Over the weekend, Panix, one of the oldest New York City based Internet Service Providers lost its domain name to two other companies. Mail was being transferred to one company while its web site visitors were being transferred to yet another.
Could this happen to your domain name? Yes.
Some suspicions about what happened to Panix abound. Some options are 1) a disgruntled employee? 2) a hacker who broke into the system somehow
In any case when a domain name is requested to be transferred the domain owners are SUPPOSED to receive a notification of the request so they can have the opportunity to stop the transfer.
One thing you can do to protect yourself is to ask your domain name registration company to LOCK your domain name. This will help ensure that action only occurs on your domain name once you UNLOCK the domain name
This notification never occurred, according to the NY Times which writes Alexis Rosen, president of Public Access Networks, which owns Panix, said, “The system is broken. And it’s incumbent on the registries and registrars to fix it.”
Mr. Rosen was lamenting the Byzantine system for distributing and maintaining domain names. The rules have been established by and are overseen by the closest thing the global Internet has to a governing body: the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, a nonprofit international collective.
According to Icann’s rules, Mr. Rosen or at least Panix.com should have received a notice that someone, somewhere – it is still unclear – had submitted a request to transfer the domain name. That would have set in motion a process that would have made the transfer happen automatically, unless Panix took steps to block it.
Mr. Rosen argued that a notice should also have been provided by the registrar through which he originally received the panix.com domain, a company called Dotster. But Dotster says it was simply following Icann’s rules.
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