Feeds

300 UK domains pilfered, MASSIVE security lapse blamed

123-Reg, Nominet investigate website control-panel bug

Boost IT visibility and business value

Exclusive What appears to be a glaringly obvious security hole has been blamed for the snatching of 300 domains hosted by one web-hosting firm last year, The Reg has discovered.

A source told El Reg that anyone with a hosting package from 123-Reg, and hence an account control panel, simply had to change the final section of the URL manually (to, for example, /someoneelseswebsite.co.uk) to be able to gain access to another site's emails, name servers and billing.

With access to the admin panel, would-be domain thieves just had to change the contact details for UK registry Nominet to a new email address and then do a failed password request to have a new password sent to the new email address, locking the original owner out, our source claimed.

The .uk registry told The Reg it had "worked with registrars to help them tighten security and prevent a repeat of this incident". Both 123-Reg and Nominet informed us that there was "a query from a registrant" last year that led to Nominet "discovering some irregularities in registration and renewal patterns".

"As part of Nominet's standard operating procedures they locked the affected domains from any transfer or adjustment whilst they investigated further, and with our full support," 123-Reg said in an emailed statement.

Nominet said that its investigations into the issue revealed that "a total of 300 domains had been transferred over to a new registrant in the post-expiry period without the permission of the original registrant".

"We [have] terminated our registrar agreement with one registrar," the dot-UK registry said.

Neither firm would comment on how the the breach had come about or whether the matter had been referred to Britain's Information Commissioner.

Nominet said it couldn't elaborate any further because "we understand there is an ongoing police investigation into this issue". ®

Updated to add

Nominet has been in touch after publication to say that 123-Reg was not the only domain company involved: "Four registrars had domain names that were affected," a spokesman told us.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.