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Domain Research and Monitoring: Keeping an Eye on the Web for You

WHOIS History API: Powering Domain Investigations

Reverse WHOIS: A Powerful Process in Cybersecurity

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Recent WHOIS Report Overlooking Fundamental Issue?

Each Task Force recently published a report posted on ICANN's website on recommendations for modifications or improvements to WHOIS. The Task Force recommendations include proposals ranging from a recommendation to notify those who may be included in the database of the possible uses of WHOIS data to one that recommends ICANN offer the Internet community "tiered access" to serve as a vague mechanism to balance privacy against the needs of public access. Too many of the recommendations seem to be framed by those who view Internet users with hostility, such as the recommendation to punish domain name users when a domain name is cancelled or suspended for "false contact data," by canceling all other registrations with identical contact data. more

NTIA Nixes Privacy Protection in Whois

Many registrars have gotten complacent about reforming the Whois-Privacy relationship. After all, they can sell additional privacy protection to their subscribers for an extra $5-10. Seems like a perfect "market oriented" interim solution, as the so-called "bottom up" policy development process of ICANN figures out how to provide tiered access. Not so fast. more

Privacy Alert: Watch Out For FOISA

This morning, at 10 am in 2141 Rayburn, the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on "Internet Domain Name Fraud -- New Criminal and Civil Enforcement Tools." At that hearing, the Subcommittee will be considering a new Whois bill creating new penalties for people who provide false data when registering a domain name. We need to raise our collective eyebrows at this bill (which was suddenly dropped the evening before this hearing). The title of the bill is the "Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act." (FOISA) more

The US Department of Commerce, the DNS Root, and ICANN

The recent announcement in eWeek titled "Feds Won't Let Go of Internet DNS" (slashdotted here) has some major internet policy implications. The short, careful wording appears to be more of a threat to ICANN than a power grab. In short, the US Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it was not going to stop overseeing ICANN's changes to the DNS root. ...Of course, they have done next to nothing to support DNSSEC or other proposal for securing the DNS, but it sounds reassuring. The last sentence shows that the Bush administration shares the Clinton administration's lack of understanding of how the internet should evolve... more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part I

This is the first part of a two-part series interview by Geert Lovink with Milton Mueller discussing ICANN, World Summit on the Information Society, and the escalating debates over Internet Governance. Read the second part of this Interview here. Geert Lovink: "Would it make sense to analyse ICANN (and its predecessors) as a test model for some sort of secretive 'world government' that is run by self appointed experts? Could you explain why governments are seen as incapable of running the Internet? This all comes close to a conspiracy theory. I am not at all a fan of such reductionist easy-to-understand explanations. However, the discontent with 'global governance' discourse is widespread and it seems that the International Relations experts have little understanding how the Internet is actually run. Where do you think theorization of Internet governance should start?" more

ICANN Proposed Interim GDPR Compliance Model Would Kill Operational Transparency of the Internet

ICANN has consistently said its intention in complying with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to comply while at the same time maintaining access to the WHOIS domain name registration database "to greatest extent possible." On February 28, ICANN published its proposed model. Strangely, while ICANN acknowledges that some of the critical purposes for WHOIS include consumer protection, investigation of cybercrimes, mitigation of DNS abuse, and intellectual property protection, the model ICANN proposes provides no meaningful pathway to use WHOIS in those ways. more

ICANN on Closing Off Port 43

ICANN has launched three task forces on WHOIS restructuring...It sounds innocuous enough -- nobody likes spam -- but the restrictions being discussed reach further than marketers. Pushed by registrars who feel that WHOIS amounts to forced disclosure of their customer lists, the task force is seriously discussing closing off port 43's straightforward access to WHOIS information, replacing it with GIF-based barriers or similar access restrictions. more

If WHOIS Privacy is a Good Idea, Why is it Going Nowhere?

ICANN has been wrangling about WHOIS privacy for years. Last week, yet another WHOIS working group ended without making any progress. What's the problem? Actually, there are two: one is that WHOIS privacy is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be, and the other is that so far, nothing in the debate has given any of the parties any incentive to come to agreement. The current ICANN rules for WHOIS say, approximately, that each time you register a domain in a gTLD (the domains that ICANN manages), you are supposed to provide contact information... WHOIS data is public, and despite unenforceable rules to the contrary, it is routinely scraped... more

ICANN and the DOC

ICANN today issued a press release and a series of documents about its relationship with the U.S. Department of Commerce. ...ICANN is no longer bound by the specific set of milestones that were in its prior MoU with DOC. With this freedom comes great responsibility. Without detailed government oversight, and without market competition for policymaking for domain names, ICANN (and the ICANN Board) has a great obligation to be accountable to its community. more

Do We Need Title Insurance for Domain Names?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I read an article in Forbes (November 13, page 148) about real estate title insurance. The article was about how real estate title insurance is a joke and overpriced. But as I read in the article how titles are investigated, in dawned on me that a title check service for domain names would be helpful. Title checks and title insurance would prevent you from losing money when you bought a stolen domain. Last year I almost got bilked for $5,000 buying domains...before I discovered they were stolen... more

An Open Letter to Yahoo!'s Postmaster

In June 2004, Yahoo! and a number of other companies got together to announce the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance or ASTA. While it appears to have been largely silent since then, ASTA did at least publish an initial set of best practices the widespread adoption of which could possibly have had some impact on spam... The majority of these are clearly aimed at ISPs and end users, but some are either generally or specifically relevant to email providers such as Yahoo!, Google or Microsoft... The problem: Since February this year, we have been receiving a significant quantity of spam emails from Yahoo!'s servers. In addition to their transport via the Yahoo! network, all originate from email addresses in yahoo.com, yahoo.co.uk and one or two other Yahoo! domains. Every such message bears a Yahoo! DomainKeys signature... more

ICANN Transfer Policy: Domain Hijacking Got Easier or Did It?

Slashdot recently ran a story about the upcoming changes to the ICANN rules governing domain transfers between registrars. A blog entry at Netcraft referenced by the story stated that: "...domain transfer requests will be automatically approved in five days unless they are explicitly denied by the account owner. This is a change from current procedure, in which a domain's ownership and nameservers remain unchanged if there is no response to a transfer request. This could mean trouble for domain owners who don't closely manage their records..." more

Nominet Position Paper on Front Running

Nominet has published a very detailed and comprehensive position paper on "front running". Although the paper is a mere 5 pages long it covers all the areas that the topic encompasses very well and is well worth a read. The topic of "front running" has received some publicity in the last few months. If you're not familiar with the concept Nominet's definition is helpful... more

TLD Registration Enforcement: A Call for Automation - Part I

The past year has brought a rise in so-called "open and chartered" top-level domains (TLDs). Like the traditional open TLDs of .COM, .NET, and .ORG, these namespaces encourage large-scale registrations, but they differ in that they limit who can legitimately register domains. So far, many thousands of their registrations seem to break the stated rules. It's therefore worth thinking through their respective enforcement efforts -- before the situation gets out of control. more

An Unsanctioned Whois Database

Mark Jeftovic of easyDNS Technologies Inc. has posted an item on ICANN's "GNSO" registrars' mailing list titled "unsanctioned Whois concepts". In that item he suggests that the control and actual publication of contact information about a domain be put into the zone file itself, a file maintained by the registrant (purchasor) of the domain name. more

Industry Updates

Augmenting Digital Risk Protection with Threat Intelligence Sources

Threat Intelligence Feeds in the Fight against Insurance-Themed Cyber Attacks

WHOIS History Footprint Tells Us More about the Man Behind the Biggest BLM Scam

100K+ List of Disposable Email Domains Under Security Analysis

Detecting Possible Domain Generation Algorithm-Related Threats Using Typosquatting Data Feed

Subdomain Lookup as Part of Cybersecurity Best Practices

Using WHOIS History and Other Intelligence Sources for Establishing Potential Attack Surfaces

DNS Records Lookup of "Walmart Drive-In Movie Theater" Domains Indicates Likely Typosquatting

What a WHOIS Registrant Lookup Can Tell about "Kanye West" Newly Registered Domains

Host to IP and DNS Analysis of Dozens of Fortnite-Inspired Typosquatting Domains

Bulk Domain Lookup of 3,000+ NRDs with "Deal" Word Strings Appearing Days before July 4

Bulk WHOIS Lookup of Florida SMMC Lookalike Domains Shows Signs of Typosquatting

Hundreds of Election-Related Domain Names Seen as 2020 U.S. Elections Nears

Upward Trend Seen in "All Lives Matter," "BLM," and "Protest" Domain Registrations

Punycode Phishing: Internationalized Domain Names Remain a Threat in 2020