Tech talk: Tips to avoid cybercriminals

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Tech talk: Tips to avoid cybercriminals

January 25, 2017 - 16:35

You need to be careful where you go on the Internet. There are many places that are not safe. One of the easiest things to look for is the registrar or country code of the domain. If the registrar is Eastern European, Asian, or from an unknown country you may want to find a different source of what you are looking for. You should also be wary of emails coming from these domain registrars.

For example, the person who changed Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman's password could have noticed a red flag. The link provided to change the password,
http://myaccount.google.com-securitysettingpage.tk/security/signinoptions/… was located in the .tk domain registrar. To find the registrar look for what immediately precedes the first slash after the protocol- in this case http://.

The .tk domain is a country code top-level domain, similar to .uk for the United Kingdom and.ca for Canada. The .tk represents Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand. The domain is well known as an origin for phishing attacks, but is one of the largest domains on the Internet since they provide some domain names for free. Domain registrars that could pose a problem are typically within countries that lack Internet security measures.

You cannot simply ignore all sites from these domains, some sites are trusted even though they are hosted in Eastern Europe. The original domain for winscp, a popular secure transfer program, was in the Czech Republic. The program had a good reputation and was developed by someone who many people trusted so it has been installed millions of times.

It is important to look at the domain and, if it is from an area where cyber criminals are active, make sure to give it a second thought. But keep in mind that not all sites there are bad. There are bad sites that end with .com, .net, and .org, but they seem to appear with less frequency than domains from European, Asian, or other unknown countries.