National Scams Awareness Week 2019: Avoiding Domain Name Related Scams

It’s currently National Scams Awareness week and in support we’re highlighting a couple of ways people are tricked when it comes to domain names and how you can avoid getting caught.

Unsolicited Offers Of Domain Names

The most common issue we see is the direct, unsolicited offers of domain names.

While this kind of activity can certainly be legitimate, we see many instances which may cross the line from legitimate marketing tactic into scam activity.

There’s a couple of flavours of this scam:

Fake renewal invoices

The registrant receives a letter from a company designed to look like an invoice demanding payment for the renewal of their domain name or a domain very similar to one they may already hold the licence for. Without close inspection the name could easily be mistaken for the domain they already hold.

‘First right of refusal’

The Registrant will receive an email from a company stating that they’ve had a request to register a domain name very similar to one held by the registrant, and that the company is legally obliged to check with the registrant first to see if they want to register it as a brand protection measure (there is no legal obligation for this to happen).

In examples we’ve seen the domain in question is either already registered, or is a sub-domain of a .com domain name – e.g. registrantname.othername.com. The company behind this scam operates in a number of ccTLDs with the same offer, backed by the same website built to look like that of a legitimate company.

How to avoid getting ripped off

Know who your domain name is registered with. If you’re unsure about any offer of a domain name from a company you unfamiliar with, talk to your registrar before you take any action and certainly don’t pay anything until you’re sure.

If you’re unsure who your registrar check, a WHOIS search can help you find out.

Scam sites with misspelled domain names

If you’ve spent any time using the internet, you’ll know that instances of people trying to pass themselves off as other businesses as part of phishing scams are rife.  One of the tactics phishing scammers use is a misspelled domain name which looks very much like that of a brand/organistion they know.

Scamwatch has a great resource you can use to spot the signs of an online scam.

In addition to those signs, we’d advise some extra steps when it comes to checking if an offer that seems too good to be true is just that.

Double check the domain name spelling

We often see instances where scammers use domain names that imitate those of well known brands but with slight misspellings or additions like hyphens. Check any domain names carefully and verify whether it is actually legitimate by verifying the company’s address with via a web search.

Check the WHOIS information

If it’s a .au domain you’re unsure about, a WHOIS search can give you clues to help you decide whether a site or email is legitimate.

If a scammer is imitating a legitimate company they often fraudulently use that company’s corporate details as the registrant information.

One giveaway in the WHOIS information is that the Registrant and Registrant Contact fields don’t align  - the listed email address might be a Gmail address where you would usually expect it to be a corporate one.

This isn’t always a sure sign of a scam, but it’s another point that should be considered when you’re weighing up whether something is legitimate.

Also, in the case of a com.au or net.au domain, you can cross check the ABN or ACN with the Australian Business Register or ASIC registry to make sure the details match those on the domain registration.

Stay informed

Knowing what to look for when it comes to scams is important as online scams are constantly evolving and getting more sophisticated.

Check out the information on Scams Awareness Week 2019 and the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Stay Smart Online resource to learn more about how to avoid being caught by online scams.

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auDA Quarterly Stakeholder Report – Q2 2019

auDA's Stakeholder report for Q2 2019 is now available.

Quarterly Stakeholder Report  - Q2 2019

This quarter's report contains updates on the policy changes for .au and gives an overview of auDA's strategic priorities for the coming year.

These reports are published as part of our renewed accountability and transparency initiatives and aim to update stakeholders and the public on the organisation’s agenda and progress.

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Third Party Platforms Offering .au Domain Name Registrations: Read The Fine Print

It’s important to understand what you’re getting when it comes to .au domain names offered by third party online platforms or services you might use to help run your business.

If the third-party platform offers to register a com.au domain name for your business as part of a service for which you have a contract, they are eligible to hold the licence for that domain name.

e.g. A local restaurant uses a third-party online ordering and delivery platform, and as part of the service the ordering platform registers a domain name and sets up a website to help generate orders on the restaurant’s behalf.

If that contract is cancelled or ends without renewal the platform may still be eligible to hold the licence for that domain name, depending on the contract. It's a situation with the potential to be extremely disruptive for a business.

auDA advises all companies to carefully read the contracts for these kinds of services and understand how they apply to .au domain names during and after the life of the contract.

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.au Licensing Rules: Trademarks and Eligibility for .au Domain Names

The new .au Licensing Rules change how being an owner or applicant of a registered Australian Trademark enables a person to meet the Australian presence test.

Under the new .au Licensing Rules, when using a registered Australian trademark or application for one as the basis for a domain name application:

  • The trademark registered or applied for must be or include a word mark
  • The domain name applied for must be an exact match of that word mark

An exact match allows the exclusion of:

  • any corporate identifiers  - INC, Pty Ltd, LLC etc.
  • Definite and indefinite articles such as ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘of’ etc.
  • DNS identifiers such as ‘com.au’, ‘com’ etc.

Once the new .au Licensing Rules come into effect, auDA will refer only to the ‘word’ section of the registration in the IP Australia Trademark Register when assessing the trademark as to whether an overseas person satisfies the Australian presence rule (which includes an allocation rule).

What’s changed

In the current rules, only a trademark is referred to, not an accompanying word mark.

What does this mean for me?

If your eligibility for your.au domain name is based on your ownership or application for an Australian registered trademark, there must be an associated word mark for you to remain eligible.

The changes apply to names created or renewed after the new Licensing rules come into effect.

The commencement date of the new rules will be announced soon.

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Updates on the Introduction of Second Level Registrations and the New .au Licensing Rules

The auDA board resolved some of the outstanding issues concerning the implementation of second level registrations and the new .au licensing rules at its meeting this week.

Implementation of second level registrations

Second level registrations are still scheduled to be implemented in Q4 2019.

Fee for second level names

The wholesale fee for second level names will be the same as the existing open second level name spaces such as .com.au, .net.au, .org.au etc.

The wholesale price of .au domain names applies to auDA accredited registrars. The retail price is set by .au registrars and their resellers, and varies depending on the level of services provided.

Priority registration process

The draft rules for the priority registration process are available here.

The cut-off date is 4 February 2018

The cut-off date determines which priority category an existing third level .au domain name is assigned to.

Names registered on or before 4 February 2018 are assigned to priority category 1.

Names registered after 4 February 2018 are assigned to priority category 2.

The priority category is relevant to the priority application process for registrants of existing third level .au domain names and can help determine who gets to register the exact match at the second level where there are competing applications for a given name.

Priority application fee

The wholesale priority application fee has been set the same as the .au wholesale fee and will include one year of .au registration.

The wholesale annual priority application fee for contested names is set the same as the .au wholesale fee.

.au Licensing Rules

The Board approved the .au licensing rules subject to receiving further advice from the Australian Government on clause 2.17.

You can read the updated licensing rules here.

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ICANN and NASSCOM Collaborate on Internet Innovation Research

Technical research results are expected to contribute to global Internet standards

DELHI, India – 18 June 2019 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and India's National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) today announced a joint collaboration on research and engagement activities that will foster innovation in Internet identifier technologies. 

ICANN and NASSCOM's Centre of Excellence for Internet of Things (NASSCOM COE-IOT) have established a partnership center, known as the Internet Identifier Innovation Center, which will drive collaborative activities as laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by both parties in June 2018.

"We are excited about this collaboration, as NASSCOM COE-IOT has an extensive network within the industry and academia. This is ICANN's first partnership center focused on technical research, and we anticipate that it will contribute to ICANN's technical remit in ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems," said David Conrad, ICANN Chief Technology Officer.

"This collaboration provides a structure for us to jointly identify research projects, particularly in new technologies related to the Internet's system of unique identifiers," Conrad continued. "The teams began research on the Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT) last year. This first research project focuses on testing the use of the DNS to update IoT firmware, studying how the proposed technology could scale outside a lab environment. This work is nearing completion and will contribute to a proposal in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) documenting the mechanism."

The project team is comprised of ICANN technical experts, NASSCOM's COE-IOT team, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad team, and participants from India's Education and Research Network (ERNET).

Besides being a major information technology and telecommunications powerhouse, India has a fast-growing Internet ecosystem, with close to 560 million Internet users1 today and exponential growth expected. India also leads the world in IPv6 adoption, with 56.8 percent of all connections being made over IPv62. This environment provides a robust ecosystem to test new technologies.

Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM said, "This is the first collaboration of its kind, and with our combined resources we hope to witness significant innovation and development in the DNS and Internet space to support billions of IoT devices in the coming years. As a country, India can further strengthen its potential as an innovation hub through more investments in research and strategic collaborations. It is our global initiatives and relationships that will pave the road ahead and create an ecosystem that nurtures co-creation and innovative systems. We are confident that we will usher in a new wave of innovation and intelligence in the country with this association."

The Internet Identifier Innovation Center will also conduct engagement activities such as:

  • Raising awareness of the research projects and promoting partnerships within the Indian technical community
  • Providing ICANN readouts, community discussions and capacity-development workshops to strengthen active participation in ICANN's policy-making processes
  • Facilitating participation of ICANN and NASSCOM members in outreach activities to further strengthen engagement with the wider community and providing support for the multistakeholder governance model of the Internet

A key pillar in ICANN's International Office Strategy is to establish strategic relationships that support specific stakeholder needs and ensure ICANN is active in matters that impact ICANN's mission. ICANN has established partnership centers in Egypt, Korea, and Paraguay to reach more stakeholders around the world. The Internet Identifier Innovation Center is the latest addition.

####

Media Contacts

ICANN
Liana Teo
Head of Communications, APAC
Tel: +65 6816 1259
Mobile: +65 9796 5500
Email: liana.teo@icann.org

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address - a name or a number - into your computer or other device. That address must be unique, so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.

About NASSCOM

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM®) is the premier trade body and chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India and comprises of over 2800-member companies including both Indian and multinational organisations that have a presence in India. Guided by the vision of the country to adopt and integrate digital technologies, NASSCOM believes in enabling a digital transformation in the country through technology. NASSCOM aims to position the country as a global hub for innovation and co-creation by imbibing the ideology of 'Think Digital, Think India', to drive focus towards emerging technologies, digitally skilling talent and ensuring the pace of transformation in the country meets the global standard. NASSCOM's membership base constitutes over 95% of the industry revenues in India and employs over 4 million professionals.

For further information please contact:

Arnab Bhattacharya | Kabir Bhargava

NASSCOM Press Office – Genesis BCW

+91 7838311985 | +91 7291961901

arnab.bhattacharya@genesis-bcw.com | kabir.bhargava@genesis-bcw.com

Kavita Doshi

NASSCOM

+91 120 4990200

kavita@nasscom.in

About NASSCOM COE-IOT

NASSCOM COE-IOT, in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Education and Research Network (ERNET), is providing data-driven decision making, enhancing academic capacities, supporting imperative skills and cultivating talent development. The COE-IOT aims to serve as a platform for intelligence-sharing and technology collaboration between stakeholders, to build collective capabilities for the industry and country in the cutting-edge areas of data science and artificial intelligence. It provides high-end technology, field expertise, and curated programs to augment capabilities across academia, enterprises, government, innovators and advanced start-ups. 

About ERNET

ERNET, the Indian National Research and Education Network (NREN) under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has expertise of over a decade in running IPv6 infrastructure and DNSSEC for supporting research and education community. ERNET established the first Internet and the first IPv6 network in India and has been involved in research in the areas of future network technologies including in IoT and cutting-edge areas of ICT. Visit www.ernet.in for further details.

1 Source: Top 20 Countries with Highest Number of Internet Users

2 Source: IPv6 Adoption by Country

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Global Internet Stakeholders to Convene in Marrakech for ICANN’s 65th Public Meeting

ISTANBUL - 17 June 2019 - The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will hold its 65th Public Meeting in the Palmeraie Conference Center Marrakech from 24-27 June 2019. This meeting is ICANN's fourth Policy Forum, focused solely on policy work and outreach. It is also the twelfth ICANN meeting to be held in Africa, and the third meeting in Morocco.

Hosted by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Agency (ANRT), the meeting will bring together global and regional Internet stakeholders to develop policies related to the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS).

The ICANN65 Multistakeholder Ethos Award Ceremony is among the highlights of ICANN65. Launched five years ago, this special award honors members of the ICANN community who have made outstanding contributions to ICANN's multistakeholder model of Internet governance. The Multistakeholder Ethos Award will mark the first day of ICANN65.

Among other highlights of ICANN65 will be discussions on the policy aspects of Universal Acceptance (UA) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) and the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model, as well as technical topics such as current issues in cybersecurity, DNS over HTTPS (DoH), and DNS over TLS (DoT).

Members of the press are encouraged to join in-person or remotely via a live web stream. Additionally, you can contact ICANN's Communications team for interviews and/or briefings on ICANN65 events. More information on remote participation and media contacts is available below.

ICANN meetings provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in getting involved in Internet governance to learn how they can join and have an impact. Global voices have many avenues represented at ICANN through different structures to ensure local perspectives are taken into account in the policy making process. Some of these structures are based in Africa, helping reflect the African perspective in ICANN's policy making processes. The African Regional At-Large Organization (AFRALO), the African Governmental Advisory Committee representatives (including the Moroccan Government), observer International Governmental Organizations such as the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), and Africa Information & Communication Technologies Alliance (AFICTA) are among the regional bodies that represent Africa's diverse voices.

ICANN Public Meetings are held three times a year in different regions, enabling community members from around the globe to participate in person. These meetings offer a variety of sessions, such as workshops, forums, and meetings on the development and implementation of policies related to the Internet's system of unique identifiers.

Event Information:

  • Journalists who are unable to attend the meeting are encouraged to participate remotely. Details for remote participation in any session can be found here.
  • All ICANN65 attendees (including journalists) are required to register either on site or here.
  • For more details on ICANN65, please visit: https://meetings.icann.org/en/marrakech65.
  • The full schedule of ICANN65 events and meetings is available at https://65.schedule.icann.org/.
  • Photos from ICANN65 will be available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/icann/.

You also can download the ICANN Meetings Mobile App available in the App Store and Google Play.

Media Contacts

Luna Madi
Communications Director, EMEA
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 533 031 3505
Email: luna.madi@icann.org

Buket Coskuner
Global Communications Coordinator
Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 533 487 6254
Email: buket.coskuner@icann.org

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

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Have Your Say: DNSSEC Policy and Practice Statement

auDA is seeking public feedback on changes to its DNSSEC Policy and practice Statement.

A Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC) Policy and Practice statement defines the policy, practices and summarises procedures used to sign and manage a Domain Name System (DNS) Zone.

The document is intended to provide information on how .au Domain Administration LTD (auDA) will implement and manage the .au Key Signing Keys (KSK) and Zone Signing Keys (ZSK) for the Australian (.au) top level domain.

The updated policy can be found on the Public Comment page.

To make a submission on this policy, please email your feedback to corporate.policies@auda.org.au by 5pm, 27 June.

 

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Consumer alert: Beware of unsolicited emails offering similar domain names

Registrants should be wary of unsolicited offers to register domain names similar to .au domain names they hold licences for.

auDA has recently been made aware of a company contacting registrants of .au domain names and offering them registration of other domain names - usually a .com domain name - which closely resembles the registrant's .au domain name.

This company has been targeting state and local government authorities as well individual registrants.

In some cases the company is offering domains which are already registered to someone else, or a subdomain of a .com name e.g. example.vic.com.

The emails claim the company in question is fulfilling its ‘statutory obligation’ by offering the .au registrant first right of refusal, and hints at ‘far-reaching consequences’ if the offer is not accepted.

Unfortunately, Australia’s domain name registrants are periodically targeted by schemes like this.

Registrants are advised to:

  • be wary of these unsolicited offers of domain names and read them carefully before acting
  • understand that you have no obligation to register any domain names offered
  • double check with your registrar if you’re unsure if the offer is legitimate or related to your existing domain name licences
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If Melbourne was European, would it rate as a digital innovation hub?


Melbourne outranks most major cities in Europe in terms of its appeal to digital entrepreneurs, according to new research that compares the Victorian capital to 63 major European cities.

New research conducted by the Centre for Innovative Industries Economic Research (CIIER), and funded by the .au Domain Authority (auDA), has applied the same sophisticated methodology to Melbourne as used by the renowned European Digital City Index.

The European Digital City Index, produced as part of the European Digital Forum, benchmarks how well different cities across Europe support digital entrepreneurs.

After spending months applying the Index's methodology to analyse Melbourne, CIIER can reveal the city would outrank Lyon and Frankfurt, but fall a considerable way behind Amsterdam and Helsinki.

CIIER is now seeking funding to apply the methodology to a full Australasian Digital Cities Index, so that policymakers can better understand where they may need to devote more resources.

"Australian policymakers know that making cities friendly to digital entrepreneurship is pivotal to economic success, but they need need reliable, evidence-based information to invest intelligently," said Ernest Stabek, ADCI Project Director.

"We hear a lot of subjective opinion about whether Australian cities are supportive of digital investment, but an Australasian Digital Cities Index would provide the objectivity – and global context – we sorely need.

"Understanding that Melbourne would rank 15th on a chart of major European cities is an eye-opening finding. It would be incredibly useful to policymakers to see other Australasian centres similarly ranked.

"Governments need to understand what best practice looks like and which cities need to improve. In Europe, the Digital City Index has become an invaluable tool for policymakers looking to understand and improve their cities.

“Cities ranking highly are gifted with an excellent reference to recruit yet more talent to their economies. Those on the other end of the rankings are given the impetus and examples to improve."

auDA chief executive Cameron Boardman said the development of an Australasian Digital Cities Index was incredibly important.

"Australia enjoys a terrific digital reputation internationally, with '.au' a powerful signal of security, stability, and good governance," Mr Boardman said.

"But we should also be renowned for our digital innovation and that means building on the support we give to entrepreneurs in our major cities.

"That's why auDA has been proud to support the proof of concept stage of this project. We now urge others to get behind the Australasian Digital Cities Index and make it a reality."

1. London
2. Stockholm
3. Amsterdam
4. Helsinki
5. Paris
6. Berlin
7. Copenhagen
8. Dublin
9. Barcelona
10. Vienna
11. Munich
12. Cambridge
13. Bristol
14. Madrid
15. Melbourne
16. Oxford
17. Manchester
18. Brussels
19. Tallinn
20. Edinburgh

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