Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

10/1/2018
06:00 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Short, Brutal Lives': Life Expectancy for Malicious Domains

Using a cooling-off period for domain names can help catch those registered by known bad actors.

Domain Name System (DNS) pioneer Paul Vixie for more than three years has been calling for a "cooling off" period for newly created Internet domain names as a way to deter cybercrime and other abuses. Domain names registered and spun up in less than a minute only encourage and breed malicious activity, he argues, and placing them in a holding pattern for a few minutes or hours can help vet them and catch any registered by known spammers and other bad actors.

Vixie — who is founder and CEO of threat intelligence firm Farsight Security — and his team have now taken an up-close look at the life cycle of new Internet domains, and their findings shine new light on the lifespan of malicious and suspicious domains. "Most of them die young, and most of them die after living short, brutal lives," he says of newly created domains.

Over a six-month period, Vixie and his team conducted a longitudinal study of 23.8 million domains under 936 top-layer domains from their creation. They found that in the first seven days, 9.3% of new domains died: the median lifespan was four hours and 16 minutes.

The cause of death for 6.7% of those new domains was blacklisting, and most of them were blocked within an hour of their birth. DNS registrars and hosting providers, meanwhile, deleted or revoked malicious domains in three days or more after their creation. Interestingly, new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) suffered three times the rapid deaths than traditional ones such as .com, .net, .org, and .edu, for example.

Vixie's team found in the first week of life for new gTLDs there were 12 cases of more of them dying than living past their first week. "I was not shocked to see them as poster children of the short-lifetime effect," he says. "I don't know if they are more abusable or not," but it's possible the registries who snapped them up to sell aren't getting as much business as they expected. "They're under a good deal of financial pressure," he says, so some may be less choosy over to whom they sell their available domains.

The Internet's biggest TLD, .com, had just 2% of its new domains blacklisted and 3.6% deleted by registrars.

The new research, which Vixie will present on October 5 at the VirusBulletin International Conference in Montreal, underscores how a secure DNS policy is needed both for registrars that issue domains as well as enterprises that register new domains, he says. Putting new domains on ice for hours, days, or a week, is the best approach to ensure there's no malicious intent or ties. Enterprises, too, get the benefit of ensuring their new domains aren't incorrectly blacklisted, for example.

"All new domain should go into a penalty box — good or bad — until they've had a chance to live long enough," he says. Vixie's full report will be released on Friday.

Related Content:

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec. 3-6, 2018, with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15504
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
A SQL injection vulnerability in the user and admin web interfaces of Sophos XG Firewall v18.0 MR1 and older potentially allows an attacker to run arbitrary code remotely. The fix is built into the re-release of XG Firewall v18 MR-1 (named MR-1-Build396) and the v17.5 MR13 release. All other version...
CVE-2020-8190
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Incorrect file permissions in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway before versions 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 allows privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-8191
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Improper input validation in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows reflected Cross Site Scripting (XSS).
CVE-2020-8193
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Improper access control in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows unauthenticated access to certain URL endpoints.
CVE-2020-8194
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Reflected code injection in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows the modification of a file download.