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Libya's Domain Registry Site Defaced - And What Next For .LY?

August 23, 2011

Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi is on the way out and hackers have used the opportunity to deface the .ly domain name registry web site. A bigger issue now is - what will become of the .ly domain space?

Libyan rebels now have control of most of the country's capital, Tripoli, and have declared an end to the 42-year rule of Muammar Gadaffi (also commonly spelled  "Qadaffi").

According to a report from security firm Sophos, earlier today, hackers replaced the web site home page with a message that in part read, "bye bye Qadaffi". The message also made reference to February 17; the date Libyan protesters took to the streets, with some being shot Colonel Gadaffi's security forces.

It's understood that no other web sites using the .ly domain name were similarly attacked. The .ly domain extension is not just used by Libyan residents and businesses. Parties outside the country use it as well; with one of the best known sites being - a URL shortening service.

However, with Libya's future currently so uncertain, concerns have again been raised about what will become of .ly domain names.

In an article we posted in April this year, we mentioned the .ly extension is controlled Libya's General Post and Telecommunications Co. The chairman of the organisation is Mohammed el-Gaddafi, the eldest son of Colonel Gaddafi. Mohammed el-Gaddafi is reportedly preparing to leave the country.

While it's highly likely Mohammed el-Gaddafi will no longer be in control of the organisation, the question remains - who will take his place and the place of other Gaddafi associates within the organisation? What will a post-Gaddafi Libya be like - will it remain somewhat foreigner-friendly in terms of its domain name extension as whatever new regime takes power?

As mentioned in our previous article, with so many countries now allowing registrations of their extensions by non-residents, registration of those domain names is sometimes not without its risks. Potential registrants of international domains need to understand the state and culture of those nations; and that being the case, Australian businesses are probably safest to register domain names for critical online activities.

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