Name.com Launches New Level of Account Security

Domain Name Hijacking has been an issue for almost as long as domain names have been around. In 1995 sex.com was stolen from it’s registrant in a very high profile case. It was still happening in 2001. In 2003. 2008 was a rough year from Godaddy – they were hit hard twice, in February and again in November and December.

The December incident, arguably one of the most troubling domain thefts in history made us realize how lacking domain registrars have been in dealing with account security.

But a domain name doesn’t have to be stolen to be problematic. USA Today addressed cyber criminal attacks being on the rise today and highlights the recent CheckFree.com fiasco:

In another recent attack, someone acquired the user name and password for a system administrator at CheckFree.com, the nation’s largest e-bill payment system. Using those log-in credentials, an intruder gained access to CheckFree’s domain name service account ’97 an account that permits the administrator to redirect traffic trying to access CheckFree’s home page to other legitimate company pages.

For several hours, the intruder redirected anyone typing www.mycheckfree.com to a Web server in the Ukraine that tried to install a password-stealing Trojan. Although as many as 160,000 customers may have been affected, none had any of his or her data stolen, says Lori Stafford-Thomas, a spokeswoman for Fiserv, the parent company of CheckFree. “CheckFree sites are all up and running properly and securely,” she says.

But the attempt was a sign of things to come, says Amit Klein, CTO of security firm Trusteer.

“The moral of this attack is that it’s so easy to take over your (website),” Klein says. “I just need to get ahold of your user name and password once. And we all know how easy it is to get your credentials.”

Name.com has long offered some of the industries best tools to keep entire accounts safe with login tracking/emails, history and IP restrictions. We’ve demonstrated once again why registrants trust us with their valuable digital assets by partnering with Verisign to offer their VIP (Verisign Identity Protection) service branded under NameSafe.

The NameSafe service offers a two factor authentication – combining something you know (your username and password) with something only you have access to (your one time randomly generate password) to create a more secure registrar experience. Currently both keyfob and credit card form factors are available for a nominal fee, and soon mobile phone options will be available for even greater convenience.

.TEL Landrush Pre-orders Now Being Accepted

We’ve begun accepting Landrush pre-orders for .tel domains. TEL is a very special type of domain name that allows both individuals and organizations the ability to have their contact information on the web without the need to build a website. By utilizing the telHosting Platform you can easily enter and format information in a clear and concise manner. You can find more information on how to use .tel on our .tel information page.

During Landrush the registration price is set at a premium and we’re charging $295 for the three year minimum term.

Landrush pre-orders will be processed on February 3, 2009 on a first come-first serve basis. Any domain names that are not successfully acquired for our customers will be eligible for a refund less a $10 processing fee.

Aussie Government Mandates Internet Censorship Down Under

It looks like the Australian government is creating a firewall similar to the one that China has been using.

Australia says it means to restrict minors from accessing pornography and violence on the Internet, although it would give the government carte blanche over what typical Australian Web surfers are able to access on a day to day basis.

In late 2007 Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Telecommunications Minister, had said that Internet users will be able to opt out of being filtered. That said, it appears that the content filters will be mandatory for all Australian Internet users, and “opt out” could mean being added to what has been called a blacklist:

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

Under the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

What does that mean for Name.com? The Great Firewall of China had effected some of our customers who were using URL forwarding. The issue caused some of our Chinese customers problems when trying to resolve their URL forwards in that country. We have a fair number of Australian customers as well. I’m afraid that they may experience the same type of inconvenience.

Not an incredibly big deal, but it makes me wonder if the effect of this type of Internet negativity on minors is prolific enough to warrant a governmental mandate. Is the government saying that parents and guardians of Australian minors need this type of help to control what their children look at on the Internet? Where is the line drawn between looking after the greater good of the people you represent, and blind censorship?

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is being held in Australia next month, interestingly enough. I am very curious to know what, if anything, will be said about this.

Name.com Now Offers Fastest Way to Buy Recently Deleted Domains

We’ve been working on a lot of behind the scenes improvements so that we could roll out some cool products and services. One of the first ones to drop is our new Recently Deleted Domains Service.You can search through domain names which have recently been deleted using a variety of search parameters including time since it dropped, length, keyword, extension, etc. It’s a pretty powerful tool, especially for those of you who have had your eye on a domain name but haven’t wanted to back order it.

We took it a step further and we’re also offering a Recently Deleted Domains Keyword Subscription Service. Right now you’re limited to English dictionary words. You can enter a variety of your favorite keywords as well as any you wish to block. We’ll send you an email update every 15, 30 or 60 minutes with a list of names that have dropped from the zone in that time frame.

The ’93Now What?’94 Series Intro

One of the questions I get asked over and over again by people outside of the domain name industry is “why do I need a domain?” the second most often asked question is “What do I do with my domain name?” Over the next couple of days I’ll be sharing some short articles with you. Articles targeted to those very people: end-users. Individuals and companies looking to register a domain name for a new business, a new product or any number of other reasons want to know what the can and what they should do with their newly minted Internet real estate. I owe a debt of gratitude to a talented young content writer who is here helping us out this summer. If Kevin Crane comes knocking on your door looking for a job, he’s got my endorsement and I thank him for his leg work and efforts on this series. The entirety of which will later be posted on the Name.com website.

The first and most important thing to do is make sure your domain name is secure. You spent some time and effort finding just the right domain name. You might have even paid a premium for the name in the aftermarket. Taking a few minutes to make sure that all of your contact details are accurate and that your domain name is locked from malicious changes and/or hijacking is a smart investment of a few minutes time.

Next, making sure that you know the username and password for your domain name registrar is another important item to check off. If you went through a designer or web host for your domain name you’ll want to make sure that you retain full rights to your name upon the termination of any relationship with that third party. Name.com recommends always registering your own domain names. Domain management isn’t difficult and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Finally, you may want to take advantage of multi-year discounts if your domain name registrar offers them. There are multiple reasons for doing so, including the peace of mind of having an extended registration (up to ten years) and not having to worry about annual renewals as well as the fact that Google looks favorably upon domain names which have expiration dates well into the future.