Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Facebook sues web hosts over alleged phishing sites

Many people in New Jersey have encountered hacked or fake Facebook or Instagram accounts. Some might be used to boost a user's follower count, while others are real accounts where the owner lost control or fell victim to a phishing scheme. Facebook has struggled to put an end to schemes that seek to gather users' passwords, and many social network users are technologically unsophisticated and may not be aware of best practices for security, despite the site's attempts to promote a higher level of account security.

Facebook is now attempting to fight hacking attempts by using trademark law. The social media giant sued two web hosting companies, ID Shield and OnlineNIC, accusing the firms of cybersquatting and infringement of its trademarks. The complaint alleges that both companies knowingly host an array of websites that provide tools for hackers to compromise the social media site. In addition, Facebook says that the sites hosted by these providers are often used in phishing attempts. Others, they allege, are used in scams targeting Instagram. Facebook also says that it sent multiple requests to the companies to take down the websites under provisions targeting cybersquatting and other violations, but both companies kept the sites up despite several requests.

Further, the complaint alleges that the companies knowingly host sites that mimic the look of Facebook and Instagram to make users believe they are logging into the legitimate sites to garner their passwords. Facebook wants $100,000 in damages for each allegedly infringing domain hosted by the companies.

For tech startups and other online businesses, intellectual property can be particularly key. A lawyer can help companies to protect their copyrights, trademarks and other material and to pursue infringers in case of a violation.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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