Online scammers’ best friends: China, Russia & the Netherlands

September 2, 2019 by
Nico Hoeijmans

safetyA research collaboration between Scamadviser.com and REACT has analysed over 65 million websites. Based on its data, it identified a top eight of hosting companies and registrars who support the most unreliable websites in the world. Basically, all an online scammer needs is a domain name and a hosting provider to do its business.

Registering a domain name always involves a registrant, registrar and registry. Registrars sell different domain names like store.com, store.nl and store.xyz to companies or private persons, the registrant. At the moment, for most domain names, no authentication is needed apart from an email address. For this, Gmail and a (fake) address are used the most.

Registrar Country Total # of IP’s Unique IP's Bad IP's % Bad IP's Avg. Trust Rating
Chengdu west dimension digital China 1113 643 937 84% 9
West263 International Hong Kong 3033 2187 2148 71% 17
Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology China 3730 2565 1978 53% 31
Guangzhou Ehost Tech.co China 1760 1148 921 52% 30
Shanghai Meicheng Technology Information Development China 15116 7976 7562 50% 29
Xiamen Nawang Technology China 1119 939 558 50% 25
Reg.Ru Russia 11405 5770 5089 45% 35
Bizcn.com China 33401 17917 13722 41% 38

 Top 8 Registries supporting websites with a low Trust Score

According to the study, some companies are supporting scammers more than others. In the case of registrars, most registered scam websites come from China. The analysis shows that the Chengdu West Dimension contains up to 84% unreliable website with an average trust score rating of 9%. The biggest number of registered websites is Bizcn.com with 41% (13.722 URLs) of a total of 33.401 having a low trust score.

Hosting Providers

Hosting providers offer the server space and access to the internet to set-up a website. There are roughly two billion websites worldwide. The hosting providers with the worst reputation are mostly hosted in Russia, Sweden and the Netherlands. Compared to the giants they are relatively small, but 77% of the websites hosted by Dancom, for example, have a low trust score, with an average of 16%.

Hosting Provider Country Total # of IP’s Unique IP's Bad IP's % Bad IP's Avg. Trust Rating
Dancom Russia 1679 356 1291 77% 16
Mir Telematiki Russia 8979 1767 6832 76% 15
Inter Connects Sweden 11395 1635 8543 75% 16
YISP Netherlands 1520 286 1098 72% 18
Jazz Network United States 6453 1662 4434 69% 20
Marosnet Telecommunications Russia 2164 558 1461 68% 22
Marcel Edler (Optimate-Server) Germany 1544 683 1035 67% 21
Dediserv Dedicated Servers Netherlands 1837 386 1195 65% 26

Top 8 hosting companies with a low Trust Score

 

At this moment, it seems to be too easy and cheap to set-up an online scam. The challenge is that the infrastructure used by online scammers is the same used by legit retailers. Therefore the only way to combat them is with a proper due diligence process, asking for company papers and personal ID’s. The registry of a Danish .dk domain, for example, started asking for a company VAT number or tax ID in 2017. As a result, the number of .dk domains used for online scams fell from 6.73% to 1.03% in one year.

Naturally, online identification alone is not foolproof. A second step is using scam blacklists to keep the infrastructure clean of scammy URLs. There already exist blacklists for email spammers and malware and phishing sites.

 

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