You know they’re out there—lurking, hiding in the shadows, intent on doing harm. Cyber criminals, spammers, telemarketers, hackers, and identity thieves are constantly looking to get ahold of your personal data. You do your best to protect your information; you use strong passwords, don’t post vital statistics, and generally try to keep a low profile with your online accounts. However, did you realize your business or personal website can be a gateway for these binary bandits to get their virtual claws on your directory info? With protected domain services, you can block access in an effort to protect your privacy, prevent solicitation, and otherwise flummox these ne’er-do-wells in their attempts to sabotage your website.
When you register a domain through your hosting provider, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires your personal information to be listed with the public Internet directory at WHOIS. With private domain registration, your domain is purchased by a third party and the company’s contact information is made public instead of your private information. That way, your personal data is hidden from criminals looking to use it to commit fraud, gain access to your financial accounts, or create an alter ego for other nefarious reasons.
Domain privacy protection can also help protect you from less criminal—yet no less annoying—individuals with other plans for your information. Domain-related spam doesn’t come in the form of emails from Nigeria promising trust fund riches. Instead, well-crafted promotions offering to improve your website’s performance, solicitations for new business opportunities, and other devious cons will find their way into your inbox. Most website owners are probably unaware their personal contact information is there for the taking by spammers harvesting the WHOIS directory. It’s not just your email they’re after, either; telemarketers thrive on phone numbers taken legally from WHOIS.
Clearly, protecting your personal information and identity is a primary concern to everyone and avoiding spammers is the modern equivalent of not answering the door when the encyclopedia salesman is in the neighborhood. Still, private domain registration can prevent other maladies, as well. Without it, domain hackers can use your info to switch your domain into their name and then sell it to the highest bidder. The WHOIS directory is fertile soil for data miners, too. With access to the contact information of every registered owner of every website in the world, there is no telling what consequences could come from their intrusive activities. Ransom offers are expected when you sign up for a raffle at the county fair, not when you register the domain for your website.
On a separate but related note, it should be stated that private domain registration only keeps your personal data from being published on WHOIS. It is no way meant to be a legal tactic to protect yourself from prosecution or to hide your own criminal or illicit online behaviors. Instead, it is simply a way to keep online outlaws from doing digital damage.
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