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Email cock-up blamed in Check Point domain expiry snafu

Renewal alert 'sent to wrong address'

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Check Point has downplayed the significance of a domain renewal mix-up that resulted in its home page being replaced by a holding page for a brief period on Monday.

The problem arose because Network Solutions sent the security firm's domain renewal notice to the wrong email address, a statement by the firewall and VPN firm explained.

Earlier today there was an issue accessing www.checkpoint.com – the site was being re-directed to another page (a Network Solutions page).  The problem was that the Checkpoint.com domain registration expired.  This happened due to Network Solutions, our domain host, sending our renewal notification to an incorrect email address at Check Point.

There was no security issue whatsoever.

The domain record was wrong and redirected for approximately 23 minutes. During that time DNS servers around the world were updated with the wrong record. We corrected the issue at 15:30 IL time (13:30 UK) on Monday April 2nd.

The update is currently being propagated to all DNS servers in the world. This process takes time, depending on the setting of the DNS servers. Some servers are already updated, while others will be in their next refresh in the next few hours.

Check Point's domain was due to be renewed on Friday, 30 March. The late renewal may have affected the delivery of email to the security giant as well as the ability of surfers to reach its home page, independent security experts point out.

"When a company loses control of a domain name, however it happens, they also lose control of email for that domain," explained Owen O'Connor, managing director of Northern Ireland-based network forensics firm Cernam Online Evidence. "In this case Checkpoint's site was down for a few hours / days but mail to checkpoint.com was also affected – potentially bouncing or worse, delivering to someone other than Checkpoint."

"This is potentially a big deal with some of the domain seizures and takedowns which are happening so often recently. When a government seizes a domain they're typically redirecting to a holding page - eg, in the gambling takedowns or the TV piracy ones. In getting the access to change that DNS entry they can typically also redirect mail – potentially without specific permission from whatever court authorised the takedown," O'Connor added. ®

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