Information Highwaymen and Your Domain
You go to work every day at the store you own, and one morning, your key to the door doesn'twork. You look in the window, and the display items have changed. A stranger is behind thecounter. But when you call the police, they can't do anything because the company papersnow indicate that the store belongs to the stranger.The above scenario isn't likely to happen with a bricks-and-mortar store. Because of insecurities in the domain registration system, however, information highwaymen could takeover your online business.As with identity theft, domain thieves steal your identity -- the identity used to register andconfigure your domain name. After that, your website, your email, your online business, andpossibly your reputation are theirs.Domain names at risk of theftWhile theft is a risk with all domain names, domains most at risk are more valuable ones.Domains with dot com extensions have a higher resale value than domains with other extensions, and domains with high traffic or valuable keywords are also more likely to betargets.The motivebehind domain hijacking is usually monetary, but it may be personal. If anyonewants to attack you, stealing your domain name is one way to do it.How domain theft happensWhen domain hijackers steal your domain, they gain access to the domain's Whois records.They can modify the domain's nameserversso that the domain points to a different server.They can also transfer the domain to a different registrar.Either way, site visitors will find themselves at the website of the domain hijacker instead of atyour site. All domain email will go to or through the other server instead of to you. All you'llhave left is a website without public access because your domain isn't pointing to it any more.How can this happen?Domain hijacking methods- Domain hijackers send forged faxes to the domain registrar, impersonating the registrants.- Domain hijackers hack into the accounts of free email addresses listed in Whois records anduse those addresses to obtain domain account information.- Domain hijackers send out fraudulent email renewal notices, and registrants unknowinglytransfer their domains to the thieves.Registrar non-action- The gaining registrar (the registrar that the domain is transferred to) doesn't obtain approvalfrom the domain name registrant or administrative contact as required by ICANN Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.- The losing registrar (that the domain is transferred from) doesn't notify the registrant of thetransfer during the five-day pending transfer period. During this period, the registrant cancancel or deny approval of the domain transfer --- if the registrar notifies the registrant of it.Registrant carelessness- The registrant forgets to update Whois details or to renew the account.- Someone with access to the registrant's records steals the information.Domain name disputesIf you discover that your domain has been hijacked, contact your registrar immediately. If your registrar is unable to resolve the situation, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned
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