If you have a home phone, you’ve probably been warned about “slamming”, a process by which unscrupulous long distance carriers switch you to their service without your permission. What a lot of people don’t know is that this type of hijacking can happen with domain names.
Unfortunately, some site owners have experienced this. Common practices include:
A third party changing your domain’s name server information so that it points to a web host they control. Your domain name then loads the content of their choice. Another domain registrar transferring your domain, and charging you their higher fees. Unauthorized third parties creating subdomains on your domain, and using them to host their own content.
And just as the FCC has taken steps to prevent unauthorized long distance swaps, you can prevent unauthorized changes to your domain registration information by ensuring your domain registrar provides a domain lock service (not all do). Yahoo Small Business Domains is one popular domain provider who offers it at no charge.
You can modify settings for Yahoo domain names in the Yahoo Domain Control Panel, which allows you to enable Domain Locking. With this feature enabled, absolutely no changes (other than yearly renewal) can be made to the status or technical information of the domain without your explicit consent – not even by you (until you turn off Domain Locking).
Aside from registration your domain through a trusted registrar such as Yahoo Domain, you can also take help prevent domain hijacking by using private registration to hide your domain’s administrative contact information. If the administrative email address is publicly available, then a potential hijacker has two important pieces of information – the domain name, and the administrator’s email address. If they can then gain access to the administrative email address, they can modify domain settings.