Domain Name Theft

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Guarding Your Digital Gateway: Understanding and Preventing Domain Name Theft

As the backbone of online navigation, the Domain Name System (DNS) serves a critical role in maintaining the security and integrity of website addresses. This vital infrastructure acts as the Internet’s phonebook, translating domain names into machine-readable IP addresses, enabling seamless connectivity and access to websites globally. Despite its significant role, the DNS is not impervious to attacks. In this digital era, domain name theft — a disruptive form of cybercrime — has emerged as a pressing concern for businesses and individuals alike. By exploiting weaknesses within the DNS, cybercriminals orchestrate domain hijacking, which can lead to a loss of control over a victim’s domain name, causing devastating consequences. In this article, we explore the common DNS vulnerabilities that malefactors leverage to commandeer domain names and the essential measures required to protect this key component of your digital presence.

Recognizing the Threat – Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks

Phishing and social engineering are deceptive practices employed by cybercriminals to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information, such as login credentials. In the context of domain theft, these tactics can have dire consequences, potentially leading to the unauthorized transfer or alteration of a domain’s registration details.

Real-world examples of these nefarious strategies include sending fraudulent emails that mimic legitimate domain registrars, asking unwary recipients to update their domain settings. By clicking on a malicious link provided in the email, the domain owner might unintentionally grant attackers access to their sensitive account information. Moreover, social engineering can take the form of impersonation or pretexting, wherein the attacker poses as a trusted entity via phone or other means to extract critical domain management details.

  • Example 1: An email from a seemingly reputable source urging the domain owner to renew their domain before it expires, linking to a counterfeit website that steals login data.
  • Example 2: An attacker calling the domain owner, claiming to represent the domain registrar, and requesting verification of the owner’s account through personal information and domain access credentials.

These instances underscore the importance of remaining vigilant and skeptical of any unsolicited communications regarding domain management. It is crucial to verify the authenticity of any requests using multiple channels, and never share sensitive information without certainty of the recipient’s identity.

Online Brand Protection Against Domain Theft

Protecting your brand’s domain names is not only a crucial aspect of managing your digital assets but also a necessity in maintaining the integrity of your brand’s presence online. Domain name theft can lead to a significant reputational and financial impact for businesses, making it imperative to employ robust security strategies.

Strategies for Monitoring and Safeguarding Online Brand Presence

To provide an effective defense against domain theft, it’s essential to understand and implement certain strategies that help in monitoring any unauthorized changes to your domain’s status and safeguard your brand’s digital identity:

  • Consistently monitor domain name registrations that are similar to your brand’s to detect potential impersonators or fraudulent activities.
  • Invest in domain name monitoring services that can alert you to any suspicious changes to your domain information in real time.
  • Ensure that all domain registrations are up to date and that renewals are handled promptly to prevent accidental lapses that could lead to domain loss.
  • Use domain locking features provided by registries to prevent unauthorized transfers.
  • Control access to your domain registrar accounts and related email inboxes with strong passwords and access controls.

By adhering to these preemptive measures, companies can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing domain theft and can maintain control over their online brand presence.

The Domain Registration Processes

Understanding how domain registration works is fundamental in protecting your online brand from potential threats. It is the first step in establishing your online presence and warrants due diligence in selection and management.

How the Domain Registration Process Works

The process begins when you choose a unique domain name and ensure it is available. Once selected, you register the domain through an accredited domain registrar. This involves providing contact information and paying a registration fee. The registrar then adds your domain to the global registry database, making it accessible via the Domain Name System (DNS).

The Role of the Registrar in Domain Registration and Protection

Registrars play a crucial role not just in the registration of your domain, but also in its ongoing protection. They are responsible for updating the global registry with your domain information and can offer additional security features to safeguard your domain from unauthorized access or transfers.

Selecting a Registrar with Robust Security Measures

With domain name theft being a significant concern, the choice of your registrar should never be made lightly. Opt for a registrar known for robust security measures, including:

  • Advanced authentication protocols to prevent unauthorized access
  • The ability to lock your domain against transfers
  • Continuous monitoring for any suspicious activity
  • Offering additional privacy protection services

Ensuring these features are in place can significantly mitigate the risk of domain name theft, and provide peace of mind that your online asset is secure.

Prioritizing Whois Information Privacy

When it comes to safeguarding a domain, the Whois database is a fundamental piece in the security puzzle. This publicly accessible registry holds critical information about every domain owner. While it’s designed to maintain transparency on the web, it can unfortunately serve as a potential goldmine of information for cybercriminals. Hence, understanding the significance of Whois information in domain security is crucial.

Domain owners are often caught in a dilemma balancing accessibility and privacy for their domain’s Whois data. On one hand, full disclosure ensures compliance with regulatory standards and can instill trust in potential customers or partners who might validate your domain’s legitimacy. On the other hand, too much openness can leave you vulnerable to domain name theft, as criminals might utilize this information to impersonate or initiate phishing attacks.

It is imperative to employ strategic measures to keep personal information out of reach of malicious actors while maintaining necessary transparency. Utilizing a Whois privacy protection service can replace your private contact information with that of a proxy server, thereby keeping your personal data concealed.

  • Consider Whois privacy services to shield your personal information.
  • Regularly update your domain registration records for accuracy.
  • Review the privacy policies of your registrar to understand the protections offered.
  • Maintain an appropriate balance between privacy and compliance to avoid any legal pitfalls.

By attentively managing your Whois information, and opting for privacy protection services when appropriate, you can significantly reduce the risk of domain name theft and strengthen your overall domain security posture.

Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights to Combat Illegal Hijacking

In today’s digital age, domain names are not just addresses to websites; they are valuable assets and critical components of any business’s intellectual property portfolio. To safeguard these digital assets from illegal hijacking, enforcing intellectual property rights is essential.

The Legal Framework for Protecting Your Domain as Intellectual Property

Domain names can be legally recognized as trademarks if they are distinctive and used in commerce. When domain names qualify as trademarks, they receive protection under various intellectual property laws. This means that unauthorized use of your domain name can be challenged as trademark infringement, providing a legal avenue to regain control and seek damages for misuse.

Utilizing Legal Remedies to Reclaim Stolen Domain Names

In the event of domain name theft, several legal remedies are available to the rightful owner:

  • Civil Litigation: Filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator can lead to court-ordered transfer of the stolen domain back to its rightful owner, along with possible compensatory damages.
  • Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP): This is an expedited administrative process designed to resolve disputes involving the unlawful registration of domain names. If successful, the UDRP can result in a quicker recovery of the domain.
  • Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA): In the United States, this federal law provides a cause of action against individuals who register domain names in bad faith that are identical or confusingly similar to a protected trademark.

Enforcing intellectual property rights requires specialized legal knowledge and swift action. Keeping informed about the legal framework and remedies available can ensure rapid response in the unfortunate event of domain name theft.

Legal Remedies for Domain Theft

When faced with the unfortunate circumstance of domain name theft, understanding your legal options is vital. Taking legal action may seem daunting, but it is a crucial step in regaining control of your stolen online identity.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Legal Recourse Following Domain Hijacking

If you become a victim of domain theft, follow these steps to pursue legal remedies:

  • Immediate Contact: Reach out to your domain registrar to report the theft. Quick action can sometimes prevent the transfer or sale of your domain.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect all documentation relating to your ownership of the domain, including registration records and any correspondence regarding the theft.
  • Legal Notice: Consider sending a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator if their identity is known, asserting your ownership and demanding the return of the domain.
  • Litigation: If necessary, file a lawsuit against the thief. This may involve jurisdictions in different countries, depending on where the parties are located.

Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies and How They Can Help

Several policies have been established to resolve domain name disputes:

  • Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP): A process established by ICANN that provides a legal framework for the resolution of disputes between domain name registrants and third parties over the abusive registration of domain names (e.g., cybersquatting).
  • Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA): A US federal law that includes causes of action against those who register, traffic in, or use a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name.
  • Country-Specific Laws: Various countries have their own laws and regulations to handle domain disputes, providing additional options for resolution.

Navigating the complexities of domain name disputes can be challenging. However, with the right legal guidance and understanding of the available dispute resolution policies, you can effectively fight back against domain name theft.

Best Practices for Domain Management and Security

Proper domain management and security practices are essential in safeguarding your online identity and intellectual property. Neglect in this area can leave you vulnerable to domain name theft, which can have significant repercussions for your brand and business. Below, we outline the key steps you should take to ensure your domain remains secure.

Establishing a Secure Domain Management Routine

Developing a structured routine for managing your domain is crucial. This includes:

  • Regularly updating administrative and technical contacts.
  • Ensuring that domain name registration details are current and accurate.
  • Monitoring expiration dates to prevent unintended losses.

The Importance of Regular Updates and Audits for Domain Name Information

Keeping domain information up-to-date is a vital part of domain security. To mitigate risks:

  • Conduct periodic audits of your domain portfolio to check for anomalies.
  • Update your authentication methods and passwords frequently.
  • Review domain registrar and hosting provider policies to ensure they align with your security expectations.

By implementing these best practices and combining them with robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication and cyber insurance policies, you can protect your domain names against theft and unauthorized access.

Note:While enforcing these practices is indispensable, it is equally important to stay informed about the latest threats and security trends. This will equip you with the knowledge to effectively defend against potential attacks and maintain the integrity of your online presence.

Enhance Your Domain Security with Two-Factor Authentication

Securing your domain accounts is essential in safeguarding your online presence and brand integrity. By implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), you add an additional layer of security that significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and domain name theft.

Why Two-Factor Authentication is Crucial for Domain Safety

The relationship between domain security and account authentication mechanisms is undeniable. Two-factor authentication ensures that even if a cybercriminal manages to obtain your password, they still cannot gain access to your domain account without the second authentication factor. This could be a temporary code sent to your mobile device, a fingerprint, or a security token—creating a formidable barrier against unauthorized access.

  • 2FA protects against phishing and hacking attempts by verifying the user’s identity.
  • It significantly reduces the chances of domain name theft, as multiple credentials are required.
  • Most domain registrars now offer straightforward options to enable 2FA on your account.

It is a professional best practice to enable two-factor authentication on all your domain accounts—and regularly update your security settings to stay ahead of cyber threats. Stay vigilant and proactive; with 2FA, you’re one step closer to full domain security.

The Role of Cyber Insurance Policies in Protecting Domains

As instances of cyber threats continue to ascend, understanding the function of cyber insurance in the constellation of domain name security measures becomes paramount. Cyber insurance policies have evolved to provide an additional layer of protection against a myriad of digital risks, including domain name theft.

Understanding Cyber Insurance and Its Coverage for Domain Theft

Cyber insurance is a specialized product designed to mitigate the losses from various cyber incidents, ranging from data breaches to intellectual property theft. Specifically regarding domain name theft, these policies can offer coverage for the financial repercussions associated with the loss of a domain, including:

  • Liability costs arising from the unauthorized use of the domain
  • Expenses related to legal action taken to recover the domain
  • Loss of business income if the domain is a critical asset
  • Costs for notifying stakeholders about the security incident

Evaluating Whether Cyber Insurance Is Right for Your Online Assets

When considering cyber insurance as part of your domain protection strategy, evaluate the potential risks and benefits:

  • Risks: Carefully assess the likelihood and potential impact of domain name theft specific to your business. High-profile and high-traffic domains may attract malicious actors, thereby increasing the need for coverage.
  • Benefits: Cyber insurance can be a safety net that provides financial relief and professional assistance during critical times. It can also be a testament to your stakeholders that thorough measures are in place to protect your digital assets.

In conclusion, while no one solution offers a complete safeguard, integrating cyber insurance into your domain security portfolio can significantly bolster your defenses against the ever-present threat of domain name theft.

Case Studies: Domain Hijacking and Recovery

Understanding Domain Name Theft is crucial, but examining real-world incidents provides valuable insights into the tactics employed by cybercriminals and the strategies that businesses used to recover. The following case studies highlight the complexities of domain hijacking and the rigorous recovery process.

Case Study 1: The High-Profile Heist of

In a renowned case of domain theft, CompanyXYZ’s domain was hijacked after attackers gained unauthorized access to their domain registrar account. The culprits used phishing emails to deceive an employee into revealing login credentials. Once in control, they transferred the domain to a different registrar and attempted to ransom it back to the company for a substantial sum.

  • Recovery Efforts: CompanyXYZ acted swiftly, engaging legal counsel and contacting the original and the new registrar, invoking ICANN policies for illicit domain transfer.
  • Outcome: With legal and technical assistance, CompanyXYZ regained control of their domain after several tense weeks, during which their online presence and reputation were significantly impacted.
  • Lessons Learned: This case underscored the importance of employee training to recognize phishing attempts, regular security audits, and the necessity for up-to-date contact information in Whois records to facilitate fast action when needed.

Case Study 2: The Snatching, an emerging online platform, fell victim to domain hijacking when cybercriminals exploited outdated Whois information. The criminals used social engineering to impersonate the domain owner and initiate a transfer to a foreign registrar, where recovery efforts were met with legal and language barriers.

  • Recovery Efforts: CompanyXYZ employed a domain recovery specialist who worked hand-in-hand with international law enforcement agencies to track the digital trail left by the hijackers.
  • Outcome: Their domain was eventually recovered after months of negotiation and, in this case, a court order, which mandated the registrar to reverse the transfer.
  • Lessons Learned: The recovery of highlighted the importance of maintaining accurate Whois records and showcased the benefits of having a domain theft protection service in place.

These cases provide a stark reminder of the potential severity of Domain Name Theft and emphasize the necessity for robust measures to secure domain assets. By analyzing these recovery stories, businesses can better prepare to defend against, and respond to, potential domain hijacking scenarios.

Navigating Government and ICANN Policies

In a landscape where domain name security is of utmost importance, understanding how government and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) policies influence domain security is paramount. Both entities create frameworks aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the internet’s naming system, and adherence to these policies is crucial for the prevention of domain name theft.

How Governmental and ICANN Policies Impact Domain Security

Governments and ICANN work in their respective capacities to create and enforce rules that directly affect domain name usage and security. While national governments may enact cybercrime legislation that includes domain theft, ICANN implements universal policies for domain registration and dispute resolution. These measures are designed to ensure secure ownership and use of domain names.

Staying Compliant with Evolving Regulations for Domain Names

Keeping abreast of changes in domain-related laws and ICANN’s regulations is a key component of maintaining domain security. As regulations evolve to combat new threats:

  • Domain registrants must ensure their registration details comply with current ICANN requirements,
  • It is critical to heed all legal changes related to cybersecurity and domain ownership that could affect registrants at the national level,
  • Staying informed about these continual shifts in policies will aid in protecting your domain assets from unauthorized transfer or theft.

Professionals who are meticulous in managing compliance with these policies can effectively minimize the risks associated with domain name theft. Awareness and adherence to government and ICANN policies serve as a significant defense against threats to domain security.

Reporting and Recovering Stolen Domains

Discovering that your domain name has been stolen can be alarming and disheartening, but quick action can make a significant difference in the outcome. It’s essential to know the immediate steps to take when faced with domain name theft to effectively report the incident and initiate the recovery process.

Immediate Steps to Take When You Suspect Domain Theft

If you suspect that your domain has been illegally transferred or hijacked, responding swiftly is key. Time is of the essence to ensure that you retain the rights to your online identity and the continuity of your online services.

  • Confirm the theft by checking the WHOIS database for unauthorized changes to your domain’s registration details.
  • Secure any other domains you own by changing passwords and ensuring they have up-to-date contact information.
  • Contact your domain registrar immediately to inform them of the suspected theft and seek their assistance.

Reporting a Stolen Domain to Authorities and Initiating the Recovery Process

After confirming a domain theft incident, the next step is to report it to the proper authorities and begin the process of reclaiming your digital property.

  • Report the theft to local law enforcement and get a police report, which can be useful in proving ownership and documenting the crime.
  • Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) if the theft involves a cybercrime or if you are within the United States.
  • File a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the National Arbitration Forum if your domain name’s trademark rights have been violated.
  • Work with legal professionals who specialize in intellectual property and cyberspace law to guide you through the next steps of recovery.
  • If necessary, be prepared to initiate legal proceedings to reclaim your domain and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Recovering a stolen domain can often be complex and laborious, reflecting the intricate nature of internet law and international jurisdiction. However, by taking decisive and informed action, domain owners can navigate the challenge of domain theft and work towards a resolution.

Vigilance and Proactive Measures as the Key to Domain Security

Defending your digital presence is an ongoing task, and when it comes to domain names—the cornerstone of your website’s identity—the need for vigilance cannot be overstated. Domain name theft, or domain hijacking, is a burgeoning threat that can result in significant disruption to business and loss of reputation. To mitigate this risk, adopting a holistic approach centered on proactive measures is crucial.

The Essentials of Domain Safeguarding

To secure your domain effectively, it’s imperative to understand the multi-layered strategies required for protection. Protecting your domain names involves more than just a one-time setup; it requires continuous monitoring and adjustments in response to evolving cybersecurity threats.

Adopting a Comprehensive Domain Protection Strategy

  • Make regular audits of domain registration details to ensure all information is accurate and up to date.
  • Ensure that domain accounts are protected with two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security beyond just passwords.
  • Consider using privacy protection services to keep critical Whois information private and out of the hands of potential hijackers.
  • Work with reputable registrars known for their robust security measures and responsive customer support.
  • Be aware of the renewal dates for your domain names to prevent accidental lapses that could lead to illegal hijacking.

As we have explored earlier, legal avenues exist to address illegal hijacking and recovery of stolen domain names. However, the emphasis should always be on pre-emptive action to avoid the distress and complications that come with domain theft.

Final Encouragements

No business is too small, and no website too insignificant, to escape the attention of cybercriminals. We encourage you to take domain security seriously, review your current strategies and ensure that your domain security measures are comprehensive and robust. With the right approach, domain name theft can be prevented, securing your online presence and business continuity.

Have you reviewed your domain’s security lately? Are you unsure about the strength of your current measures? We invite you to share your experiences with domain theft or to reach out for an in-depth consultation on how to fortify your domain against such threats. Your domain’s safety is critical – let’s make sure it’s fully armored against potential threats.

Domain Name

A domain name is a unique identification string that represents a particular website or an internet address. It is essentially the online equivalent of a physical address, allowing users to access a website easily. A domain name is typically composed of two main parts: the top-level domain (TLD) and the second-level domain (SLD).

The SLD is the chosen name for a website, representing its brand, service, or purpose. It is the memorable and recognizable part of a domain name, while the TLD is the extension following the SLD, indicating the type or category of the website.

Domain names are registered through domain registrars, companies that manage the reservation of domain names for individuals or organizations. Once registered, the domain name becomes an exclusive digital asset that provides the owner with certain rights and control over its usage.

Domain names are crucial for businesses and individuals alike, as they not only facilitate online presence but also act as valuable intellectual properties, representing brand reputation and credibility.

  • Choosing the Perfect Domain Name: When selecting a domain name, it is essential to consider its relevance, simplicity, and memorability. The domain name should ideally reflect the purpose or nature of the website, making it easier for users to identify and remember.
  • Domain Name Registration: Registering a domain name is a straightforward process that involves choosing the desired name and checking its availability through domain registrars. It is crucial to renew the registration periodically to maintain ownership and prevent it from being released back into the market.
  • Domain Name Theft: Unfortunately, domain name theft has become a significant concern in the online world. It refers to the unauthorized acquisition or transfer of a domain name from its rightful owner to another party. This illegal activity can cause severe damage to businesses by disrupting their online presence, impacting their brand reputation and potentially leading to financial losses.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance for website owners to take preventative measures to secure their domain names and protect them from theft. This includes implementing strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, monitoring domain registration records regularly, and promptly renewing domain registrations.


Domain name hijacking, also known as domain name theft, refers to the unauthorized transfer of a registered domain name from one registrant to another without the original owner’s consent. It is a malicious practice that can cause significant harm to individuals, businesses, and organizations.

In a domain name hijacking incident, cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in the domain name registration process or manipulate the domain owner’s account credentials. Once they gain access, they have full control over the domain name and can redirect it to their preferred website or hold it for ransom.

There are various reasons why domain name hijacking occurs. Some hijackers aim to profit by selling the stolen domain name to the highest bidder. Others may seek to tarnish a brand’s reputation or use the domain for illegal activities such as phishing attacks or distributing malware.

Domain name hijacking can have dire consequences for the affected parties. It may lead to loss of website traffic, potential customer trust and loyalty, disruption of online services, and financial loss. Besides, rebuilding brand reputation and reclaiming a hijacked domain can be a time-consuming and costly process.

It is crucial for domain owners to take proactive measures to protect their valuable digital assets from hijacking attempts. Some of the recommended practices include:

  • Choosing a reputable domain registrar: Register your domain name with a trusted and reliable registrar that has a strong track record in security and customer support.
  • Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA): Activate 2FA for your domain registrar account to add an extra layer of security. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if the account credentials are compromised.
  • Maintaining strong account passwords: Use unique and complex passwords for your domain registrar account. Avoid reusing passwords and consider using a password manager to securely store them.
  • Regularly monitoring your domains: Keep a close eye on your domain registrations and regularly check for any unauthorized changes or suspicious activities.
  • Renewing domain registrations promptly: Ensure your domain registrations are up to date and renewed before they expire. Failure to do so can make your domain name vulnerable to hijackers.

By staying vigilant and implementing robust security practices, domain owners can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to domain name hijacking.

Theft: Protecting Your Domain Name

As the digital world continues to expand and businesses increasingly rely on their online presence, the importance of protecting your domain name cannot be overstated.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals and organizations out there who engage in domain name theft. This article aims to shed light on the topic, offering insights and tips on how to safeguard your valuable online identity.

Understanding Domain Name Theft

Domain name theft, also known as domain hijacking, is the unauthorized acquisition of someone else’s domain name without their consent. This can occur through various malicious methods, such as:

  • Social Engineering: Hackers tricking domain registrars or owners into revealing sensitive information, allowing them to gain control over the domain.
  • DNS (Domain Name System) Attacks: Manipulating or compromising the domain’s DNS settings to redirect the website’s traffic elsewhere.
  • Exploiting Vulnerabilities: Taking advantage of security weaknesses in domain registrar systems or hosting platforms to gain control of the domain.

Domain name theft can have severe consequences, ranging from financial losses to reputation damage. Therefore, it is crucial to take preventative measures to minimize the risk.

Domain Name Theft


Your domain name is an essential part of your online presence. It not only represents your brand but also serves as a unique identifier for your website. However, in the world of the internet, your domain name is vulnerable to theft.

Name theft, also known as domain hijacking, occurs when someone unauthorized gains control over your domain name without your consent. This can have severe consequences for your business or personal website, as it can lead to reputation damage, financial loss, and disruption of online services.

It is crucial to understand the importance of protecting your domain name from potential theft. By taking proactive measures and following best practices, you can minimize the risk and maintain control over your online identity.

Here are a few key steps you can take to safeguard your domain name:

  • Choose a strong name: Opt for a domain name that is unique, memorable, and relevant to your brand or website. Avoid using generic terms or easily guessable phrases.
  • Set strong passwords: When registering or managing your domain, always choose strong passwords that are difficult to guess. Utilize a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: Take advantage of two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device.
  • Regularly update contact information: Ensure that your domain registration contact information is always up to date. This will help you stay informed about any changes or requests made regarding your domain.
  • Monitor expiration dates: Keep track of your domain’s expiration date. Register your domain for an extended period if feasible and set up reminders to renew it in advance.

By being proactive and implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of domain name theft. Protecting your online identity is crucial in today’s digital landscape, and maintaining control over your domain name is an essential aspect of that protection.

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