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NetCraft Launches Domain Registration Risk Service

October 24, 2012

Thousands of phishing related domains are registered every day. NetCraft's Domain Registration Risk Calculator  is designed to help domain registrars analyse the likelihood a domain will be used for fraudulent activities. 

Netcraft says it has blocked well over five million phishing attacks since 2005 and during that time has amassed a great deal of information concerning companies known to be targeted by phishing attacks. 

Its new service will help weed out domains that are similar to legitimate websites run by banks and other institutions commonly targeted by phishing attacks. While Australian registrars may be familiar with local financial institutions and decline any dubious related registrations, they may not be aware of the names of the many thousands of institutions outside our own shores. 

Additionally, as phishing registrations are often made using stolen credit cards, NetCraft says there are other significant advantages to the registrar in refusing these registrations aside from helping to protect the online community. Charges made on stolen credit cards invariably result in chargebacks, which can threaten a registrar's merchant account.

NetCraft's database contains a comprehensive set of homoglyphs that could be used to register phishing domains. Homoglyphs - used in homograph domain names - use different characters to replace letters to produce a name that looks similar to spelling of another word. For example, a zero (0) can replace the letter O and the number one (1) can replace the letter l.

The Domain Registration Risk Calculator uses two algorithms. The first, a phish target score, compares the domain being registered to a list of frequently-phished legitimate domains. The second algorithm, String entropy score,  looks to see if a domain is a combination of real dictionary words and plausible names, or whether it looks more like a randomised string of numbers and letters. 

The higher the score, the more likely the domain name will be used for fraudulent purposes.

Further information on the Domain Registration Risk Calculator can be viewed here.

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