How to Prevent Domain Hijacking: Lessons from Sawnee’s Experience

Your domain is not just a part of your online identity; it’s your entire online identity. On May 3rd, 2024, Sawnee EMC faced a significant setback when their domain,, was compromised. Subsequently, they were forced to transition to a new domain,, and completely rebuild their digital presence. This disruption significantly impacted their operations and customer relationships.

Educate Your Staff on the Dangers of Spoof Attacks

Spoofing attacks are the most common method attackers use to gain access to accounts. It is suspected that the attacker might have sent an email disguised as an official GoDaddy communication, directing the recipient to a fake login page designed to harvest credentials. To counter this, always navigate directly to the service’s website rather than clicking on links in emails.

Understanding the Role of a Registrar

A registrar facilitates the registration and management of domain names. Services like GoDaddy and Namecheap are intermediaries between ICANN and domain owners, providing necessary management tools. Recognizing the importance of a secure registrar is essential for safeguarding your digital assets.

Securing Your Registrar Account with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a security system that requires more than one authentication method from independent categories of credentials to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction. MFA combines two or more independent credentials: what the user knows (password), what the user has (security token), and who the user is (biometric verification).

How MFA Works

When MFA is enabled, the process typically goes like this: after entering your username and password, you are prompted to provide another form of identification. This could be a code sent to your mobile device, a fingerprint, or a facial scan. You gain access to your account only by successfully presenting both forms of identification.

Why MFA is Important

MFA protects by adding an additional layer of security, making it harder for attackers to access a device or online account because knowing the victim’s password alone is not enough to pass the authentication check. For Sawnee EMC, having MFA on their registrar account might have prevented unauthorized access, even if the attackers had obtained the password through a spoofing attack.

Implementing MFA

  1. Choose the proper form of secondary authentication: Options include SMS codes, email-based codes, authenticator apps, and hardware tokens.
  2. Educate your team: Ensure everyone understands MFA and the importance of securing their devices and authentication codes.
  3. Regularly update your security settings: As technology evolves, so do the methods attackers use. Regular updates and audits can help ensure that your security measures remain effective.

Using Strong Passwords and a Password Manager

Securing your accounts starts with strong passwords. A strong password is unique, long, and uses a mix of characters, numbers, and symbols. Here’s how to manage them effectively:

  1. Create unique passwords for each account: Avoid using the same password across multiple platforms or websites.
  2. Use a password manager: Tools like 1Password help manage and store your passwords securely. They can also generate strong, random passwords for each of your accounts.
  3. Regularly update your passwords: Change your passwords periodically and immediately if you suspect any of your accounts may be compromised.

Using a password manager simplifies managing your online credentials and enhances security by reducing the temptation to reuse passwords, a common vulnerability in personal and organizational security.

Use an Independent Email Address

Using an email address not tied to the domain registered with your registrar is crucial for account recovery processes. For this instance, instead of using an email from, opt for a third-party service like Gmail and enable MFA on it as well. This step will allow you to access the registrar account even if the domain has been compromised.

Ensure Multiple Access Points and Secure Associated Email Accounts

To ensure continuity, multiple trusted individuals should have access to your registrar account. To enhance security for email accounts linked to your domain management, use authenticator apps like Google Authenticator or hardware-based solutions like Yubikey.

Monitoring Changes

Use a DNS monitoring service like to monitor for unauthorized DNS changes. This allows for rapid response to potential threats.

Professional Help Is Just a Click Away

Managing digital security can be complex and time-consuming. adPharos is SOC2-audited, and we specialize in securing and managing online presences effectively. Partner with us to protect and monitor your digital assets efficiently.


The ordeal experienced by Sawnee serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities in digital asset management. Adopting robust security measures and seeking professional assistance can safeguard your organization against similar threats.

Our Blog

What Inspires Us

How to Prevent Domain Hijacking: Lessons from Sawnee’s Experience

Your domain is not just a part of your online identity; it’s your entire online identity. On May 3rd, 2024, Sawnee EMC…

Read More

Tracking WordPress Gravity Forms Conversions in Microsoft Ads

In the world of online advertising, connecting Gravity Forms with Microsoft Ads for conversion tracking might seem tricky, but fear not! We’ve…

Read More