'.hk' registry introduces '.hk' LOCK service

Hong Kong

The registry responsible for running the ‘.hk’ namespace, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC), has announced the launch of ‘.hk’ LOCK, a new security service for domain name owners under ‘.hk’/‘.香港' (the Chinese equivalent of ‘Hong Kong’). 

The service will provide domain name holders with the ability to lock the information relating to their domain names, thereby preventing any unauthorised changes and protecting their ‘.hk’/‘.香港’ domain names from unauthorised seizure by cyber criminals, a malicious online activity often referred to as ‘domain name hijacking’.   

Domain name hijacking may result in diversion of internet traffic intended for a particular brand owner to a third-party website, thus resulting in potential reputational damage, service disruption and loss of revenue and/or confidential information.

The new service will provide an extra layer of protection at the registry level, as opposed to existing security already implemented by the registrar. Domain names that are subject to the service may only be "unlocked" offline, namely via a telephone conversation between the registrar authorised to make the requested modifications and HKIRC. This will hopefully prevent domain name hijacking via online communications (usually by way of stolen passwords, fake email addresses, etc). HKIRC has stated that it will only unlock the domain name for a short interval after a thorough and rigorous offline verification process with those authorised.

According to HKIRC, "using ‘.hk’ LOCK is like having two locks on the main door. Most households nowadays have more than one lock on the main door for adequate protection". Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC, said:

"A domain name is the digital asset that represents a company online. Protecting domain names should be a key priority for any company, especially for high traffic websites and large corporations, where the domain name is a critical part of their business. The ‘.hk’ LOCK is an essential tool to manage the potential risks and better secure business in an unsecured world. Looking ahead, HKIRC will continue to innovate and promote other security measures, and work together with others to help prepare against possible threats and safeguard ‘.hk’ domain name for a more secure future."

According to HKIRC, the new service is recommended for:

  • banks and financial institutions, governmental departments, utilities and public services;
  • owners of brand and trademark domain names;
  • online shops, online service providers;
  • anyone who communicates and confidentially with clients online regularly;
  • any domain names receiving a high volume of traffic; and
  • any websites handling sensitive and confidential information.

David Taylor and Sean Kelly, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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