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Boeing’s fight against “Newborn” domain names


Can flagging new domain names help stop the spread of malware?

boeing-diagramWe all get emails with links that go to phishing and malware sites. There’s one thing in common with most of the domains hosting this bad stuff: they were registered a short time ago.

In fact, many malware networks are programmed to frequently register new domain names to keep one step ahead of blacklists*.

Boeing (NYSE:BA), a company that is certainly a target for malware attacks, has come up with a creative solution to weed out these potentially harmful links without relying on out-of-date URL blacklists.

In a patent application (pdf) filed last year and publised by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office today, the company outlines a way to flag links in emails from what it calls “newborn” domains.

Basically, a service will ping whois to check the registration date of any domain names linked to within an email. If they are within a set timeframe, the email server could remediate risk by disabling the link, providing a warning to the recipient, or not delivering the email.

It’s an amazingly simple idea that I hope is put into commercial use.

* On the same day Boeing filed its patent application, Cisco filed one (pdf) for detecting domain names registered as part of these systems.

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