Feeds

Panix.com hijack: Aussie firm shoulders blame

Loopholes, errors, and weekends off

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

An Australian domain registrar has admitted to its part in last weekend's domain name hijack. of a New York ISP. Melbourne IT says it failed to properly confirm a transfer request for the Panix.com domain.

Ed Ravin, a Panix system administrator, says the Melbourne IT error enabled fraudsters using stolen credit cards to assume control of the domain. Thousands of Panix.com customers lost email access for the duration of the occupation, and many emails will never be recovered.

The mistake was compounded by the unavailability of Melbourne IT staff over the weekend - the company rectified its mistake late on Sunday evening, US time. Speaking to ComputerWorld Ravin said he was unable to contact anyone in support at Melbourne IT until the company's offices opened on Monday morning.

Bruce Tonkin, Melbourne IT's CTO, offered the following explanation:

"In the case of Panix.com, evidence so far indicates that a third party that holds an account with a reseller [UK based Fibranet] of Melbourne IT, fraudulently initiated the transfer. The third party appears to have used stolen credit cards to establish this account and pay for the transfer. That reseller is analysing its logs and cooperating with law enforcement."

A loophole that allowed the error, that caused the problem has now been closed, he added.

The roots of the affair lie in new rules governing the transfer of domain name ownership. These rules, which came into effect last November, mean that inter-registry transfer requests are automatically approved after five days unless countermanded by the owner of a domain.

When ICANN proposed the new procedures, many in the industry warned that as well as making it easier to move domains around, the change would make it easier for people to hijack domains. Network Solutions, for example, took the precautionary step of locking all its customers' domains. Panix.com says its domain name was locked, and that despite this, it was still transferred. ®

Related stories

Panix recovers from domain hijack
Katie.com lawyer to host cyber-bullying conference
eBay domain hijacker arrested

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.