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New Domains "Cultivated By Criminals"

December 9, 2015

The slew of new domain extensions are currently being used by criminals to confuse users and to infect their systems with malware says a new report on Internet security.

The number of website address extensions has grown incredibly over the recent year or so. Delegated gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains) have now reached around the 800 mark - and 1,300 new names could become available in the next few years.

Security firm Raytheon|Websense reports in several gTLD sets it examined, millions of different URLs proved to be "suspicious" or "directly malicious". 

"With attackers well entrenched within the new domains, before legitimate users, consumers will eventually hesitate before casual navigation," says the Raytheon|Websense 2016 Security Predictions report.

While Raytheon doesn't name any particular new gTLD as being particularly infested with fraudsters, it would possibly be some of those that involve little or no checks and registration eligibility criteria, coupled with extremely cheap registration fees. 

While the eligibility criteria associated with well established names such as the .AU registry is considered by some to be a little restrictive, one of the benefits of registering domain names is the trust associated with websites using the address extension - and it's the eligibility criteria that have helped .AU enjoy the reputation it has today.

Other threats Raytheon|Websense  sees as being major issues in 2016 include forgotten maintenance of websites and services; which it likens to "barnacles on a boat".

Additionally, the company believes hacks targeting mobile devices and new payment methodologies will offer additional opportunities for fraud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will increase friction and security challenges affecting critical infrastructure.

"2015 will be seen in retrospect as a watershed year for information security, as many of the evolving threats and security practices now emerging will be directly attributable to events in this last year," said Carl Leonard, Raytheon|Websense Security Labs' principal security analyst.

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