Nominet suspended a record 16,000 .uk domain names for criminal activity in the 12 months to the end of October 2017, or around 0.14% of the 12 million domain names registered. The number is double that of the previous 12 months.
.uk domain names are suspended following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain is being used for criminal activity. It is an important role even if the percentages are small. Consumers visiting .uk websites operated by criminals, selling counterfeit goods for example, can only hurt trust, not only in the United Kingdom’s domain name space, but also the internet more generally.
“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,” said Nominet’s 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 cyber security tools we have in place.”
The number of suspensions is an increase on the 8,049 suspensions over the preceding 12-month period. Part of the reason for the increase is better collaboration with law enforcement. Nominet is now collaborating with 10 organisations and received requests from seven of these reporting agencies including, for the first time, requests from DEFRA – Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which processes and co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements from nationwide sources is the main reporting agency with over 13,500 requests (almost double year on year), followed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Trading Standards.
Nominet also has an offensive names policy, and under this policy almost 3,500 domains were flagged for potential breach of the offensive names policy for the period, and two suspensions were made.