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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12420
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In Apache SpamAssassin before 3.4.3, a message can be crafted in a way to use excessive resources. Upgrading to SA 3.4.3 as soon as possible is the recommended fix but details will not be shared publicly.
CVE-2019-16774
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In phpfastcache before 5.1.3, there is a possible object injection vulnerability in cookie driver.
CVE-2018-11805
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
In Apache SpamAssassin before 3.4.3, nefarious CF files can be configured to run system commands without any output or errors. With this, exploits can be injected in a number of scenarios. In addition to upgrading to SA 3.4.3, we recommend that users should only use update channels or 3rd party .cf ...
CVE-2019-5061
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the hostapd 2.6, where an attacker could trigger AP to send IAPP location updates for stations, before the required authentication process has completed. This could lead to different denial of service scenarios, either by causing CAM table att...
CVE-2019-5062
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the 802.11w security state handling for hostapd 2.6 connected clients with valid 802.11w sessions. By simulating an incomplete new association, an attacker can trigger a deauthentication against stations using 802.11w, resulting in a denial of...