EURid Working to Protect Your Online Identity

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Written by guest blogger David Goldstein.

Protecting one’s domain name is an essential part of registration housekeeping, along with protecting your brand and identity online. Particularly for brands, losing control of one’s domain name can be a costly exercise, in time if not money. For business it can also be costly to one’s reputation and lost business. A lost reputation is difficult to recover. Even an hour of downtime for your website can mean lost sales and bookings. Registries like EURid are aware of this and have implemented several measures to help protect registrants of .eu and .ею domain names.

Some of the threats that EURid works to prevent, and registrants need to be aware of, are phishing, domain name hijacking, registry and registrar locks, two-factor authentication and the implementation of DNSSEC. All tools that EURid has implemented or supported to help registrants and keep a safe and secure online community.

Phishing

Phishing is a huge problem. It’s a fraudulent email where the sender seeks to appear like it is a legitimate email, usually from a reputable business, that seeks to gather personal and/or financial information from the recipients. Phishing emails can often use logos of the reputable brands, but links to websites included in the emails are not to legitimate sites. They also often contain poor spelling and grammar, and addressed to the “person” that appears before the “@” symbol in the email address.

The imitation of reputable brands, selling products that are either counterfeit or never existed, was estimated to be a $460 billion business in 2016 according to the International Trademark Association. And according to the Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG), 195,475 unique domain names were used to facilitate the 255,065 unique phishing attacks in 2016. This is the most domain names used for phishing attacks since the APWG began recording statistics in 2007, and 3 times the number of 2015. And while domain name registrations have increased, the increase has been nothing like that of the increases in phishing attacks.

Domain Name Hijacking or Theft

Registrants can sometimes find their domain name has been wrongfully hijacked or stolen. Having one’s domain name stolen can also cause major problems for businesses with the criminal seeking to exploit a business’s name and reputation. Again, the loss of a domain name for a business can be devastating to income and reputation. While a registrant may not be to blame for having their domain name stolen, there are some measures registrants can take to help lessen their chances. One of main ways is ensuring registration records, or Whois information, is kept up-to-date with email contacts within an organisation not individuals but rather generic email addresses. The global overseer of the domain names system, ICANN, has found that “registrants who allow registration records to become stale appear to be more vulnerable to attacks.”

Registry Locks

The implementation of a lock at the registry level is a great way to help prevent domain name hijacking or theft. A domain name protected by a Registry Lock cannot be modified or transferred until the registrant’s registrar removes the lock. An additional means of protection at the registrar level is a 5-day transfer pending period, where the losing registrar may take steps to verify the registrant’s intent to transfer.

EURid makes available its Registry Lock for .eu and .ею domain names through their registrars, although not all offer this service.

Two-Factor Authentication

Passwords have been shown to be not adequate in verifying one’s identity on their own. All too often this single authenticating factor has been shown to be vulnerable to attacks. Passwords have been stolen all too regularly as databases are hacked. To add another layer of security many online sites that collect information require multi-factor authentication. In addition to a password the hacker needs to know something else about you. This authentication is often done through emailing or texting a code to enter before a log-in can be completed or even through the provision of a special hardware device often referred to as a security token which is common among banks through Europe.

Many registrars, along with many other businesses that collect personal information, have implemented two-factor authentication.

DNSSEC

When the domain name system was originally designed, security wasn’t thought of. Nobody anticipated how big and how important it would become. As originally designed, the DNS doesn’t offer internet users and domain name registrants security. As the internet grew, criminals became involved, which resulted in security researchers developing DNSSEC to protect internet users from what is known as spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks.

The result was DNSSEC, or Domain Name System Security Extensions. DNSSEC is a security protocol that when implemented means website visitors can be assured they’re going to a legitimate website.

DNSSEC was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) following vulnerabilities that were detected in the DNS. The security protocol uses digital signatures to validate the domain name requested, ensuring the requested information in the DNS cannot be modified from its source without being detected. “Once fully deployed,” ICANN notes on its DNSSEC resource page, “DNSSEC will stop the attacker’s ability to redirect users using the DNS. Of particular interest to ISPs and enterprises, DNSSEC will prevent en masse redirection at the DNS resolver (also known as cache poisoning).”

EURid understands the threats, which is why the registry behind Europe’s dots believes that securing your online presence is of the utmost importance. EURid employs a team of security experts that work to ensure that all .eu and .ею domain names have the latest and best security to protect against today’s greatest online exploits. The safety of your domain name, that’ what EURid stands for.