Daily Archives: 2012-11-25

Since I was passing…

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:

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