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Facebook Sues Namecheap Over Fraudulent Domains

Facebook announced on Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit against domain registrar Namecheap and its Whoisguard privacy protection service over its refusal to provide information on a series of domains that impersonated the social media company and its services.

Facebook says it regularly looks for domain names and apps that infringe its trademarks and it has come across 45 domains that impersonated Facebook and its services, and which leveraged Whoisguard to disguise the registrant’s information. These domains included instagrambusinesshelp.com, facebo0k-login.com and whatsappdownload.site.

“We sent notices to Whoisguard between October 2018 and February 2020, and despite their obligation to provide information about these infringing domain names, they declined to cooperate,” Facebook said.

The social media giant has decided to take legal action against Namecheap and Whoisguard to obtain information on the deceptive domains. The company says these types of domains are often used for phishing, fraud and scams.

In response to Facebook’s lawsuit, Namecheap says it “takes customers privacy and Internet rights and due process seriously” and it has taken a stand against attempts to undermine its customers’ rights.

The registrar says Facebook filed a lawsuit due to its refusal to provide a domain registrant’s private information without a court order.

“We actively remove any evidence-based abuse of our services on a daily basis. Where there is no clear evidence of abuse, or when it is purely a trademark claim, Namecheap will direct complainants, such as Facebook, to follow industry-standard protocol. Outside of said protocol, a legal court order is always required to provide private user information,” said Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall.

Kirkendall added, “Facebook may be willing to tread all over their customers’ privacy on their own platform, and in this case, it appears they want other companies to do it for them, with their own customers. This is just another attack on privacy and due process in order to strong-arm companies that have services like WhoisGuard, intended to protect millions of Internet users’ personal private data.”

Facebook last year filed a similar lawsuit against domain registrar OnlineNIC and its proxy service.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.