There is an interesting article on the Huffington Post this morning that discusses the problems associated with domain name theft and the difficulty some owners encounter when trying to recover their stolen domain names. The writer interviewed “several recent victims” for the article, and DomainGang.com also received some positive acknowledgment as a result of its coverage of domain theft.
You should certainly read the entire article when you have a chance, but a few interesting personal takeaways of the article include:
- Jonathan Askin, a technology law professor at Brooklyn Law School, mentioned how lawsuits can’t be filed by many victims because domain names aren’t considered property.
- During the last year, an FBI spokesman reported that there have been 26 reports of domain theft.
- Email hacking is the primary way domain name theft occurs. Once a hacker has control of an email account associated with a domain name, it can be easier to steal the domain names in that account.
- When different domain registrars are involved (ie a transfer of a stolen domain name to another registrar), it can be challenging to get one to cooperate to recover the domain name.
- The rightful owner of a domain name may not know the domain name has been stolen, making it more difficult to spread the word to potential buyers.
Although domain theft is relatively rare, it is something that all domain investors should know about and do what they can to ensure it doesn’t happen to them. Articles like the one appearing on HuffPo help spread the word about domain theft, and creating awareness about the issue can be helpful to victims who need to recover their domain names.
Protecting a domain name registrar account should be a top priority for domain investors, and that starts with securing other accounts associated with the registrar account. Adding two step authentication is important, and making sure strong, different passwords are used at domain registrars and email accounts are also important steps to take.
Check out the article when you have a chance today.
Ah, finally the story is out 😀 It’s a good thing to see mainstream media cover domain thefts that affect the workflow of a business, and that was exactly the angle the article’s editor wanted to take. There are far many more domain thefts that occur without their owners realizing what is going on, until the domains are gone missing from their portfolio.
To set the record straight, I’ve received threats about the coverage of the MLA.com theft; I’m far from being an “anonymous blogger” and DomainGang is one of my full time projects, not a “free time” gig.
Registrars are likely responsible for many of these thefts via social engineering attacks; lax security policies surely contribute. Unfortunately they are the only real source for finding out how big a problem this really is. Bottom line: there are too many intermediaries involved in the current domain name system, it’s high time we started migrating to safer, more robust, decentralized systems.