The country is in lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19, and New Zealanders are now even more reliant on online services. In this newsletter, I want to share with you how the Domain Name Commission and other agencies are working during the pandemic to keep .nz safe.
We continue to run .nz namespace at a time when the Government has declared a national state of emergency. For up to date information about the coronavirus and the Government’s response visit covid19.govt.nz. It is the only official source of information about the pandemic in Aotearoa.
DNC is working with members of New Zealand’s Online Harm Prevention Group to identify and suspend fake domain name registrations associated with COVID-19 related websites.
I wanted to let you know that to date, we are following up 182 COVID-19 related domain names. We have verified 79 registrant contacts. We have suspended 17 domain names that were COVID-19 related with fake registration details.
Reflecting on the activity to date, we have written to InternetNZ outlining our current approach to domain name suspensions that relate to COVID-19 matters. A copy of that letter is available on our website at notices and alerts section.
We are deploying countermeasures at this time that make the registration of all coronavirus-related domains much harder. Some of these measures are:
using automated and human reviews for all newly registered coronavirus-related domain names
joining international COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition, comprised of global Top Level and Generic Level Domain Name administrators and industry monitoring malicious domain names
publishing our firstname.lastname@example.org email for authorities and the general public to report coronavirus-related scam sites
targeting our search and social media approach to make people aware of our service and our role in tackling fake domain name registrations
suspending or validating all reported domain names.
The Commission is planning to publish on our website a list of COVID-19 .nz domain name registrations that have been validated every Thursday. This is to give the public a higher level of confidence that a real person or valid company is contactable through their domain name registration details. If anything suspicious happens with these published domain names, we will work with members of our Online Harm Prevention Group to follow these up and ensure the right agency investigates them.
I also wanted to let you know that our customer experiences have changed since all our staff moved to remote working. Our contact centre continues to be available by phone +64 4 472 1600 or live chat Monday to Friday 9 am - 4 pm five days a week.
We now also have our chatbot “Any” working 24/7 answering your .nz domain names questions. We are encouraging people to send their enquiries and reports of domain name registration abuse by email to email@example.com.
We will continue to fine-tune our efforts and publish information on our website and social media pages. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates.
If you have any suggestions or are an agency, who wants to work together to keep .nz safe, trusted and secure, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In these challenging times, lets be kind to one another. I wish you and your family good health and wellbeing in the days ahead.
Government’s COVID-19 hub
Don’t go anywhere else. To stay informed during lockdown of the Government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic visit and bookmark https://covid19.govt.nz. There are no hyphens and no misspellings in the name.
The Netsafe Contact Centre has temporarily reduced its helpline hours to 9 am – 5 pm seven days a week but expects to be open again from 8 am to 8 pm weekdays within a few days. They take reports and provide advice on a range of online safety issues including online abuse and harassment and online scams at https://www.netsafe.org.nz/report.
The lockdown period will mean everyone will be watching more movies and shows and playing more online games than normal. The Classification Office’s website has resources and advice to help you make good choices about what you watch and help parents engage with rangatahi about what they are seeing and playing.
Stay on top of trending scams and educate members of your family about online scams targeting .nz. Visit the financial industry’s Scam Savvy resource. Please note that coronavirus themed scams are the most recent trending scams.
Criminals are disguising themselves as charity workers to steal money or sensitive information. If you are contacted by someone who appears to be from a charity, the Police advise verifying their authenticity before responding.
Stay on top of the various Internet online scams by visiting the Police’s scam page. You may also wish to follow their Twitter account for updates.
If you’ve seen online coronavirus advertising that causes you concern
The Advertising Standards Authority ensures every ad is a responsible ad. The ASA will receive complaints about New Zealand advertisers ads for face masks, antibacterial products, devices, medicines, food supplements, and alternative therapies.
No ad should be irresponsible or exploit people’s fears regarding the current coronavirus outbreak. Visit https://www.asa.co.nz/ to place a complaint.
Trust on the Internet
InternetNZ has put out some materials to help people understand who, what and how to trust information online. Remember even if it is online and associated with a .nz domain name, it still might not be correct.