David Airey is a well known graphic designer. In 2007, his Website was hacked and the hackers tried to get ransom money from him in exchange for giving him back control of his Website. He eventually managed to gain control of his domain without paying the hackers, but it must have been quite an ordeal!
This can happen to anyone who owns a Website. Hackers and spammers are out there and they target all kinds of sites, big and small. Your real estate site could be next! But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are the basic steps we all need to take to protect our domains:
Pick Your Registrar Carefully
It’s best to register your domain through a registrar that makes it very difficult to change the domain or the account information. While this could make YOUR life more difficult, it will also make it more difficult for hackers to steal your domain.
Pick a Good Password
This is important for any account, including your domain account. Password should be a random sequence of letters and numbers and should be at least 12 characters long. Never use easy to guess words or numbers such as “password” or your date of birth. Change your password frequently – at least twice a year – and don’t keep it in your email. Ideally, don’t store it on your computer either.
Avoid using a Free Email Address on Your Domain Records
Free email accounts are often easier to break into. Since domain transfers usually require email authorization, this could facilitate a domain hijack, as happened to David Airey who used Gmail on his domain account.
Lock your Domain
Most domain registrars will let you lock your domain against transfers. This means that no one can transfer the domain to another registrar, which is one of the top ways that domains get hijacked.
Renew on Time
Don’t rely on a reminder email from the registrant. Mark your calendar and renew your domain before it expires. Once expired, domains are often snatched up within seconds by speculators running automated programs. If your domain name is critical to your business, consider renewing your domain registration in five year increments to prevent the annual hassle of renewing and to prevent your domain from accidentally expiring.
As a real estate professional, your domain is part of your brand and of your professional identity. Make sure you do everything you can to protect it.