The number of .uk domain names suspended for criminal activity over the 12 months to October 2018 doubled to 32,813, following a doubling in the previous 12 months as well. While significant, it represents around 0.27% of the more than 12 million .uk domains currently registered.
Nominet, who compiled the report and is the .uk ccTLD registry operator, collaborates with 10 reporting organisations and received requests from 5 of these for the suspension of domain names. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), a department of the City of London Police, which processes and co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements from nationwide sources is the main reporting agency with over 32,000 requests, while the remaining 4 agencies had 258 requests between them.
“The upward trend we are seeing in suspended domains confirms that criminals are continuing to seek opportunities in the UK namespace – be it the issue of counterfeits online, or where criminals relentlessly target consumers with malicious content, via domains registered for phishing,” said Russell Haworth, Nominet’s CEO.
“Our ongoing efforts to keep the namespace safe can also be seen through our Domain Watch initiative that uses a technical algorithm to promptly suspend newly-registered domains with a very high phishing risk. Since July this year, 129 domains targeting the private and public sector have been suspended – for example barc1ays.co.uk or security-paypal.co.uk.
“Working closely with the law enforcement community and using our established processes, network analytics and cyber security tools, will ensure that .UK remains a difficult space for criminals to operate.”
The number of requests that didn’t result in a suspension was 114 – up from 32 in the previous year. Reasons for domains not resulting in suspension include the domain name already being suspended by the Registrar or being transferred to the IP rights holder as a result of a court order in the meantime.
The number of suspensions that were reversed was 16 following successful reviews, and one suspension was upheld. A suspension is reversed if the offending behaviour has stopped and the enforcing agency has since confirmed that the suspension can be lifted.
The report also provides an update on domains suspended and blocked under Nominet’s proscribed names policy, introduced in May 2014. Over 2,700 domains were flagged – down from around 3,500 in 2017 (2,407 in 2016) – and no suspensions were made.