The Modality of Mortality in Domain Names

By Farsight Security


Domain names are normatively registered for one or more years, and faithfully renewed thereafter. Domains slated for abusive uses, however, are effectively disposable: they are registered, quickly abused for cybercrime, and abandoned. In this study, we monitor an ongoing data feed of newly observed domains (NOD) to generate a cohort data set, and periodically probe those names to determine what fraction of new domains get suspended by their registrar, deleted by the DNS provider, or effectively ‘killed’ by several well-known blocklists. We then analyse how quickly this happens, the most likely cause of domain ‘death’, and how this may vary depending on the TLD involved. The study provides the first systematic study of domain lifetimes, unravelling their complexities and showing the impact of blocklists on the new gTLDs. The results can be used to deploy more secure DNS policy rules in a computer network.

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