GDPR Is Affecting the Way WHOIS Works, Security Researchers Worry

Is GDPR going to reflect the activity of the WHOIS database which has been helping law enforcement and security researchers uncover malware operators? According to two cybersecurity and privacy attorneys, GDPR is very likely to interfere with the availability of the dabatase.

What Is WHOIS and Why Is It Useful?

The WHOIS service and database is operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN). The service contains information collected by domain name registrars from around the globe. To be able to do so, registrars have signed an agreement with ICAAN that requires them to collect, update and keep available registrant, administrative, and technical contact information for every registered domain.

It is interesting to note that in some countries domain owners can pay for private registration services typically provided by the domain registrars. This way the WHOIS service will only show the registrar’s name and that of a forwarding service instead of the registrant’s personal details.

Now we get to the tricky part. Until GDPR went into effect anyone could submit a query to the WHOIS service. Security researchers and law enforcement representatives, in particular, did so in bulk during their investigations. With GDPR, it becomes unlawful for registrars to provide registrant’s information without their explicit consent. This practically makes the WHOIS service futile.

Since no working solution has been outlined, ICAAN has been forced to implement a temporary specification to guarantee that registrars keep up with the GDPR requirements while providing WHOIS data:

This Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (Temporary Specification) establishes temporary requirements to allow ICANN and gTLD registry operators and registrars to continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and community – developed policies in light of the GDPR. Consistent with (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from How to, Technology and PC Security Forum authored by Milena Dimitrova. Read the original post at: