Catching bad actors on the internet is a challenge both for law enforcement trying to protect citizens and for those operating the networks that provide internet access. When information on who runs a website is blocked, malware, scammers, spammers, and criminals can flourish online. This challenge was a major topic of discussion at ICANN61, a recent meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and various internet stakeholders.
The forthcoming implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its effects on the domain name industry have created an intense discussion on how to manage the long-standing Whois database, which collects and disseminates a variety of information on who runs websites. In response to the GDPR, ICANN has proposed to limit public access to key information about websites, and a plan to allow more detailed data to accredited law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals hasn’t eased fears about the changes.
A domain name’s activity history and possible security threats it may pose help domain name holders understand how to manage online security and anti-abuse programs. Enterprise IT departments and cybersecurity companies use published registration data records for millions of domain names to detect network security threats and investigate digital crimes. They use this information to block threats such as phishing, malware, and spam using reputation feeds and block lists. This information can also help protect consumers from bad actors because malicious registration behaviors can be traced back to previous scams or illicit internet behavior.
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