What is Domain Hijacking?

Domain hijacking is the act of theft or alteration of the registration of a domain name. Of course, this is typically done without the permission of the person who originally registered the name. Domain hijacking can also mean the abuse of privileges found on both domain hosting and registrar software systems alike.

This is an issue for many, most notably, the original domain name holder. From causing financial problems to issues with readership, it can have a majorly negative impact. The practice of domain hijacking can effectively help the hacker leach into your commercial business, audience, earnings, email, and more. Unfortunately, once a domain name is taken over, the person responsible can now begin conducting illegal activities.

It is hard to grasp the complete scope of attacks, but some of the more common criminal acts include phishing, spam, and the use of malware. In some cases, the website in question is completely replaced with an identical one, which then goes to work recording personal information and sensitive data. This varies in impact; however, domain hijacking can cause major damage to third parties.

How Does One Commit Domain Hijacking?

Naturally, it is imperative for a site owner to take the necessary precautions against this breach of privacy. Having a hacker gain sensitive information like your login and password can be detrimental to the success of your organization. More frequently than not, the hacker acquires personal information in order to impersonate or persuade the registrar.

Sometimes the domain in question gets transferred to another registrar which is technically an actual form of identity theft. When the hacker has successfully gained access and/or made modifications to the domain, they can then use it or sell it to third-parties as they see fit, making it hard to retrieve when the time comes.

Common Domain Hijacking Techniques

In order to effectively exploit a domain, the hacker may employ one or more techniques. At the heart of it, vulnerability is what makes this act possible. Vulnerabilities within the email system and domain-registration level are especially threatening. Other methods include common phishing practices in addition to keyloggers and the like.

Furthermore, one can also acquire access to other networks through social engineering. In other words, this entails getting in through email. While protecting your information is far from simple, once a domain is successfully hijacked, there are potential ways to fix the issue depending on the situation.

Moving on From a Domain Hijacking

The answer is never simple, nor is it anywhere near-universal in terms of security and recovery following a hijacking. Sometimes, all of the original registration information can be returned to normal by the current registrar. On the other hand, this becomes much more difficult if the domain was indeed transferred to a different registrar—especially in other areas of the world. In the event that this is the case, the victim or losing registrar has the ability to invoke ICANN’s Registrar Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy. Together you can see the rightful return of the domain.