Tag Archives: DNS Belgium

Cybercriminals abuse domain names that are released from registration, warn DNS Belgium

DNS Belgium logoCyberland is in turmoil once again DNS Belgium, the Belgian ccTLD manager, is advising. At the beginning of the new year, their northern neighbours, the Netherlands, north detected that quite a number of domain names of local politicians had wound up in the hands of cyber criminals.

People who surfed to the websites of some local politicians landed in all sorts  of rogue web shops set up to cheat people out of money and data. Some branches of the VVD, i.e. the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (the Dutch liberals), had seemingly embarked on a little business in Italian women’s sandals. The site of a local branch of the PvdA (labour party) referred surfers to a web shop of Diesel wallets.

According to the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, at issue are domain names which were initially used for legitimate purposes by the politicians concerned. As the latter did not renew them at a given moment, however, these domain names became available on the market again and could be registered by anybody.

What occurred in the Netherlands does not imply that every domain name released from registration is acquired by people with rogue intentions. But it does illustrate again that it can lead to abuse. “Cyber criminals buy domain names to set up web shops for the sole purpose of swindling people,” says Marc Noët of the internet company  Dataprovider. According to him, a web shop is the best and most widely used way to worm credit card details out of people.

Personal email addresses are usually also linked to a domain name. Whoever buys a domain name released from registration, can therefore proceed to use those e-mail addresses as well.  No more than a year ago, a great commotion was stirred, likewise in the Netherlands, when ethical hacker  Wouter Slotboom managed to register a number of expired domain names of the Dutch police and received confidential police reports in his mailbox over a year and a half as a result.

You may well have a good reason not to renew a domain name: your company has changed its name or has ceased to exist. Moreover, you might not really mind all that much at the outset that your old domain name has become available again, but serious consequences may ensue if it winds up in the hands of cyber criminals and your image and reputation take a serious hit.

Experts therefore advise to continue nonetheless to register domain names you no longer use. A little effort and a small cost can save you from all sorts of distress.

.BE First European ccTLD Registry To Go To The Clouds

DNS Belgium logoAfter several months of preparation, DNS Belgium announced in February they moved their registration platform, on which their registrars register new .be domain names, to the cloud. It was, they said, a big step forward when it comes to security and efficiency. And the first of its kind in the European domain name world.

Saturday 11 February, the move commenced for the Belgian country code top level domain (ccTLD) and in the end the migration went smoother than expected. Earlier at the beginning of February the registrars’ test system, which is a system that provides all facets of our registration system as part of a test set-up, was also moved.

Before opting for cloud services provided by AWS, DNS Belgium conducted a thorough analysis of the availability, services and security. Since AWS (Amazon Web Services) takes care of the hardware, connectivity etc., DNS Belgium can focus on the software, enabling them to automise routine technical operations and describe all aspects of their platform in code.

In the domain name world, .be is the first European registry to have its registration system in the cloud.

DNS Belgium: Can A Judge Seize A .BE Domain Name?

The Swedish government has long been waging a struggle against “The Pirate Bay,” an online platform for the illegal downloading of music, films, games and software. On 12 May 2016, the Swedish Court of Appeal ruled in a case against Punt SE, the Swedish registry, about the domain names of “The Pirate Bay”. It upheld an early decision by a judge who had confiscated two domain names of “The Pirate Bay” (thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se). Punt SE was required to transfer the ownership of the domain names to the Swedish state.

DNS Belgium logoCould that happen in Belgium as well?

Whether that can happen in Belgium depends on the specific context and on whether there are legal grounds for it: is there infringement on intellectual property rights? Economic fraud or misleading practices? A criminal offence, e.g. child pornography?  A judge will investigate each time whether there is a possibility pursuant to the underlying legislation.

A second important difference between Belgium and Sweden is that confiscation can be carried out on the holder of a domain name, and not the registry. The registry is responsible for the technical and administrative management only.

When the crown prosecution service issues a requisition to get a domain name offline, the domain name in question is withdrawn. The 2 leading registries in Belgium, DNS Belgium and EURid, comply with the requisitions of the crown prosecution service in each case.

BAF vs. Telenet & Belgacom

A court has already ordered the withdrawal of a domain name in the past. In 2011, BAF, the Belgian Anti-piracy Federation, won a case against Telenet and Belgacom concerning some domain names of “The Pirate Bay”. Belgacom and Telenet had to make surfing to those websites impossible by either blocking the IP addresses or by blocking traffic to the domain name.

Alas, this measure is not the most efficient. Just a few days after the ruling, the company behind “The Pirate Bay” registered the domain name “depiraatbaai.be” and started using it. In Sweden “The Pirate Bay” can be reached “thepiratebay.org”, the domain name with which it all began for them all those years ago.

To be continued

The saga of the Swedish domain names of “The Pirate Bay” has not run its course yet with the ruling of the court of appeal. One of the co-founders of “The Pirate Bay”, Fredrik Neij, did not agree with the ruling and has appealed the decision to the highest judicial body of Sweden, the “Högsta domstolen”. The essence of the case:  should the confiscation be directed against Fredrik Neij or Punkt SE? To be continued without any doubt.

This DNS Belgium post was sourced from:

2015 CENTR Awards finalists revealed

CENTR small logo[news release] CENTR today announced the shortlisted candidates in each of the five categories of the 2015 CENTR Awards, which aim at highlighting ccTLD registry projects, teams and people that are making a difference in the industry.

Marketing category:
• AustriaLoves.at – “Darlinks” of the nation, NIC.AT (.at)
• Domain Pirates campaign, IIS (.se)
• “Without a name it remains a dream” campaign, Registro.it

Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) category:
• OPTIMISE Fund, IEDR (.ie)
• Browse in Catalan, Fundació PuntCAT (.cat)
• Community Investment Program, CIRA (.ca)

Research and Development (R&D) category:
• Zonemaster by Afnic and .IIS (.fr, .se)
• Knot DNS by CZ.NIC (.cz)
• turing by Nominet (.uk)

Security category:
• Rapid adoption of DNSSEC, Norid (.no)
• Collaboration on auditing the ISO27001 ISMS, Christa Falkensammer (SWITCH [.ch]), Boban Krsic (DENIC [.de]) and Christian Proschinger (NIC.AT [.at])
• Turris Project, CZ.NIC (.cz)

Contributor of the Year category:
• Lise Fuhr (DK Hostmaster, .dk) and Mathieu Weill (Afnic, .fr) (combined nomination)
• CZ.NIC (Registry as a whole)
• Marcos Sanz (DENIC, .de)
• Kristof Tuyteleers (DNS Belgium, .be)

All shortlisted nominations in the first four categories were forwarded to Jury members, who have until 18 September to submit their choices. “This shortlist is very promising”, says Carolina Aguerre, LACTLD General Manager and Chair of the 2015 CENTR Awards Jury. “We really look forward to diving into the details of each project.”

This year, the CENTR community will also be voting for the Contributor of the Year Award. Votes are open to full and associate CENTR members, with one ballot per member.

The winners this year’s edition will be announced at the 2015 CENTR Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 7 October.

Congratulations to all participants!

This CENTR news release was sourced from:

Freedom of choice in domain names

DNS Belgium logoFrom .ads to .zip. From 2 or 3 characters (.ca and .bio) to 12 or 13 characters (.versicherung and .international). Domain extensions based on geography, media, entertainment, culture, education, technology, sports, health, business, brands and finance. It seems like we have an almost unlimited choice. More than 800 new extensions were launched last year and we can now choose out of 1.300 domain extensions. Did you know that?

Relevant extension + meaningful (domain) name = distinct online identity

When building a website, you choose a certain name, a specific address where people can find you online. For example: I’m selling writing materials and I want to create a website with a virtual shop. Therefore, I first need to register a domain name. Paper.be and pen.be are already registered so I’ll settle for writing-materials.be, or not?

The choice of an extension shouldn’t be automatic and a .be no longer an obvious choice. It’s clever to carefully consider the extension of your domain name. Dot com and dot net are for example more generic but also uninformative extensions. New extensions offer the opportunity to enrich your name online and to make that name clearer. In my case, I might choose paper.vlaanderen because this domain name is still available, in contrast with paper.be. My workplace is situated in Leuven, my clients are mainly Flemish and I only send orders within Belgium, that’s why a .vlaanderen suits me. I could also opt for paper.shop, paper.club, paper.center, paper.design or paper.expert. These extensions add something relevant about me or my business to my online name and as a result, it helps me with a strong online branding.

3 tips when switching to a new domain name

You can consider a new domain extension when registering a domain name for a new purpose, project or product. From an SEO perspective, a new domain name doesn’t mean that much because a domain name as such doesn’t have a lot of effect on your ranking. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend replacing an existing (well-known) domain for a new one. When you do move your website and you switch from one domain to another, here are some useful tips:

1. Use the migration function from Google Webmaster tools and limit possible loss in ranking by correctly redirecting your old domain name to your new domain name. To do this, you use a 301 redirect, in which Google ‘transfers’ rankings from one page to another. Avoid chain redirects; always refer to the final destination page.

2. Avoid duplicate content. Google doesn’t like to see the same content appear in different places (different domains with the same IP address). Customize your content when you use different domains. In this way, you’ll avoid penalties (or loss of certain key word positions).

3. Take care of your link profile and avoid broken links. Make sure that external referrals link to your new domain and try to gain new links/referrals as well. In this way, your authority remains quite intact and you can try to rebuild it (if necessary).

An overview of all active domain extensions (in Latin script):

This news release/post was sourced from the DNS Belgium website here.


Control your .be domain name

DNS Belgium logo[news release] The importance of domain names keeps rising. Is your website highly trafficked, does it represent a large brand or does it have a web shop? If so, you should consider the level of protection your .be domain name needs. DNS Belgium offers the necessary tools to secure your .be domain as well as possible.

Protection against unintended transfers

In exceptional cases, somebody else might gain control over your e-mail address and transfer your .be domain name to his own name, without your knowledge. On your request, your registrar can at any time enable a Transfer Lock  for your .be domain name.

With this lock active, anyone who tries to execute a transfer of your domain name to a new registrant or registrar will get an error. If you do want to transfer your domain name, simply ask your registrar to de-activate the lock. If you want to check whether your domain name is protected against unwanted transfers, look it up in WHOIS (bottom of the page: Transfer status).

Security at the level of the registry

What would happen when a hacker poses as yourself and tries to gain access to your account at your registrar? With the necessary effort, this might work. He can then change a few critical domain name details, such as name servers, causing your website to go offline. In a worst case scenario, you might even lose your domain name to your competitors.  When this happens to a popular website, its business and reputation suffer immeasurable damage. That’s why brand names, financial services, media companies and popular websites would benefit from better protection. Domain Guard, the newest service from DNS Belgium, can help you with this.

Domain Guard makes sure that even your registrar cannot just change the details linked to your .be domain name. Your domain name can therefore not be transferred or deleted without your approval. Whenever DNS Belgium receives a request to change anything related to your domain name, it will contact an authorised person for your domain name. If you wish to protect your domain name using Domain Guard, please contact your registrar and ask him if he offers this service. More information can be found on our website.

This news release was sourced from:

Mixed Responses on Knowledge of New gTLDs in British, American and Belgian Surveys

A new study from the NCC Group claims to have found 87 percent of British and American consumers do not feel very comfortable visiting websites using new gTLDs. Meanwhile another study in Belgium found almost half (46%) of small-to-medium enterprises and those engaged in the “liberal professions” were aware of new gTLDs and over half (54%) found this to be a positive trend.The NCC Group study, the “New Internet Study”, questioned 10,000 consumers across the US and UK regarding their attitudes to these new gTLDs.Without access to the questionnaire used by the NCC Group or its findings, it does appear it was geared to promoting the NCC Group’s services. The findings suggest 40 percent of web users reported feeling less secure online since their introduction, however the anecdotal evidence of this writer suggests far fewer than these numbers actually know about new gTLDs. It could be the lack of knowledge and awareness of new gTLDs, as with many things in life, leads to fear. A fear of the unknown.”The internet is undergoing the biggest change in its history, causing uncertainty for consumers,” said Rob Cotton, chief executive officer at NCC Group. “We’ve also shown that the new domains are already being used for nefarious purposes, with users expressing security concerns too.””Currently there is a lack of awareness of this change in the business community. This is an issue that affects a number of different departments, from marketing and IT all the way up to the board – but most firms are oblivious.Meanwhile another survey by DNS Belgium among SMEs (2 – 250 employees) and the liberal professions, a group that one would expect to have a higher level of knowledge of new gTLDs, found 46 percent were familiar with new gTLDs.DNS Belgium contacted some 500 SMEs distributed among Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-region of their knowledge of new gTLDs, and in particular the geographic new gTLDs .vlaanderen and .brussels and follows on from a similar study in 2013.The DNS Belgium study found almost half (46%) of the professionals were aware that there are new gTLDs, an increase of nine percent from the previous year while over half (54%) found this to be a positive trend.Among professionals who are familiar with these new extensions, 36 percent knew of .vlaanderen (compared with 22% in 2014) and 20 percent of .brussels (compared with 9% in 2014).

DNS Belgium Outlines Which 2-Character Domains Can Be Registered?

[news release] A domain name that consists of only two characters: why is it that you sometimes can register them and another time you can’t? Who’s the one to decide? And what about extensions: why not choose a short .vl extension instead of the longer .vlaanderen?

In the first place we have to make a distinction between a ccTLD (country code top level domain) such as .be, .nl and .fr, and a gTLD (generic top level domain) such as .vlaanderen and .brussels, but also .com, .bike etc.

With ccTLDs it is the registry that decides on the policies and thus on the domain names that are made available for registration (except a few technical commitments that generally apply). With .be for instance it is perfectly possible to register two-character domain names, even two-letter domain names such as be.be. The registry in charge of .fr, on the other hand, didn’t allow them until recently; it is now gradually releasing all one and two-character domain names.

For the gTLDs, the situation is completely different. A great deal of the policies is determined by ICANN. At the end of 2014, ICANN decided to authorize the gTLDs registries to release two-character domain names as far as they contain:

  • 2 digits e.g. 11
  • 1 digit and 1 letter e.g. 1a
  • 1 letter and 1 digit e.g. a1

DNS Belgium decided to release these combinations as of the start of general availability, which is 20 January 2015 (10:00 CET). Combinations such as 56.brussels or k8.vlaanderen will then be made available.

It remains more difficult to register two-letter domain names such as aa.vlaanderen. This kind of domain name will continue to need the explicit consent from ICANN. If the two letters happen to constitute a country code, you will even need authorization of the authorities of the country in question as well as of the registry who manages the country code in question. Whoever wants to register nl.vlaanderen will thus need authorization of both the Dutch authorities and SIDN (manager of the .nl domain names).


The reason why we haven’t chosen the short .vl extension instead of .vlaanderen, is to be found as well in the policies determined by ICANN. Only two-letter codes that appear in the ISO2166-1 list are eligible to become a ccTLD. .vl clearly doesn’t appear in that list, which would only be possible if Flanders becomes an independent region.

With a gTLD extension, two-letter codes were excluded from the beginning, so we only had the choice between .vla and .vlaanderen or an English variant. Since .vlaanderen remains the most recognisable, the Flemish authorities opted for the latter.

This DNS Belgium news release was sourced from:

Landrush: Generic .VLAANDEREN And .BRUSSELS Domains Now Available

Are football.vlaanderen and shopping.brussels still available? Starting today, everyone has the opportunity to grab their favourite .vlaanderen or .brussels domain name. And if there is more than one applicant for any particular domain name, that name will then go up for auction.

Beginning today, 16 December, and running through until 15 January 2015, it doesn’t matter what type of applicant you are, what nationality you have or which domain name you want to register. Because right now, anyone can apply to register any .vlaanderen or .brussels domain name they want. All of the names that are still available and not reserved can be applied for via your registrar. Which includes generic names such as football.vlaanderen, or whatever. You’ll find more inspiring ideas for generic names if you go to www.trotsop.vlaanderen

Read all about the Landrush phase here.

A typical feature of a Landrush phase is that we don’t allocate the domain names immediately on a first come, first served basis. Instead, we collect all of the applications and keep them until the end of the phase. This means that until 15 January 2015, everyone has the same opportunity to apply for a specific domain name. Then, after the phase closes, we take a look at how many applicants there are for each specific domain name. If there is just one applicant, we automatically allocate the domain name to that one person. But if there are several applicants for the same domain name, we proceed to an auction, with the domain name being allocated to the highest bidder.

Read more about the auction.

This DNS Belgium news release was sourced from:

DNS Belgium Advises .BE Registrants To Be Wary Of “Invoices” from BE Domein Host

[news release] DNS Belgium received some questions and complaints in regards to recent “invoices” from the company BE Domein Host. We would like to stress that this company is unknown to us, and is not a DNS Belgium registrar.

DNS Belgium advises everyone who receives an “invoice” from BE Domein Host to read the document carefully. The document is not an invoice but an offer for a service, in this case the registration of a .info domain name. You are therefore not required to accept this offer or to execute a payment.

The offer does not relate to your .be registration. It is merely an offer to register the .info domain name that corresponds to your .be domain name.
In the Netherlands a similar type of “invoices” are distributed. There the company is called NL Domein Host. Our colleagues form SIDN have also written an article on the matter.

We advise .be domain name holders to always contact their registrar in case of doubt. He will be able to provide you with more information regarding these types of offers and assist you in selecting services that might be of benefit to you.

Below you will find an example of the “invoice” in question.

Factuur BE Domein Host

This DNS Belgium announcement was sourced from: