Regulated TLDs Generally Safer Than Unregulated TLDs: Architelos Study

Not all TLDs are equal. And some are safer than others. That’s the finding of a report from Architelos that looked at the number of abusive domain names in 72 TLDs around the world. The TLDs surveyed accounted for over 257 million domain names, or over 99 percent of the total domains in the world’s registries.The report found that “low prices, ineffectual registrars, and a lack of compliance and enforcement tend to attract abusive registrations, whereas restrictive registration policies and higher prices tend to deter abusive domain registrations.”Further, “TLD registries can be distinguished by how resistant they are to abusive registrations, and how active or passive the registry is in detecting and mitigating abuse.”The survey was conducted on the eve of the introduction of hundreds of new TLDs as a starting point to help determine if the new TLDs are more or less safe and secure than those already currently in existence.The survey sought to benchmark the “current state” of TLDs so any level of change could be determined based on facts and not ideological positions.The analysis was built on data in the Architelos’ patent-pending NameSentry Abuse Detection and Mitigation Service. Since its introduction in November 2012, NameSentry has been tracking and analysing abusive domain activity across the internet.Of the TLDs surveyed, it was found 0.4 percent of all domain names registered, or roughly 4,000 abusive domains per million, that are considered abusive.And 90 percent of these abusive domains were found when they were advertised in spam, with six percent involved in spreading malware. Phishing involved above 150,000 unique domains per year. Those domains involved in command-and-control botnets though are relatively rare, but have a disproportionate importance.Overall 15 TLDs, or 21 percent of those surveyed, were considered to have an excellent rating. Those included the only two gTLDs to get the excellent rating, .tel and .xxx, as well as .no, .nz, .ch and .au.Those with a good rating made up half the sample with 36 of the TLDs and included the two largest ccTLDs, .tk and .de, and .nl, the fifth largest ccTLD.The largest TLD of them all with over 40 percent of all registrations, .com, came in the next category, “exercise caution”, along with 13 other TLDs including .at, .eu, .uk, .org and .net.And there were seven TLDs (10%) with the worst rating, determined to be “at risk”, and this group included .info, .us, .ru, .asia and .cn.The full report from Architelos is available for download from: