The Coordination Center for TLD .RU / .РФ continues to monitor the pace of registrations of .RU and .РФ domain names that include words related to COVID-19 or measures to contain the pandemic.
Recent monitoring of the TLD .RU and .РФ register regularly carried out by the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ since the beginning of 2020, has shown that in December, 125 coronavirus domains were added to the .RU zone, and 17 to .РФ. The total increase included 142 new domain names.
The number of such registrations is less than half the peak number in November when 326 domain names associated with the pandemic were registered in .RU and .РФ.
Over the previous year, owners registered 1,591 domains containing the words corona, covid, pandemia, ковид, пандемия, вакцина and the like in .RU and 203 in .РФ; the total number of such registrations in 2021 was 1,669 in both Russian domain zones.
Interestingly, most of the Corona domains registered in .RU in 2021 contain a direct reference to the name of the virus (1,178), but vaccines or tests are referenced in less than a third of these domain names. The situation with .РФ is different: almost 50% of new Corona domain names are associated with testing and vaccination, which suggests using the .РФ zone would be a better choice when promoting services for Russian users – even cyber fraudsters seem to realize this. It should be noted that in recent months, domain names related to post-Сovid rehabilitation have begun to surface in the monitoring results.
However, compared with 2020, the number of coronavirus domain registrations dropped to one third last year. In 2020, 4,907 Corona domains were registered in the .RU zone, and 984 in .РФ. The total increment was 5,891. One of the reasons for the decline in registrations was fewer COVID-associated names available. At the same time, the public has become used to the pandemic and the ensuing restrictions which has led to a general decline in interest in this topic. The surge in registrations in the fall and the December decline that followed clearly show weaker public reaction to the introduction of new restrictive measures.
Still, despite the gradually decreasing number of dangerous domain names associated with the coronavirus and fewer measures to contain the pandemic, users need to be vigilant and comply with cyber hygiene rules when using any web resources. Install an anti-virus app on each device connected to the internet; enter your personal data, account data and online banking details only on websites that support the encryption function (the prefix https:// before the URL); check domain names for typos; and do not open executable files from spam emails.
More instructions and advice on potential cyber threats such as phishing, botnets, malware, or unauthorized access to data, as well as telephone hotlines for related organizations, can be found on the website of the Coordination Center’s Domain Patrol project.