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WHOIS History API: Powering Domain Investigations

Reverse WHOIS: A Powerful Process in Cybersecurity

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

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Phishing 2020: A Concentrated Dose of Badness

How much phishing is there? Where is it occurring, and why? How can it be reduced? I and my colleagues at Interisle Consulting have just published a new study called Phishing Landscape 2020, designed to answer those questions. We assembled a deep set of data from four different, respected threat intelligence providers and enriched it with additional DNS data and investigation. The result is a look at phishing attacks that occurred in May through July 2020. more

The Whois Wars Go On

There is a lot of discussion about the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) Phase 2 report on evaluating a System for Standardized Access/Disclosure (SSAD) to non-public gTLD registration data after the decisions taken by the GNSO Council on September 24th. Notably, the Business Constituency (BC) and the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) have voted against the adoption of the Final Report of the EPDP team. more

A Failed Whois Policy

ICANN's two-year effort to purportedly preserve the Whois public directory to the greatest extent possible while complying with GDPR has failed. Under the latest proposal, the Whois database, once a contractually-required directory of domain name registrants, will be gutted to the point of virtual worthlessness, as registrars, registries, academics, and hand-wringing others ignored the public interest and imposed ever-higher barriers to legitimate, GDPR-compliant access to registration data. more

Too Little, Too Late? Why ICANN's Proposed WHOIS Access System Isn't Worth It

After two years of grueling, complex and contentious debate, the ICANN EPDP team delivered its Phase 2 Final Report on July 31st, 2020. Unfortunately, and disappointingly, the policy recommended for the so-called "System for Standardized Access/Disclosure" (SSAD) fails to meet the needs of the users it supposedly is designed to benefit. more

The State of DNS Abuse: Moving Backward, Not Forward

ICANN's founding promise and mandate are optimistic -- ensure a stable and secure internet that benefits the internet community as a whole. Recent months, however, have highlighted the uncomfortable truth that ICANN's and the industry's approach to DNS abuse is actually moving backward, ignoring growing problems, abdicating on important policy issues, and making excuses for not acting. Further, the impending failure of ICANN's new WHOIS policy to address cybersecurity concerns will add fuel to the fire, resulting in accelerating DNS abuse that harms internet users across the globe. more

Article 22 of the GDPR Should Not Preclude Contemplated Automation

There is an ongoing disagreement among various members and groups in the ICANN community regarding automation -- namely, whether and to what extent automation can be used to disclose registrant data in response to legitimate data disclosure requests. A major contributing factor to the complications around automation has been confusion about how to interpret and apply Article 22 of the GDPR. more

COVID-19, WHOIS, and the Pressing Need for Help With Domain Name System Abuse

As widely reported, and not surprising, the internet is swimming in COVID-19 online scams. Criminals, accustomed to rapidly grabbing online territory during times of crisis and profiting from public fear, are working overtime in the face of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, ICANN's failure to enforce its minimal WHOIS and DNS abuse requirements has resulted in delayed mitigation efforts at a time when swift responses are needed to protect the public from COVID-19 scams. more

At the Crossroads: The State of Domain Registration Data Services

The Internet's users rely on domain name registration information for vital purposes, including providing security, problem-solving, and legal and social accountability. The data is so important that users perform more than two billion WHOIS queries every day. ICANN has instituted new data policies over the last two years, and is also directing a migration to a new technical protocol, RDAP, that will replace WHOIS access in the near future. So at this critical juncture, how is it all going? more

Consistency, Urgency, and Transparency Needed for Registrant Data Requests

As we reported in our Post-GDPR Compliance Rate retrospective in January 2020, registrar compliance rates in response to verified requests for redacted registrant information using the Appdetex WHOIS Requestor System was 25 percent. Our most recent report shows the compliance rate has increased to 27 percent, based upon a total of 243 requests for redacted WHOIS information sent to 68 registrars over the period starting January 1, 2020, through February 24, 2020. more

If ICANN Won't Stand Up to EU in WHOIS Dispute, Then the U.S. Congress Should

The early designers of the Internet quickly realized that as the number of domain names flourished, there was a need for tracking domain name owners to resolve questions and conflicts that might arise. To that end, they created WHOIS, a public database with the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses of registered domain owners and operators. more

The End of the Road: ICANN, Whois, and Regulation

There's a well-documented crisis facing the domain name system: very few who rely on domain name registration data from the Whois database to perform vital functions can do so any longer, which is escalating consumer harm and abuse on the internet worldwide. And the problems, thanks to ICANN's overly restrictive policy post-GDPR and a failing policy process, are piling up. more

The Utility Formerly Known As WHOIS

Muscle memory is a funny thing. We don't even think about it really, but when we do the same thing over and over again, it just becomes second nature to us. This is how we've come to use WHOIS over the past two decades to get contact information for registered domain names. If you wanted to see who owned a domain, you'd simply do a WHOIS search. I've probably done hundreds of thousands of them during my time in the industry. Well as of this week, a major step in the retirement of WHOIS officially took place. more

ICANN at a Crossroads: GDPR and Human Rights

The European Data Protection Board certainly has been keeping its records straight. Its 27 May statement starts with the following: "WP29 has been offering guidance to ICANN on how to bring WHOIS in compliance with European data protection law since 2003." All internet users have dealings with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, yet the vast majority have never heard of ICANN. more

Law Enforcement Agencies Will Have Authority on Registries and Registrars

Accessing Whois information and acting on a litigious domain name is becoming a nightmare for law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies must have an access to the information provided by registrants in the Whois database and, in specific cases, have authority to act FAST on a domain name. The EU has a solution for this and it's coming in 2020. more

M3AAWG and APWG Do the Best Survey Yet on WHOIS Redaction

M3AAWG, the Messaging, Malware, and Mobile, Anti-Abuse Working Group and APWG, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, surveyed their members about recent WHOIS changes. With over 300 results from security researchers, it's the broadest report yet on WHOIS use. The survey results confirm our concerns that WHOIS was a vital resource for security research, and its loss is a serious and ongoing problem. more

Industry Updates

Enriching IP Blacklists Using a Reverse IP/DNS Database

Beefing Up Third-Party Risk Management with Reverse DNS Search

Strengthening Brand Protection with Subdomain Lookups: A Short Study

Not All VPN Users Are Worth Trusting, a Lesson for Cloud Service Providers

Gathering Context Around Emotet, Trickbot, and Dridex C&C Servers with Bulk IP Geolocation

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