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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Lock your domain. Take your keys.

Fascinating story in yesterday's New York Times about a well-known commercial ISP in New York City, panix.com, that woke up one recent morning to find that its entire domain name had been transferred, without its knowledge or consent, to some outfit in Australia. After a bunch of screaming and hissing, it got it back, but there was a lot of disruption, particularly among Panix's customers who have that domain in their e-mail addresses. They were suddenly cut off from the cyberworld.

I hate it when that happens.

To make matters even more interesting to Portland web types, the original, legitimate registrar of the domain was a Vancouver, Wash.-based outfit known as Dotster, which emerges from yesterday's Times article looking a little weak. But it turns out another player in the "chain of command" was culpable: an Australian registrar named Melbourne IT, which apparently never contacted Dotster as required. And behind it all, apparently, is a very malicious domain hijacker.

The story warned that this sort of thing could happen to anyone. Just what we need -- more shadowy crooks and/or inept bureaucrats out there to worry about. Some day I may discover that bojack.org now belongs to a tattoo parlor in downtown Krakow.

Comments (5)

Some day I may discover that bojack.org now belongs to a tattoo parlor in downtown Krakow.

Wait, does this mean your not going to be putting that giant exclamation point on my back?

How could it happen to anyone? There are expirations for many things in business life, you setup a process to remind you to check back on them 1,2 days/weeks/months beforehand. Sounds like negligence.

As I read the story, it didn't expire -- it was assigned away involuntarily.

Didn't seem all that vague a story. An involuntary ISP domain transfer perpetrated by scam artists. I don't know how you set up a reminder in Outlook for that.

Funny, Dotster is particularly good at protecting against this kind of thing, which is why I switched all my domains to them a few years ago. They always send email notification when any little thing happens with your account. My guess is someone wasn't monitoring the email address.

As promised, they have locked down everyone's .com and .net domains, which is cool. But what this really looks like is a lesson to not ignore email from your registrar.

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