20th November 2018

Responsible for running and keeping the .UK internet infrastructure secure, Nominet has today published its update on .UK domains suspended for criminal activity over the 12 months to October 2018. Nominet suspends domains following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain is being used for criminal activity.

The statistics

  • The criminality report shows that the number of .UK domains suspended between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018 has again doubled year on year to 32,813. This is an increase on the 16,632 suspensions over the preceding 12 month period which represents around 0.27% of the more than 12 million .UK domains currently registered.
  • Nominet collaborates with ten reporting organisations and received requests from five of these. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which processes and co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements from nationwide sources is the main reporting agency with over 32,000 requests, followed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Trading Standards.
  • The number of requests that didn’t result in a suspension was 114 – up from 32 in the previous year. Reasons for domains not resulting in suspension include the domain name already being suspended by the Registrar or being transferred to the IP rights holder as a result of a court order in the meantime.
  • The number of suspensions that were reversed was 16 following successful reviews, and one suspension was upheld. A suspension is reversed if the offending behaviour has stopped and the enforcing agency has since confirmed that the suspension can be lifted.
  • The report also provides an update on domains suspended and blocked under Nominet’s proscribed names policy, introduced in May 2014. Over 2,700 domains were flagged – down from around 3,500 in 2017 (2,407 in 2016) – and no suspensions were made.

Russell Haworth, Nominet’s CEO says: “The upward trend we are seeing in suspended domains confirms that criminals are continuing to seek opportunities in the UK namespace – be it the issue of counterfeits online, or where criminals relentlessly target consumers with malicious content, via domains registered for phishing.

“Our ongoing efforts to keep the namespace safe can also be seen through our Domain Watch initiative that uses a technical algorithm to promptly suspend newly-registered domains with a very high phishing risk.  Since July this year, 129 domains targeting the private and public sector have been suspended – for example barc1ays.co.uk or security-paypal.co.uk.

“Working closely with the law enforcement community and using our established processes, network analytics and cyber security tools, will ensure that .UK remains a difficult space for criminals to operate.”

See the infographic for full details of the report.

.UK domains suspended for criminal activity over the 12 months

As the trusted guardian of the .UK namespace Nominet also provides the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) – Nominet’s award winning mediation based process for resolving disputes between parties over the registration or use of .UK domain names. It aims to provide a clear, quick and cost-effective process outside of the formal court system and is accessible and fair to both those complaining and domain name registrants.

Furthermore, Nominet provides a range of cyber security solutions to support the work of the National Cyber Security Centre, using tools it has developed keeping the .UK domain safe. Nominet’s NTX platform is a cyber security threat intelligence and blocking tool that helps protect mission critical infrastructure from vulnerabilities using DNS deep packet inspection to protect against malware, phishing, botnets, data exfiltration, crypto-mining and other cyber threats.

About Nominet

Nominet is driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online.  For 20 years, Nominet has run the .UK internet infrastructure, developing an expertise in the Domain Name System (DNS) that now underpins sophisticated network analytics used by governments and enterprises to mitigate cyber threats.  The company provides registry services for top level domains, and is exploring applications for a range of emerging technologies. A profit with a purpose company, Nominet supports initiatives that contribute to a vibrant digital future. www.nominet.uk