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Suspended .UK Domains Double in a Year

The volume of .uk domains suspended by Nominet over the past year because of criminal activity has doubled, according to the registry.

The Oxford-based non-profit claimed the number of domains switched off over the 12 months to October 2017 stood at 16,632.

Although it’s a massive increase on the 8049 domains suspended over the previous year, the figure today still only equates to 0.14% of the more than 12 million .uk domains currently registered.

“A key part of our role in running the .uk internet infrastructure is to ensure that .uk is a difficult space for criminals to operate in,” argued Nominet CEO, Russell Haworth.

“The upward trend in suspended domains confirms that increasingly criminals seek opportunities online, but also shows how our cooperation with the law enforcement community and our expertise in network analytics helps tackle this problem thanks to the established processes and cybersecurity tools we have in place.”

To that end, the registry now collaborates with 10 police and other organizations and over the past year received requests from seven: DEFRA – Veterinary Medicines Directorate; Metropolitan Police – Fraud and Linked Crime Online (FALCON); the National Crime Agency (NCA); Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA); Trading Standards; National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB); and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

A Nominet spokesperson confirmed to Infosecurity that the biggest reason for domain suspensions was IP infringement, handled by the PIPCU. It submitted over 13,500 requests to Nominet, nearly double last year.

However, the spike in suspensions was also down to the increasing popularity of phishing, with 2781 requests coming from the NFIB. 

Over 108,000 phishing domains were being used in the first half of 2017, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

However, the group’s latest report for 1H 2017 claimed: “UK (.uk) is one of the largest ccTLDs, but had a lower volume of phishing than would be expected.”

This time last year, Nominet also reported a doubling of suspended .uk domains, from 3889 to 8049.

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