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.UK Crackdown Sees 32,813 Domains Suspended

November 23, 2018

The number of .UK domain names suspended by registry operator Nominet has close to doubled year-on-year. 

The figure of 32,813 suspensions between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018 is a huge increase on the 16,632 that occurred in the preceding 12 month period  and represents approximately 0.27% of the more than 12 million .UK domains currently registered.

“The upward trend we are seeing in suspended domains confirms that criminals are continuing to seek opportunities in the UK namespace," said Nominet CEO, Russell Haworth. 

The number of requests from the ten reporting organisations Nominet works with  that didn’t result in a suspension was just 114. These cases aren't necessarily because Nominet found no wrongdoing. The domain may have already been suspended as a result of a duplicate request, or already been transferred on a court order.

The reasons for suspension vary and include:

Some newly registered suspect domains are automatically suspended through the use of algorithms designed to detect a very high phishing risk. For example, a freshly-registered domain may be very similar to a well-known financial institution.

Of the total number of suspension requests from agencies, 32,669 were submitted by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

Nominet has maintained the .UK registry for 20 years.

“A key part of our role in running the .UK internet infrastructure is to ensure that .UK is a difficult space for criminals to operate in," says Mr. Haworth.

Here in Australia, the body overseeing the .AU namespace - auDA - may cancel the registration of a .au domain name for any of a number of reasons; including in order to comply with a law enforcement agency request or court order; under any applicable law government rule or requirement, or in relation to any dispute resolution process.

The applicable policy for .AU is 2008-07 - Mandatory Terms and Conditions Applying to .au Domain Name Licences, Section 6 - Revocation Of Licence.

Something Australians need to be careful of, and this doesn't need to involve criminal activity, is to avoid registering Australian domain names that are prohibited (auDA:  2014-06 - Reserved List Policy).

As to how many Australian domain name registrations have been cancelled over the years isn't clear - it doesn't appear that statistics are publicly available.

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