The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has reminded small businesses to take urgent action to safeguard their brand and identity on the internet or risk seeing impersonators, web-name ‘campers’ or cyber criminals take up domain names just like theirs.

The auDA introduced the new system on March 24, allowing anyone with a connection to Australia, such as businesses, associations and individuals, to register a new category of domain name. Instead of ending with,,, etc people could register the shorter .au name. For example, could be

Australian businesses with an existing domain name only have until 20 September to reserve or register their equivalent .au domain name before it became available to the general public. The Ombudsman said the changes could see businesses lose their customer base or be at the mercy of cyber criminals impersonating them if they did not proactively sign up to the new system.

The Ombudsman also raised concerns about domain name ‘squatting’ and the potential for cybercrime. The Australian Cyber Security Centre has this week issued an alert warning that the new domain name category could allow cybercriminals to facilitate fraudulent activity like business email compromise which can lead to invoice fraud. The ACSC website warns: “Opportunistic cybercriminals could register your .au domain name in an attempt to impersonate your business.”

The Ombudsman is calling on auDA to extend the 20 September deadline to give small business sufficient time to allow them to understand the changes and address this issue.

You can read more on this topic in the following media release from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman: