Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Analysis: Crackdown on domain name crooks

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Shaun Waterman
Washington (UPI) May 29, 2008
The non-profit association that oversees Internet addresses is trying to crack down on shady Web pages used by spammers and hackers.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers sent letters this week to some of the biggest sellers of Internet real estate, warning that those who failed to fulfill their obligations under the rules could be shut down.

"This is about transparency," ICANN Director of Compliance Stacy Burnette told United Press International. "It is an effort to improve the accuracy of information related to who controls" Internet addresses, known as domain names.

Domain names are leased out by companies called registrars, which are accredited by ICANN. As part of the registration process, those leasing domain names -- the registrants -- are required to identify themselves and provide contact information in a huge Internet database known as WHOIS.

But spammers and other criminals who use Web pages to sell counterfeit goods, steal identities or propagate malicious software rarely provide accurate WHOIS information and sometimes do not provide any at all, say Web security specialists.

"It's a huge problem," said Burnette, declining to give more detailed figures on the numbers of registrants reported to have submitted inaccurate or incomplete information.

Burnette told UPI that ICANN has no authority to directly target spammers and other criminals who register domain names and that the registrars it accredits are not required to proactively ensure the accuracy of their registrants' WHOIS information. But they are obliged to follow up reports from ICANN or from the public about missing or incorrect WHOIS data.

"If we find that registrars are not investigating reports (of inaccurate or non-existent WHOIS data) as they are required to, our escalation procedure can ultimately result in their accreditation being terminated," effectively shutting them down, she said.

She said the letters sent this week, known as enforcement notices, required the registrars to detail what steps they had taken to investigate and, if necessary, correct inaccuracies reported to them regarding specific, named domains. The letters set out a deadline by which the registrars must respond.

"Each case is different," said Burnette, adding, "We try to give registrars a reasonable amount of time to respond."

If the registrars fail to respond satisfactorily by the deadline, they can be sent so-called breach notices, giving them 15 days to fix the problem or lose their ICANN accreditation.

Burnette said the notices were the latest step in an enforcement campaign ICANN launched at the end of last year. "We're working aggressively to address the problem," she said, adding that no breach notices had yet been issued.

Many of the domain names at issue are those hosting Web pages advertised in spam e-mails -- billions of unsolicited messages sent every year, mostly by so-called botnets of personal computers that, unbeknownst to their owners, have been taken over by hackers and other cybercriminals.

The messages contain links to Web pages selling discounted (and often counterfeit) pharmaceuticals, jewelry and other products, or -- in the case of so-called phishing e-mails -- to pages purporting to belong to banks or other financial institutions and where customers are asked to enter personal data that can be used to steal their identity and their money.

Often the pages attempt to load malicious software onto any computer that visits them -- hacker programs that will recruit them into a spammer's botnet.

Earlier this month Web security outfit KnujOn -- "no junk" spelled backward -- analyzed millions of spam e-mail messages forwarded by members of the public. They concluded that 90 percent of the Internet addresses the spam advertised had been leased by just 20 registrars.

"KnujOn has found that a minority of registrars are skirting these rules (about registration requirements), and the result is a vacuum with little enforcement or oversight that online criminals have filled with Web sites selling bogus prescription drugs, knockoff luxury products, pirated software, fake consumer goods and phantom mortgages," the analysis reads.

KnujOn's analysis shows that the three worst offenders -- ranked according to the proportion of domain names they had registered that were advertised in spam e-mail, and the numbers of e-mails sent advertising those Web sites -- were all Chinese companies.

But the Top 10 offenders also include major U.S. registrars like Bellevue, Wash.-based eNom Inc. and Moniker, in Pompano Beach, Fla., each of which leases millions of domain names.

Related Links
Satellite-based Internet technologies

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Pacific students lagging in computer age: researcher
Majuro (AFP) May 25, 2008
Pacific island students are falling behind in the computer age due to a lack of facilities and access to the few resources available, an advisor to the Pacific Forum said Sunday.

  • Analysis: Crackdown on domain name crooks
  • Pacific students lagging in computer age: researcher
  • Icahn moves to replace Yahoo board, restart Microsoft talks
  • Intelsat And Panasonic To Bring Broadband Service To The Skies

  • NASA sets Thursday for GLAST launch
  • Two Ariane 5s Are Readied For Launches In May And June
  • Arianespace Completes The Assembly Of Another Ariane 5
  • Zenit Rocket Powers A Successful Sea Launch Campaign

  • China's new jumbo-jet firm no threat to Airbus, Boeing: state media
  • China unveils new jumbo jet company: report
  • NASA And JAXA To Conduct Joint Research On Sonic Boom Modeling
  • Analysis: Can airplanes go green?

  • Lockheed Martin Team Delivers Flight Software For Next Missile Warning Satellite
  • Keeping The Military Fully Networked And Online
  • Raytheon Tests Distributed Common Ground System Block 10.2 System
  • SAIC Awarded Contract To Support Space And Naval Warfare Systems Command

  • Paralysed man takes a walk in virtual world
  • Study finds best times for radio signals
  • Self-Repairing Aircraft Could Revolutionize Aviation Safety
  • US, China Space Debris Still Orbiting Earth

  • Globalstar AppointS Thomas Colby Chief Operating Officer
  • SES AMERICOM Announces Change In Executive Management
  • Bill Flynn Joins Americom Government Services to Lead Navy Programs
  • NASA names science directorate deputy

  • China Launches Weather Satellite For Olympic Games
  • Seeing Clearly Despite The Clouds
  • GeoEye Scheduled To Launch Next-Gen EO Satellite
  • NASA/Northrop Grumman Agreement Opens Door To Earth Science Research

  • Lockheed Martin Launches GMLRS Rocket From HIMARS With GPS-Aided Fire Control
  • Trimble Introduces GNSS Reference Sensor For Infrastructure And Network Applications
  • Universal Receiver Tester Offers Innovative GPS Test And Simulation Capabilities
  • Kyocera Wireless Announces Brew Support And Developer Tools For New M2M Modules

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement