Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Domain Name Hijacking and Telstra, the new Internet Police

leeanneart.com not available 15/10/11

Last Thursday our internet was cut off by Telstra and we thought that this in itself was bad enough.

Not so.

Sometime under the cover and distraction of Telstra’s removal of our internet connection our Domain names were hijacked (stolen). Read about domain name hijacking via the links at the end of this post.

leeanneart.com & vakras.com were taken by unknown persons and were no longer in our control or ownership. If we had still had internet access when our domains were hijacked we would have been alerted.  Our sites associated with these domains were hosted (stored) on our server which connected our sites to the WWW. When we were cut off by Telstra our sites disappeared from the WWW. 

If we had not first been disconnected, then the hijacking of our domains would have made our sites disappear from the WWW instantly. Because of the nature of the hijack we would have been aware of this the moment that it occurred. 

Under the cover of our lack of internet it was likely that the perpetrator held the expectation we would fail to notice in time to retrieve them, or felt that we would not have understood what had occurred. 

Who knew of our lack of internet? That Telstra had disconnected us? When to strike so that they could steal the domain names? Who might benefit from this?

All interesting questions. 

There are protocols and processes to secure domain name ownership. Through impersonation and deception or by the application of technical knowledge (hacking), or because of flawed security procedures these protocols can be breached, as has happened in our case. It is only through timely discovery and persistent, dogged follow-up that we now have both domains back under our ownership.

Fortunately we did discover the theft fairly quickly and alerted every authority we could. Melbourne IT, the domain name registrar, could not do anything over the weekend when we discovered this late Saturday morning15 October 2011.

The type of action Telstra have taken against us, described as "excessive", the timing of Telstra's actions, the consequences which have flowed from Telstra's actions, and the question of who stood to benefit from them, are all in question.

The Victoria Police Fraud Squad are actively investigating.



2 comments:

Ezbot said...

Hi L. What explanation have Telstra given you for disconnecting your internet. On a weekend too, so it's harder for you to do anything about it. I am deeply shocked by the lengths that these people will go to to silence your legitimate outrage at the treatment you received. Hang in there guys! Erin

LeeAnneArt said...

Thanks Erin,
We are hanging in there, thanks for your support. Unfortunately Telstra are not forthcoming on any level. Their claim in addition is they do not have to pass on the complaint they received to us nor explain any of their actions. Sounds more like the actions of a despotic social or political system doesn't it? They are a law unto themselves. The most concerning aspect is if THEY decide what YOU can transmit to the internet, no matter the set up you have (we hosted and published our own content), then what's to stop them pulling your email account because they don't like what you are writing, or, pulling your landline or mobile connection because they don't like what you are saying over their "infrustructure". The point is we hosted our own content for transmission/publishing to the WWW. Not Telstra. Telstra have definately exceeded their powers in our view.

About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.