Russia has become the latest country to tighten up its domain name registration policies, in a move that could spell bad news for DNS scammers and cyber criminals operating in the region.
Starting from 1 April, .ru registry the Coordination Center has decided that registrants must be verified according to a strict criteria before their registrations can be processed.
Individuals will have to show a copy of their passport, while businesses wanting to register a .ru must show "a copy of the certificate that shows state registration issued by the state authority".
At the moment anyone can register a .ru domain without the need for any kind of verification, a policy which has been exploited to the full by cyber criminals, using their fake domains to send spam or control botnets.
The news will be music to the ears of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which only last week told delegates at the e-Crime Congress event in London that DNS abuse lies at the heart of many of the problems it has to deal with.
Soca senior manager Paul Hoare explained that the agency has been working with Icann and Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) over the past two years to "remove the enablers to crime", by tightening up domain registration standards. He said that nearly 30 million domain names exist today with untraceable registrations.
The Chinese authorities have also been involved in a crackdown on fake domains. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently changed its rules, asking service providers to verify registrant information, with the person in charge of a web site required to also submit a colour headshot photo.
However, as Soca's Hoare explained last week, the criminals are only likely to move their operations to areas where such practices are not generally enforced.
"We've engaged with industry and are lobbying to make it a less hospitable environment," he said. "Good practice disperses the criminals to registries with less good practices."
Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive of security firm Kaspersky Lab, told V3.co.uk recently that the Chinese crackdown on domain registrants had forced many of the threats from traditional web sites onto file sharing P2P sites.
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