Nominet: Dodgy .UK Domains Double in a Year

The number of .uk domains involved in criminal activity almost doubled this year, with the majority flagged by intellectual property police, according to Nominet.

The .uk registry’s annual Criminality Report showed an increase in suspended domains between 1 November 2015 and 31 October 2016 of over 4,000 – from 3,889 to 8,049.

However, the figure still represents just 0.08% of the total 10 million .uk domains currently registered – highlighting the close co-operation between Nominet and law enforcers and regulators.

IP infringement is by far the most common type of criminality associated with .uk domains, with over 7500 requests coming from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Other regulars included the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – responsible for 251 requests – Trading Standards (115) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (45).

“We want to make .uk a difficult space for criminals to operate in and the number of suspensions shows how the wider law enforcement community and the domain name industry are able to use an established process to take action, together,” said Nominet CEO, Russell Haworth.

Fewer than 1% of requests didn’t result in suspensions, while just 13 were reversed.

“With the vigilance of law enforcement agencies we are able to respond swiftly to suspension requests,” continued Haworth.

“This period saw a change in legislation making some formerly legal highs illegal. This explains the number of suspensions that were reversed, due to websites not responding quickly enough to changes in the law and being reinstated once links to offending products had been removed.”

While Nominet is to be commended for its approach, cyber-criminals have plenty more exposed TLD systems to target.

The total number of unique phishing sites seen in Q2 2016 was 466,065 – up 61% from the first quarter and an all-time high, according to the Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG).

China is known to be one of the worst offenders, although in the main such activity is focused on countries inside the Great Firewall.

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