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Domain Name Security Measures To Keep Your Online Property Safe

Friday, September 8th, 2017

You may be able to protect your tangible property with security guards, CCTV surveillance and electric fences, but what about protecting your domain name? If you thought that domain names don’t need protection, then you are mistaken. Every domain name which is in use is continuously appreciating in price. This means that if the wrong person gets a hold of it, they may be able to make big money. This article explains the security measures introduced by ICANN to allow you to protect your property and ensure that your intellectual property is safe online.

Registrar Lock

This is one of the simplest security measures which every domain owner must implement. Locking your domain prevents any person from transferring it. There are also various other locks which registrars implement to prevent unauthorized Name Server changes or deletion requests. Till the lock is enabled, there is complete safety of the domain from unauthorized transfers. Even a legitimate transfer cannot be initiated when the domain is locked.

Authorization Code / EPP Code

Before a person can transfer a domain name to another registrar, he must obtain a secret code or password from the old registrar, which he must provide to the new registrar. This code establishes that the person with the code had access to the domain control panel and it also establishes that the domain in question is the same one being transferred. Failure to provide a correct code will prevent the domain from being transferred. Although most popular tlds like.com provide this service, not all tlds follow this practice.

WHOIS Details Verification

As of January 1, 2014 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has mandated that all ICANN accredited registrars begin verifying the Registrant WHOIS contact information for all new domain registrations and Registrant contact modifications. This means that if you change the domain Registrant details, an email alert will be sent asking you to verify the changes. Similarly for new domain registrations, if the email address is not verified the domain name is suspended after a few days.

Transfer Approval Email

When a domain is being transferred, a transfer approval email is sent to the WHOIS registrant of the domain, asking them to click a link to approve the transfer. When the link is clicked, the registrant can either approve the transfer or reject it. This adds a second layer of protection so that even if the Auth Code has been leaked or stolen, unless the email address of the Domain Owner is compromised, the domain cannot be transferred away.

Renewal Grace Period

Even after expiry of the domain name, registrars must allow upto 30 days for the domain owner to renew the domain name. This helps domain owners who have forgotten to renew or were unable to renew their names on time, some grace duration, during which they can still renew at the same price.

Redemption Period

Even after the renewal grace period if the domain owner has not renewed the name, a further period of about 15 days is allowed to give him a last chance to renew the name. However, the renewal during this period is charged at an exhorbitant price, mostly 10 times the price of the domain names ordinary renewal price. This is like a penalty for the domain owner but still gives him the exclusive option of renewing the name at a premium.

Public WHOIS database

ICANN has made it mandatory for domain name registrars to make the contact details of every domain owner publicly visible, so that any person who wants to know these details can do so by simply doing WHOIS lookup. This allows domain owners to monitor their own domain’s contact details as well as allow a trademark owner to collect information on the ownership details of a domain mark which they may have an interest in.

What To Do When Your Domain Name Provider Refuses To Give You Domain Control

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Your Domain Name is your business or your personal intellectual property. The Domain Name gives you certain exclusive rights which only you as a domain owner have the privilege of exploiting or using. If your rights are taken away or you are deprived of controlling your domain name’s settings and configuration and put it to commercial use, then your exclusive rights have been taken away from you and you have a right to enforce them. This article deals with what you should do when your domain name provider refuses to give you control of your domain name or ignores your requests for control.

Before you follow these steps, you should remember that control of the domain name is given only to the true owner who is registered as the Registrant Contact in the WHOIS section of the domain name. If you are NOT listed as the Registrant of the domain name, you should ensure that you first update that. ICANN and the Registrar may seek additional proof of ownership if you are not listed as the owner in the WHOIS records.

Do It Yourself

When you signed up for your domain name registration, you should have received the login details for your domain name control panel. Using this control panel, you can change the ownership details and control the transfer process of the domain name along with editing other configuration settings. Even domain name resellers and coders who resell domain names provide these control panels. You may also want to check out the domain registrars website if you can take control of your domain from there, by overriding the reseller. Instead of wondering how to control your domain name and change settings, by going round in circles, this maybe the simplest way in which you can take control. You will first need to find out (by doing a simple WHOIS lookup) who your Domain Name Registrar is. Their website should also list some tips on how to take control of your domain.

Send an email

Send an official email from your WHOIS email address, marking a copy to the official communication email address of the domain name provider, along with a copy to any other email addresses or staff that you maybe communicating with. Be specific about your request and be polite but firm. This email should be sufficient proof for the domain provider or reseller to verify your identity and comply with your request.

Contact the Registrar

If you have bought your domain name from a reseller or a web designer, it is most likely that they are not ICANN accredited registrars and are just representing the registrars for marketing and support. The resellers are also bound by ICANN’s rules and Registrar Agreement and if they fail to comply with those terms, the Registrar is responsible for their actions. Hence, if you contact the registrar directly, they are bound to provide you the auth code of the domain name within 5 days of your request.

Complain to ICANN

If your registrar is also not complying with your request, the other option is to approach ICANN and pull your domain out from the Registrar. ICANN has a Domain Transfer Complaint Form which you can fill in on their website. They will automatically send the complaint to the Registrar concerned, stating exactly what you have complained about. The Registrar has to comply with the Transfer request as per the ICANN rules and release the domain name and provide you the Authorization Code.