News & Insights

Changes for .UK domain names

We review the recent changes Nominet has made to improve security in the .UK domain platform.

Since 1996 Nominet has been the official registry for domain names in the United Kingdom. Following its consultation in 2019 it has introduced a number of changes focussed on ensuring that the .UK domain platform remains a safe place for innovation for both consumers and businesses.

An overwhelming majority of the bodies questioned by Nominet during the consultation voted in favour of implementing policies to deal with domain names suspected of criminal activity. Following these responses Nominet has changed its terms and conditions allowing it to block the use of any domain name suspected of carrying out denial-of-service attacks or the distribution of malware, virus’ or other phishing materials. The new terms and conditions will also allow Nominet to lock domains whilst investigating any illegal activity.

To maximise the effectiveness of blocking, Nominet has pledged to cooperate with domain name registrars and law enforcement to ensure that they are provided with details of high-risk domain names and to provide information to help consumers. This includes:

  • A members engagement program which will provide educational webinars to those who enrol through Nominet’s website.
  • A pilot scheme which automatically diverts anyone attempting to access pages on a high-risk domain to a secure site providing information to victims of cyber-crime. The pilot scheme will run for an initial period of 12 months, it will then be analysed to determine its success and whether any changes are required.
  • Extending the suspension period before a domain name suspended for illegal activity may be re-registered from 12 months to 24 months. This will be clarified through the implementation of a Criminal Practices Policy intended to be published in Spring 2020.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has unfortunately resulted in an increase in cyber-crime, meaning Nominet’s changes are very timely and are welcomed by both consumers and businesses.

If you have any questions about the legal issues associated with internet security or if you would like advice about domain names, websites or the intellectual property rights associated with them do not hesitate to get in contact with us, please email any enquiries to [email protected].