Archive for Digital Citizens Alliance

Website Retailers Selling Domains Meant For Illicit Goods And Services: Digital Citizens Alliance

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 21, 2022 by itnerd

Domain names geared to offer illicit goods and services – from illegally purchased guns to opioids to Covid vaccine cards – remain easy to acquire from leading registrars and domain brokers, a Digital Citizens Alliance investigation has found.

The findings of the “Peddling for Profit” report are troubling and show that, despite warnings, little has been done to prevent the sale of website domains designed for illegal activity. Just last year, Digital Citizens investigators raised alarms about the ease with which registrars and domain brokers enabled the creation of websites designed to profit from illegal and/or illicit activities.

Little stands in the way of bad actors being able to create websites – such as buyillegalassaultweapons.co – designed for illegal activity.

When Digital Citizens sought sketchy domains such as covidvaccinecardsforsale.net, brokers that help acquire previously registered names asked no questions even when investigators informed the broker of the intent to “market to the unvaccinated who want Covid cards.”

A decade after the opioid crisis went from bad to catastrophic, domains offering the drugs -without a prescription – are easily attainable. Digital Citizens registered buyopioidswithoutrx.biz. And while many Americans are victimized by ransomware or other cyberattacks, registrars make it easy to acquire domains such as Malwareforsale.com.

Americans are looking for these website retailers to step up. Eighty-two percent of Americans said that they want companies selling tech services to business websites to regularly verify the identity of the company operators, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Digital Citizens. In addition, 54 percent reported that if companies met these obligations, they would protect consumers from scammers, hackers, and thieves.

To read the Peddling for Profit report, go to:
https://www.digitalcitizensalliance.org/clientuploads/directory/Reports/DCA-Peddling-For-Profit.pdf 

To view the YouGov polling, please visit the appendix of the report.