Feeds

'Spam-friendly' domain registrars named and shamed

Pick your mates

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The vast majority of spam (83 per cent) is linked to sites established through ten domain name registrars, according to a new study.

An analysis of junk mail messages by anti-spam firm Knujon ("no junk" spelled backwards) found that while there are 900 accredited domain name registrars, spammers register their spamvertised domains though only a tiny sample.

Knujon's study names and shames the registrars who are contributing (unwittingly or not) to the junk mail problem.

  1. XinNet Cyber Information Company Limited
  2. eNom
  3. Network Solutions
  4. Register.com
  5. Planet Online
  6. Regtime Ltd.
  7. OnlineNIC Inc.
  8. Spot Domain LLC
  9. Wild West Domains
  10. Hichina Web Solutions

Registrars made the list based on factors including: the number of reported illicit domains registered through a registrar, the number of spam messages associated with those domains, and the percentage of dodgy domains within a registrar's total portfolio.

Knujon aims to convince registrars to clean up their act and dismantle spam sites. It reckons that registrars appearing on the list are unlikely to be "criminal or evil", but simply lacking in "effective controls and good policy". Registrars may lack adequate abuse staff or awareness of the problem, it adds.

At least part of the problem is caused by slack or unscrupulous resellers.

The list published by Knujon on Wednesday marks the second time the anti-spam outfit has looked into the domain registration aspect of the wider junk mail problem.

Second take

Knujon's first list, released in May 2008, also featured XinNet at the head of the chart. Beijing Innovative Networks and Joker, second and fourth on the earlier list, were issued breach notices by ICANN. Faced with the warning of having their accreditation pulled, both cleaned up their act.

Dynamic Dolphin has dropped off the lists following successful lawsuits against notorious spammer Scott Richter. Directi, which charted at number nine last time around but no longer makes Knujon's blacklist, probably made it onto the May list largely because of a contract with EstDomains.

Only XinNet (top of the chart) and eNom, Inc (up from fifth to second) make both editions of Knujon's list. "Neither company responded to this report, nor did they take verifiable steps to curb the cited abuses," Knujon states. "In the case of XinNet, their numbers were much worse than Beijing Innovative Networks, but for reasons unknown to us they were not issued a breach notice by ICANN even though we recommended it."

According to the latest figures from Knujon, XinNet harboured 9,346 dodgy domains that threw out an average of 345 spam messages, while eNom was home to 32,610 ropey websites that spewed out an average of 39.7 junk mail messages.

Abused domains represent 0.9 per cent of XinNet's portfolio. Quizzed by Brian Krebs of the Washington Post's Security Fix blog , XinNet stated it tries its best to "suspend all the sites which [are] abused by spammers".

The Waledec worm reportedly makes exclusive use of domain registered through XinNet, but the Chinese firm failed to explain how it planned to tackle that issue in its response.

eNom and Spot Domain, two registrars named in the latest edition of the list, both questioned Knujon's methodology and the reliability of its data. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.