Consumer alert: WHOIS verification phishing scams hit Australia by George Pongas, AusRegistry

AusRegistry logoA New Year and another domain name related scam is doing the rounds in an attempt to deceive registrants into providing account details. While this current scam does not specifically target .au domain name registrants, I encourage you to be vigilant and mindful of these tactics. Under requirements spelled out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), domain name Registrars for .com, .net, .org and other generic TLDs must verify registrant contact information on a regular basis. The reason for this is to reduce false or missing contact information in the WHOIS database, which is a public record of domain name registration details. Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed hackers launch phishing campaigns recently where they use sophisticated social engineering tactics in order to steal contact information and maliciously tamper with the domain name records in the guise of these official WHOIS verification notifications. If you have registered .com domain names, please be aware of this scam and contact your Registrar if you are in doubt about what to do. Because many .au domain name registrants will also have .com registrations, we encourage you to be vigilant. Phishing scams such as this are typically aimed at mass deception and the perpetrators cast a wide net in order to catch as many unsuspecting people as possible. This means Australian .com registrants may be targeted. Importantly, WHOIS verification is not a requirement in .au domain name policy and if you ever receive an email requesting this you can automatically delete and disregard it. Furthermore, services such as .auLOCKDOWN actually add another layer of protection to your .au domain name to ensure scams like this can never impact the integrity of your domain name assets. Even if your contact details are stolen, a Registry lock service like .auLOCKDOWN would mean that only authorised individuals with pre-authenticated keys can make changes to your domain name records, reducing the risks scams like this pose. Whether you have a .com or a .au, you should consider a Registry lock service like .auLOCKDOWN which can provide much needed reassurance. Contact your .au Registrar today and ask about adding .auLOCKDOWN to your domain name. This article by George Pongas, General Manager, AusRegistry, was sourced with permission from: