated.

3. Enforce strong passwords and access controls

Be sure to enforce strong passwords across your organization - at least 10 characters long, a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, and no obvious personal info....or common words (Password1234?!?!) - and use multi-factor authentication to protect your precious assets. For an additional layer of security, make sure to change and update passwords on a regular cadence.

4. Backup critical data and assets

It's crucial to protect your data and assets with a robust backup process. Store backups offline (preferably in an offsite location), regularly check backups are working and test your restore procedure. No one wants to fall victim to a ransomware attack and lose vital data or control of valuable assets!

5. Use reputable providers

Research providers thoroughly before committing to one, and make sure you know the neighborhood around your space before you move in. When buying domain names, avoid registrars that allow “just anyone" to purchase from them. A reputable registrar will also focus on maintaining a secure network. The same applies when selecting a hosting provider. Don't set up your infrastructure with a network that has a huge amount of botnet C&C activity, as your IP reputation WILL be negatively impacted if it is in the same pool.

6. Educate employees on security best practices

Employees are unlikely to understand the importance of protecting IP addresses and domain assets. It’s imperative to educate them on how to recognize threats such as phishing attempts, scams, spam and other techniques used by adversaries to gain unauthorized access. Ongoing education and training should be a top priority.

Your IPs and domains should be managed carefully to mitigate risk and protect their value like any other business asset. As the world becomes increasingly digital, stay ahead of the curve and take proactive steps to protect your reputation. Find more information and check your IP and domain reputation.