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ICANN to terminate notorious registrar's credentials after all

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After a brief delay, the non-profit group that oversees the internet's address system has decided to proceed with plans to revoke the credentials of EstDomains, a domain name registrar with a reputation for catering to cyber criminals.

In a notice posted Wednesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said EstDomains would lose its registrar accreditation on November 24. It cited the conviction of EstDomains President Vladimir Tsastsin in an Estonian court for credit card fraud, money laundering, and document forgery.

ICANN first announced its plans to de-accredit EstDomains two weeks ago, but stayed the move after the registrar appealed the move (PDF), arguing that the court finding was not final.

"On 7 November 2008, EstDomains was informed that, based on ICANN's findings, ICANN was proceeding with the termination of EstDomains' [registrar accreditation], effective 24 November 2008," ICANN wrote in Wednesday's notice.

The termination of EstDomains would mark the third take-down of a business widely accused of enabling spam, malware, and online fraud in the past two months. On Tuesday, network provider McColo was unceremoniously yanked offline following reports by researchers that claimed it was the conduit that allowed a large percentage of the world's spam operators and malicious networks to thrive.

In September, a separate network provider by the name of Intercage was disconnected following similar reports. Among the complaints lodged against Intercage was its large concentration of customers who send spam, sell rogue anti-virus software and engage in other types of fraud. In a now failed attempt to stave off its demise, Intercage agreed to terminate its contract with EstHost, a sister company of EstDomains.

According to ICANN, EstDomains has some 281,000 domain names under management. The non-profit is in the process of selecting another accredited registrar to receive a bulk-transfer of the addresses. If they're as toxic as researchers say, it's hard to imagine who would want them. ®

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