Since I was passing…

November 25th, 2012 at 12:29 UTC by Richard Clayton

When you register an Internet domain name in “.com” (and some other top level domains) you have the choice of using a “privacy” or “proxy” service rather than having your name and contact details recorded within the “whois” systems that provide a public record of domain name ownership.

A privacy service will record that you are the owner of the domain name but your contact details will be hidden. A proxy service will hide your identity as well.

The privacy-conscious use these services to avoid disclosing information about themselves (and to avoid the trivial amount of spam sent to contact email addresses). The cyber criminals use these services as well — so that it is hard for the Good Guys to link domains into groups and hard for them to argue (in an Al Capone tax evading manner) that “you may not understand this criminality or be convinced this evidence, but just take a look at the invalid details given when registering the domain“.

I’m currently working on a project for ICANN that will measure the prevalance of privacy/proxy usage by different types of cybercriminals… of which more at another time — because at present I’m having a holiday! I went to Palm Cove (just north of Cairns) to see the recent total solar eclipse… and my holiday involves a short(ish) drive south to Melbourne

… and since I was passing Nobby Beach (just south of Brisbane) I took the opportunity to peek at the home of the larger Internet domain name proxy services:
Richard points at PrivacyProtect.org's PO Box
whose details appear in whois records like this:

PrivacyProtect.org
Domain Admin (contact@privacyprotect.org)
ID#10760, PO Box 16
Note - All Postal Mails Rejected, visit Privacyprotect.org
Nobby Beach
null,QLD 4218
AU
Tel. +45.36946676

There are at present (according to domainnametools.com) some 2,584,758 domains associated with contact@privacyprotect.org. You can see why they don’t want any postal mail, because their PO box is merely a standard size:
Close-up of PO Box #16
The reality of course is that you should contact Privacy Protection by email or their website… but then you’d miss out on getting to look at some of the nearby beaches!
View of beach at Surfer's Paradise

Entry filed under: Privacy technology

3 comments Add your own

  • 1. Clive Robinson  |  November 25th, 2012 at 13:33 UTC

    @ Richard,

    What no surf board?

    Get your priorities right your on holiday ;-)

  • 2. 00000000  |  November 30th, 2012 at 19:03 UTC

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/11/bank-to-pay-hacking-victim/all/

    In a case watched closely by banks and their commercial customers, a financial institution in Maine has agreed to reimburse a construction company $345,000 that was lost to hackers after a court ruled that the bank’s security practices were “commercially unreasonable.”

    People’s United Bank has agreed to pay Patco Construction Company all the money it lost to hackers in 2009, plus about $45,000 in interest, after intruders installed malware on Patco’s computers and stole its banking credentials to siphon money from its account.

  • 3. Heather McCalley  |  December 7th, 2012 at 16:54 UTC

    Ha! Love the pic and love seeing how you tracked down the P.O. Box! It is especially grand when whoIs history reveals real ownership details from before they decided to go with PrivacyProtect.

Leave a Comment

Required

Required, hidden

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

November 2012
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930