How Safe is Your Domain?
A well-know ISP in New York recently had their domain illegally transferred fraudulently. While they were able to recover the domain, for several days all of their web site traffic was redirected to other sites and email was rejected and lost.
In this case, the site of the "new" domain owner contained sypware and likely other damaging code, so the purpose of the hijack appears to have been to infect innocent visitors.
While not every domain might be equally desirable to a hijacker, newer rules that were implemented in order to make domain transfers easier may also make hijacking a more common practice as well, so the risk is still there.
Protecting Your Domain
A few simply steps are likely all that is required to protect yourself from a similar fate.
First, contact your domain registrar (or log into their domain management web site) and enable "Domain Locking" for all of your registered domain names.
In short, selecting this security level means that no changes or transfers can take place while the domain is locked. The minor inconvenience is that if you wish to make legitimate changes in the future, you'll first need to unlock your domain.
Most registrars offer this domain locking ability without any extra charge. If yours does not, then perhaps a transfer to another registrar, such as www.GoDaddy.com would be in your best interest.
Secondly, be sure to keep your domain registration contact information up to date. Transfer requests should automatically result in an email notification to the registered owner. However, if you've changed your email address since the initial registration of your domain, and have not update your domain registration, then such notices will never reach you!
Finally, be sure to keep current with your email. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email, but while scanning your inbox, never "skip over" an email with a Subject line that mentions a domain transfer. Sure, nine times out of ten, such email is likely just spam, but if a legitimate transfer notice is sent, and ignored, then the transfer will take place under the newer expedited domain transfer rules.
While protecting your domain can be just this simple, it's obvious that many domain owners are not following these three straightforward steps, and are suffering great inconveniences as a result.
Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale