ICANN asks Demand Media for answers after report

A HostExploit report compared Demand Media's eNom group to McColo

The group responsible for managing the Internet's domain name system is asking Demand Media's eNom division for answers following complaints from Internet security groups.

ENom, the world's second-largest domain name registrar, came under fire last week in a report from HostExploit, a volunteer-run anti-malware research group. According to HostExploit, eNom is host to an unusually large number of malicious websites and is a preferred domain name registrar for pharmaceutical spammers.

ICANN now says that it is looking into the matter, according to Kurt Pritz, senior vice president of services with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Typically, ICANN advises people with information on illegal activity to take their complaints to law enforcement. "However, given the serious nature of some of the allegations made in the HostExploit report, we will ask eNom for their response and will follow up as appropriate," Pritz said in a statement, e-mailed to IDG News Service.

HostExploit says that some eNom resellers are violating ICANN rules by allowing customers to provide false Whois database information, not following ICANN deletion policy and generally not complying with their obligations as resellers.

HostExploit's founder, who identifies himself using the pseudonym Jart Armin for fear of retribution, expects that ICANN will now put pressure on eNom to clean up its act. "I think that's a step in the right direction," he said via instant messaging. "They're not in compliance."

According to Armin, scammers are abusing the domain name registration system to make it extremely difficult to locate the domain nameservers used by the bad guys. That, in turn, makes it hard to put illegal networks of hacked, botnet computers out of operation.

HostExploit also accuses eNom and its resellers of hosting an abnormally large number of malicious Web pages. Armin said that in terms of the total amount of bad activity, eNom is as bad as McColo. Based in San Jose, California, McColo was a notorious Internet service provider that was taken offline by its upstream service providers two years ago, after HostExploit published a report on the malicious activity on its network.

Demand Media declined to comment for this story.

HostExploit went public with its complaints about eNom in hopes of pressuring it into cleaning up its networks. ICANN's statement shows that it is getting some pressure, but typically it is the peripheral costs of malicious activity that force ISPs to act, according to Neil Daswani, chief technology officer with security vendor Dasient.

"What's happening is the search engines and the browser companies are flagging and in some cases blacklisting websites," he said. Customers then call their service providers to find out what's happening, and dealing with those support calls, and the public relations fallout from public reports, can be expensive. "But basically it generates a support cost," Daswani said. "There's no better motivator in many cases than a financial motivator."

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityinternetscamsInternet Corporation for Assigned Names and NumbersDemand MediaeNom

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?