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Chinese domain crackdown targets smut sites

Individual website ownership swept away by clean up

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Chinese regulators have started to request business licences and paperwork before allowing future .cn domain registrations.

The move by registrars at the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has been welcomed by security researchers, such as Mikko Hypponen at F-Secure (here), because it is likely to make life more difficult for malware distributors and fraudsters, many of whom have set up shop on Chinese (.cn) domains over recent months.

Domains in the PR of China rank second behind only those in Cameroon (.cm) as the most likely to harbour malware, according to a survey by McAfee published earlier this month.

However, the tightening up of domain registration processes in China isn't without its drawbacks. Local individuals have effectively been barred from registering new domains unless they have some sort of business license, Global Times of China reports. China's official media outlets, meanwhile, report the tightening up of registration regulations as a means to address flaws in the previous system that left the Chinese portion of the interweb awash with smut.

CNNIC intends to verify the identity of existing domain owners of personal sites, with failures to "submit real, accurate and complete information" resulting in site takedowns.

Three domain name registration agents in China - Zhengzhou-based unndc.com, and Beijing-based namerich.cn and xinnet.com - were suspended from offering .cn domain name registrations last Friday over allegations of slack business practices in the granting of domains. More than 10 million .cn domains exist, Global Times of China adds. ®

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