Putting DNS Abuse into context.

We are currently working on a project to provide abuse monitoring information to our customers.
Giving our customers just the raw data is not helpful, so our goal is to contextualize the data.
We still have long ways to go, but the basics are there.

So what do I see right now on our platform?

 

  • Malware (67%)
  • Phishing (23%)
  • The rest falls into somewhat general buckets like BEC fraud, DGA, botnets, dark lists, crypto mining, etc. Very low incidental percentages.

The above-mentioned data is from two years of monitoring.

On the left is displayed the overall abuse percentage since 2018. And yes, the abuse levels are low, certainly if you compare them with the registrar statistics from Spamhaus.

Malware is the biggest problem.
The number of domains used in malware is low (2.71%).
However, the number of URL’s is high (94.24).

When I dive into information, it becomes clear that Emotet a “Crime As A Service” is the biggest threat actor (operational since 2014).

Emotet does not get noticed much by registrars. Due to tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) used by these criminals, they do not require domain names. Meaning there is no registration data; there is no money trail; there is simply nothing at the registrar level.

Emotet hacks web and hosting services to deploy their malicious payload and essentially operates a botnet through these hacked services.

I think, however, that when we release contextual information, things will change. I suspect that situational awareness will provide enough info for our customers to harden security.

Currently, we are fine-tuning the data we download from https://pulsedive.com.
Pulsedive will provide our customers with a more granular level of detail. The data provided at Pulsedive is usually used by Security Operation Center Analysts to turn information into actionable intelligence.

 

 

RiskReact on Domain Name Security & Domain Locks

RiskReact is a service of Realtime Register B.V. with a focus on security threats, cyber intelligence & OSINT.

Last year a registrar employee was the victim of social engineering resulting in an unauthorized transfer of a domain name. 

A few months ago, a registrar employee was the victim of a spear-phishing attack, resulting in a DNS hijack. 

A possible solution to counter such issues and other risks is a Domain Name Registry Lock. 

Domain name registry locks are available for many TLDs. They all cover the same basic level of protection. 

  • Domain name update lock, preventing unauthorized or accidental updates
  • Domain name deletion prevention
  • Prevents unauthorized transfers or domain theft
  • Prevents host updates or deletions 

When we look at our competitors who offer registry locks as a service we observe the following issues; 

  • No option for secure and encrypted user authentication. 
  • Domain updates and passphrases are not encrypted.
  • One size fits all procedure.
  • Procedures are posted publicly on websites for anyone to read, including social engineers and hackers with malicious intent. 
  • Low prices. While low pricing is not a bad thing itself, low pricing usually does not provide the highest possible security. 

With RiskReact, we approach the solution from a different angle. 

Our approach is not to offer the cheapest or most convenient solution. With Risk React, we aim for the best custom solution that matches your threat and risk profile. 

In counter-surveillance, a useful strategy is to let unknown surveillance operators know that there are robust measures in place that make surveillance hard and detectable. Such an approach is acting as a deterrence to protect the target. Below I will explain how Risk React can work as deterrence and why it is an excellent solution to protect your high profile domain names. 

Assess the risk (module 1, included in base price)

Together with the client/reseller, we will discuss the potential dangers that a domain name might face and discuss the best possible solution. 

After the decision on what solution is best, we will perform an OSINT and non-intrusive technical scan to determine if the solution matches reality.

If there is a divergence in the assumed risk model, we will inform the client/reseller so we can adjust the solution if required.

Module one also includes a scan for public breached user accounts. In case of detection and in combination with the RiskReact service, we will discuss this first with you as it is usually better to avoid such user accounts and email addresses altogether for security reasons.

Also included for free is the 24/7 Intelligence Monitoring.
Our Enterprise-grade endpoint security engine scans domain names constantly for malware, phishing, APTs, botnets, or if your domain name is blocklisted.
A blocklisted domain name can have a negative impact on your SEO, or worse, your domain name is no longer accessible.

One or multiple authorized users (module 2)?

Depending on the setup and organization of the client/reseller, it might be advisable to add more authorized users to add more flexibility. 

For example, we have a client where both the CISO and CTO have to approve the changes. 

Out of band, out of the box (module 3). 

We understand that in some cases, like a domain name that is part of a critical internet infrastructure requires a lot more added security and a different set of protocols and perhaps different communication channels. 

For example, it might be necessary that communications are done through an encrypted decentralized communication protocol.

Such options can all be discussed, so surprise us!

SOCMINT (module 4).

Social media is great for branding until you become the target of activists or worse, hacktivists.

RiskReact can monitor social media, and our CTI analysts will inform you of possible threats. Being alerted of such events at an early stage allows you to deploy possible mitigation responses.

Brand monitoring (module 5)

Make sure that you are aware of typo or homograph domain names.
Typo or homograph domain names are often used for spearphishing attacks.
Our system will alert you regarding newly registered domain names that impersonate your brand or might infringe on your intellectual property.

Public breached and leaked database assessment and monitoring (module 6)

RiskReact monitors domain names and PII provided by the client/reseller by checking public breached databases and publicly-leaked databases. These databases are updated almost weekly. When we discover the submitted PII in a breach/leak, we notify the client/reseller. 

Be advised we need to comply with the GDPR, and the service mentioned above has some restrictions.

 Dark web Research (module 7)

Dark web research is an excellent way to detect possible threats arising from the dark Web. 

Such research includes the detection of exploits used in the wild or leaked information. Naturally, analyzing a part of the Internet frequented by individuals trying to stay out of the spotlight is a more difficult task than traditional measurement campaigns conducted on the regular Web.

For more information, contact our support team to discuss your potential domain name risks and solutions!

Additional MFA support at Realtime Register

In addition to the recent introduction of adding API keys, now we are adding Multi-Factor Authentication support. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security system that requires more than one method of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction.

Multifactor authentication combines two or more independent credentials: what the user knows (password), what the user has (security token) and what the user is (biometric verification).

We will support the following methods for MFA:

  • Webauthn (FIDO2) supporting Touch or Pin and Touch sensor like Yubikey with secure elements, Software authenticators and also Biometric authentication like Finger, Face, Iris/ Voice recognition.
  • TOTP (Google authenticator)

We offer multiple methods to add an additional layer of security for your account. Read more how to add MFA to your account via our Knowledgebase: How to enable MFA on your account.

.SE & .NU removing forms requirement on transfers and registrant changes.

Last year in the new Registry-Registrar agreement the Swedish registry has made “everyday life easier” by lifting the required transfer form that needed to be filled in when transferring a domain / changing a registrant.

Due to this from February 3rd onward no more manual work is needed with a .SE/NU transfer and every change will have a digital timestamp. The implications and changes in behavior compared to the current situation that you may be used to are:

  •  Domain update with registrant change is not charged anymore.
  • No more registrant change form/mail.
  • External & internal transfers will no longer keep the registrant-as-is when a registrant change takes place during transfer, which may impact those of you using the current behavior.
  • Our generic registrant validation process will take place (and no longer be skipped) for transfers and registrant changes.

Streamlining domain name abuse reports and disclosure requests

We released a few new features, one of them, RDAP reseller Vcard. 

To further streamline abuse reports & disclosure requests, Realtime Register introduces the Abuse Vcard. This Vcard will display your (reseller role) abuse contact details through RDAP. 

Showing your (external) abuse contact information will increase the speed of abuse reporting. 

Internal abuse email address/information. 

Resellers can also enter abuse contact information for our abuse & support staff. 

We are not setting requirements here for our resellers, but it would be good if this email address is monitored 24/7. We intend to use this info for emergency communications when dealing with security threats. 

Abuse Domain Manager

 

External abuse reporting address (RDAP). 

RDAP, the replacement of WHOIS, is role-based and supports Vcards. The general idea is that resellers supply their public abuse email address and Company name and telephone number. 

Once this information is present in our system, we will display the info through RDAP. We are confident that the use of this extra contact will streamline abuse reporting.  

Resellers can also assign an abuse contact information for sub-resellers or different labels using the branding management tool within the reseller account. 

At a later stage, we will incorporate such public abuse email addresses in our reseller lookup tool. 

Reseller lookup tool? Yes, just before the GDPR enforcement back in 2018, we introduced a reseller lookup tool to assist LEA’s and other third parties. 

https://www.realtimeregister.com/resources/locate-your-provider/

Reseller Lookup tool

For the reader who knows RDAP very well, yes, we are using the reseller role to display abuse contact information. 

We think that this a better use for now as we already have a reseller lookup tool. 

While RDAP supports many more roles, there is currently no standard for other roles. Once more roles are defined, we can add more info to RDAP. 

Data Protection Officer 

If your company has a DPO, please enter their contact information. While this would satisfy GDPR compliance requirements, there are multiple practical reasons: 

  • Registrant disclosure requests
  • More streamlined communication if there is a data breach. 
  • Improved communication if a data subject wants to exercise his or her rights provided by the GDPR. 

RDAP Output with Abuse Vcard

ICANN SSAD.

The ICANN community is still working on the Standardized System for Access and Disclosure (SSAD).

The details of how this is going to work are still being discussed.

 But we imagine that at some point, we want to automate disclosure requests as much as possible. 

The DPO contact role may, at some point, be used within the SSAD to send disclosure requests.

GDPR Art 27

For those of our resellers who need to comply with Art 27, you can now enter an email address of such a GDPR Representative.

Again this is to ensure better coordination between requestors and other third parties. 

The GDPR Representative data is not public in the WHOIS or RDAP. 

Please check our knowledge base on how to add this information to your into the Realtime Register Domain Manager.