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Fake Bank Site, Fake Registrar

In our continuing review of Rogue Registrars we have stumbled upon on a very elaborate fake banking site for "Swiss Bank" or "Bank of Switzerland". To the casual Internet consumer this site probably appears legitimate, but a number of clues tip off the fraud. Phishing sites are everywhere so this does not immediately raise eyebrows until you review the Thick WHOIS record for the domain. more

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more

Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. more

ICANN Complaint System Easily Gamed

ICANN's WDPRS system has been defeated. The system is intended to remove or correct fraudulently registered domains, but it does not work anymore. Yesterday I submitted a memo to the leadership of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the greater At-Large community. The memo concerns the details of a 214-day saga of complaints about a single domain used for trafficking opioids. more

Domain Name Registrar Allows Completely Blank WHOIS

In a very casual and low-key footnote over the weekend, ICANN announced it would be further bypassing the Affirmation of Commitments and ignoring the WHOIS Review Team Report. There will be no enhanced validation or verification of WHOIS because unidentified people citing unknown statistics have said it would be too expensive... As a topic which has burned untold hours of community debate and development, the vague minimalist statement dismisses every ounce of work put in by stakeholders. more

Network Solutions Responds to Front Running Accusations

Following a post on the DomainState forum today, a number news and blogs have criticized Network Solutions for front running domain names that customers try to register. (See for instance today's report on DomainNameNews). Jonathon Nevett, Vice President of Policy at Network Solutions, has offered the following in response to the news break... more

North Dakota Judge Gets it Wrong

Ever been prosecuted for tracking spam? Running a traceroute? Doing a zone transfer? Asking a public internet server for public information that it is configured to provide upon demand? No? Well, David Ritz has. And amazingly, he lost the case. Here are just a few of the gems that the court has the audacity to call "conclusions of law." Read them while you go donate to David's legal defense fund... more

Domain Front Running by Registrars Continues to Draw Attention

In response to accusations lodged yesterday in a post on the DomainState forum, NSI has issued a statement which essentially admits that it engages in a form of domain front running. No one has challenged domain Front Running by registrars in the courts, likely because the practice is new and since the loss of a single domain would not typically generate a level of damages to support litigation. But litigation over this arguably fraudulent domain practice by registrars is both viable and likely inevitable... more

Conflict of Opinion

If a UDRP panelist believes domainers are the same thing as cybersquatters, is he fit to arbitrate? I came across an editorial on CNET today by Doug Isenberg, an attorney in Atlanta and founder of GigaLaw.com, and a domain name panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organization. The guest editorial focuses on Whois privacy and why it's imperative to maintain open access to registrant data for intellectual property and legal purposes. That's a common opinion I've read a million times. Nothing groundbreaking there. But then I was shocked to read that Isenberg generalizes domainers as cybersquatters: "Today, cybersquatters have rebranded themselves as 'domainers.' Popular blogs and news sites track their activities..." more

Most Abusive Domain Registrations are Preventable

As the WHOIS debate rages and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) space prepares to scale up the problem of rogue domain registration persists. These are set to be topics of discussion in Costa Rica. While the ICANN contract requires verification, in practice this has been dismissed as impossible. However, in reviewing nearly one million spammed domain registrations from 2011 KnujOn has found upwards of 90% of the purely abusive registrations could have been blocked. more

Two Years Later Dozens of Registrars Still in the Shadows

In June of 2008 KnujOn reported that 70 Registrars did not have a business address listed in the InterNIC Registrar Directory. Only after reporting a month later that little had changed did ICANN perform a mass update of the directory. On further inspection we found many of the newly disclosed addresses were phantom locations, false addresses, and PO boxes. more

The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008

Last week Sen. Snowe filed bill S.2661, the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, or APCPA. While its goals are laudable, I have my doubts about some of the details. The first substantive section of the bill, Section 3, makes various phishy activities more illegal than they are now in its first two subsections. It makes it specifically illegal to solicit identifying information from a computer under false pretenses, and to use a domain name that is deceptively similar to someone else's brand or name on the web in e-mail or IM to mislead people... more

Rebooting Whois

As some readers probably know, I spend quite a bit of my time working on Internet policy related matters. Some of it may appear incredibly boring, but it matters. (If you really want me to explain why it matters I'd be happy to do so!) Since earlier this year I've been part of a small team of people drawn from the four corners of the globe and asked to re-examine "whois". more

More on WHOIS Privacy

Last week I wrote a note the ICANN WHOIS privacy battle, and why nothing's likely to change any time soon. Like many of my articles, it is mirrored at CircleID, where some of the commenters missed the point. One person noted that info about car registrations, to which I roughly likened WHOIS, are usually available only to law enforcement, and that corporations can often be registered in the name of a proxy, so why can't WHOIS do the same thing? more

Sorry, Not Sorry: WHOIS Data Must Remain Public

In March, I posted a call to action to those of us in the community who have the inclination to fight against a movement to redact information critical to anti-abuse research. Today, I felt compelled to react to some of the discussions on the ICANN discussion list dedicated to the issue of WHOIS reform: Sorry, not sorry: I work every working hour of the day to protect literally hundreds of millions of users from privacy violating spam, phish, malware, and support scams. more

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