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Apache exploit causes embrassment

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The website of the .name registry was hacked over the weekend through an Apache exploit.

London-based Global Name Registry was updating its Apache and PHP system when hackers SUr00tIK & GroMx broke into the system and replaced the frontpage index file.

The hackers didn’t manage to access the system and no data was lost, GNR’s president Hakon Haugnes told us, but the hack did some cause some embarrassment. The site was taken offline and was back up by Sunday with added security.

“We were adding patches but in spite of that someone managed to get to the index file,” said Haugnes.

The .name domain - one of seven approved by ICANN in 2001 - now has around 100,000 registrants. However Haugnes admits it has been held back by the fact that it is a third-level domain, meaning that there are two dots in the domain.

“The problem is that if the domain is peter.morgan.name, people feel it doesn’t really belong to them,” he explained.

Hopefully this is all set to change on 14 January next year when the registry will move to a second-level domain so petermorgan.name will be available. Haugnes said that things were running smoothly and he expected to go live on the planned date.

He was reticent when it came to predicting .name new take-up, however. “We are very wary of making predictions,” he explained, but remains confident that the move will see the .name domain become more popular.

With around 45 million domain names currently registered, .name has got a very long way to go. It was created along with three “sponsored” domains (.aero, .coop, .museum) and three unsponsored domains (.info, .biz, .pro) in 2001.

The sponsored names require registrants to be particular types of organisation and so are limited in number - 4,500 .aero domains, 7,500 .coop and 500 .museum names have so far been registered. This compares to around one million .info domains and approximately 600,000 .biz domains. ®

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