DNS BE cancels 163 domain names
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On February 2 2009 DNS BE, the registry responsible for the administration of the Belgian country-code top-level domain, '.be', announced that it has cancelled 163 domain names which were being used for fraudulent purposes.
DNS BE had received information that several '.be' domain names were being used for phishing, a criminal practice which involves attempting to acquire sensitive information (eg, usernames, passwords and credit card details) by redirecting users to a fraudulent website (often made to look like that of a famous financial institution) using an infringing domain name. Users are typically contacted by email using an address which is very similar to that of the trustworthy organization concerned.
DNS BE was concerned that the large number of '.be' domain names involved indicated that a professional organization was behind the phishing scams and that this would cause damage to the '.be' domain name extension as a whole. In its press release, DNS BE stated that it had cooperated with the Federal Computer Crime Unit (FCCU) to investigate the matter. The FCCU filed a complaint with the relevant court and the responsible magistrate ordered that the domain names be cancelled. DNS BE's technical staff immediately complied.
Events such as these highlight the need for domain name registries to remain alert to any notices concerning criminal activities that they receive. Phishing websites can have serious repercussions for the victims involved. In many instances, trademark owners find out that a third party is using their mark in a fraudulent phishing scam only after receiving complaints from worried or disgruntled customers. DNS BE's swift action in investigating this matter is thus to be commended.
David Taylor, Lovells LLP, Paris
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