How to Protect Yourself from Domain Hijacking

Like other forms of identity-based crime, domain hijacking generally involves someone tricking a domain registrar into giving them access to your registered domain and transferring ownership to themselves.

On the 24th of April 2005, Hush Communications discovered that their website had been diverted meaning that customers could not access their Hushmail service, and email could not be delivered. 

It turned out that an unauthorised person convinced Network Solutions to change the administrative contact to himself. He then proceeded to deface the website. In this example, the website was defaced for six hours, but some customer access took between 16-72 hours to restore.

It may seem like a foreign concept to you, but domain hijacking happens more often than it should.  Like other forms of identity-based crime, domain hijacking generally involves someone tricking a domain registrar into giving them access to your registered domain and transferring ownership to themselves.

In the Hushmail fraud, the attacker used social engineering techniques to convince a new 1st-level customer support agent to make a change to the contact email account. The fraudster was extremely familiar with the ISPs customer service procedures and terminology.

When it comes to domain names there are a number of ways you can lose your domain name. You could forget to renew your domain name, which is not domain hijacking and something you can prevent by ensuring your accounts are paid on time. The other way is someone who impersonates you and attempts to steal any your domain name. Which is theft.

One of the recommendations coming out of this particular incident was the use of domain locking. Domain locks can be placed by you on your domain name to ensure that the details cannot be altered without you logging in to make changes to your account.

Your domain name registrar should allow you to lock your domain name either by phone, fax, email, or online domain manager using your login and password. 

Your domain registrar will let you know which method they require.  Once a lock is placed on your domain name, a transfer of registrar cannot be completed unless the lock is removed by you.

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