1 year Registrant Verification

30 November 2021

DNS Belgium manages all .be domain names and ensures the security of the .be zone. This requires many initiatives in the field of cyber security. One of these is registrant verification, which we launched about a year ago.

What is registrant verification?

Registrant verification means that people who register a domain name (the registrants) have to prove that they are indeed who they claim to be in the data they use to register their domain name. There are still cybercriminals nowadays who use other people's data to register a domain name. So, to avoid that, we perform registrant verification.

An automated process checks whether a registrant's details are correct on the basis of a number of parameters. This is carried out even before we activate a domain name on the Internet. If we notice that data are missing when we apply to register a domain name or if we find irregularities in the data, we contact the registrant and his registrar.

In this way we can stop possible fraudulent registrations. People who want to register domain names for fraudulent purposes often give incorrect details when applying. And by preventing malicious websites from coming online, we intervene before they cause any harm.

Findings after one year

  • One percent of new registrations is selected for verification on average per month. That may not seem much, but it does mean that we contacted more than 1,500 registrants in one year for a total of nearly 3,000 domain names.
  • 35% of the people we contact respond to our request.
  • 27% percent verified themselves by providing the requested documents. This ultimately resulted in the activation of a quarter of the domain names that we had previously blocked. People who put their file in order have no malicious intentions.
  • People who do not agree to our request for more data often use the argument that they want to protect their privacy. However, we do not disclose identity information. Personal registration details are well protected and obviously not shown on our website or in the tool that enables you to check who owns a particular domain name.
  • It is difficult to judge people who do not react at all to our request. There are probably people with bad intentions. There will also be people who are simply negligent.

Registrant verification in the future

In the course of 2022, we want to expand the verification and upgrade to a system where we check the data of every new registrant by using a portal where everyone can identify themselves easily.

Once that system is up and running, we could also verify old domain names retroactively. But that is far in the horizon.

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.