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Russia to crack down on abuse of .ru addresses

Passport or registration papers required

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The organization that administers Russia's .ru top-level domain names will soon begin verifying the identity of its customers in an attempt to crack down on cybercrime, according to reports.

Starting April 1, Russia's Coordination Center for will require individuals and businesses applying for a .ru domain address to provide a copy of a passport or legal registration papers. The "drastic policy change" was reported last month by domain name services company Hexonet and confirmed late last week by IDG News.

According to many in computer security and US law enforcement circles, Russia is a haven for cybercrooks because it is so hard to bring criminal charges in that country. As a result, spammers, malware scammers and other online criminals often operate with near impunity there.

The new .ru registration requirements will make it harder for criminals to take out domains under fake identities. At the very least, it will make the process more expensive and time consuming. China, which has also been criticized for being a haven for online crime, imposed similar requirements in December.

The move comes as Russia's FSB internal security service arrested three men suspected of orchestrating a $9m cyber-raid on RBS WorldPay that involved cloned payroll cards. The audacious hack allegedly involved taking the money from an estimated 2,100 cash machines in 280 cities worldwide during a 12-hour cash-out operation.

IDG News has more about the new domain registration requirements here. ®

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