Feeds

Panix.com hijack: Aussie firm shoulders blame

Loopholes, errors, and weekends off

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.