Crime gets a free ride from ICANN

by Fred Showker

Yesterday I reported 832 spams to SpamCop and Knujon. For the past 90 days I've been conducting a casual survey of all that spam (several megabytes a day) to try and determine who is sending what. I don't check all the links -- it would be a full-time job. I check those crooks using Google, Geocities or Blogspot redirect pages, as well as any others who are obviously trying to mask the spamvertised entity.

Herbal remedies and Canadian Pharmacy head the scum list with an average 25% of all spam received. But the interesting point is they seldom use the same spamvertised domain in the same 24-hour barrage. In one day's spam the Herbal rememdies crime cartel had 127 ads. They used 67 different domains. As time goes on, they maintain that kind of average -- but the domain names change. This is a clear indication that they are utilizing an ICANN policy known as "domain tasting" -- or more accurately put: domain kiting.

Here's how it works: Unscrupulous rogue registrars utilize a robot to register hundreds or thousands of domains -- but they don't pay for them. Their robots automatically deploy spam, phishing, identity theft or virus pages on the web, and then begin sending millions of spams directing victims to those pages. At the end of the ICANN "tasting" period of five days, the robots DROP the domains. Moments later, they register them again and the cycle starts all over. Most often they end up with many different domains.

Did you ever buy a domain without paying for it?

This is a sophisticated, supposedly legal version of domain squatting, which has been going on since the Clinton administration deregulated domains. (Thank you Bill, Hillary and Algore!) And when you open something as important as domains to a band of unrelated, unregulated internationals along with any jackleg-out-to-make-a-buck on earth, you're just inviting criminal exploitation.

All domains acquired should be paid for immediately at the point of registration. PERIOD. Rogue registrars should NOT be allowed to "taste" (aka "kite") thousands of domains and then release them only to pick them back up again moments later.

If ICANN wants to offer "grace" or "tasting" period, then the purchaser should be required to request and then obtain a refund. Ideally, via the postal service in WRITING to provide a court admissable paper trail with real, valid signatures.

This would weed out the criminal "tasters."

The side benefit to ICANN would be, in effect, a 'loan' to ICANN of the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the period of time between registration and refund -- which could amount to a considerable piece of interest.

At that point ALL domain tasting would probably grind to a dead stop -- because the only people "tasting" (kiting) domains are criminals who would never otherwise purchase the domains -- interested only in exploiting and profiteering off the system.

Let anyone who wants a domain -- for testing or otherwise -- PAY FOR IT. Period. If they don't like it or don't use it, then get a refund like the rest of us do.

Then the world (particularly the search engines and those who use them) would be a much better off.

At any rate, this is just one more indication that ICANN should be dissolved and a new, accountable entity put in charge of the domain system.

THE BEST SOLUTION OF ALL

would be for ALL domains to be permanently registered once and ONLY once. If registration lapses, then the domain is DEAD. They would NEVER be released back for reuse -- they would simply cease to exist. This would solve a number of problems now troubling the internet. After a while there would be only legitimate domains in legitimate use. And there would be far fewer domains. Honorable intentions would prevail.

End of story.

Thanks for reading...

Fred Showker

Fred Showker, Editor, Graphic Design & Publishing

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Comments

On October 26th, MORENOBEVERLEY said:

One knows that our life seems to be not very cheap, nevertheless different people require money for different stuff and not every person gets enough cash. Thence to get money without having to work for it, the cyber crooks take over. They steal from innocent people.

On March 11th, Suji said:

I think we are in the Wild West era of the web and online iagdtil publishing revolution who knows what will last?

My guess is that the items which rise to the top and survive in the long-haul will be dependent on these factors:

1. EASE OF USE the wider population is always going to gravitate to simplicity, eg., TV sets with simple operating controls.

2. FAMILIARITY kids who grow up with the technology will take it for granted, eg., telephones think about the images of phones with little rotor handles that mounted on a wall, people had to crank the phone, speak to an operator, hold an ear-piece to one hear and talk into a voice reciever. But, within a short period of time, and the introduction of instruments with fewer moving parts, the telephone ruled.

So by the time I was a kid, the black phone on its own little table in the hallway, had a unified reciever' for listening and talking, and a base unit for dialing. We still had party lines.

Key point: telephones were a standard in my childhood and not worrisom.

3. FILLS A NEEDED SERVICE if all the magic in the world doesn't do something for me

so what?

best to you

em

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