Businesses and organisations have been urged to take urgent action on planned domain name changes to prevent the possibility of their corporate identity being stolen and their contacts being scammed.
.au Domain Administration Limited (auDA), which administers the rules for domain names that include the .au country code, will soon introduce the option of registering names with just the .au, removing the .com, .net, .org or other variations.
This means that both ‘yourbusiness.com.au’ and ‘yourbusiness.au’, for example, can be registered to either the same or different owners.
Owners with domain names that end in .com.au; .net.au or .org.au etc., who want to protect their identity or brand, have until September 21, 2022, to apply to be given priority status to claim their current domain names with just the .au suffix. Proof of association will be required.
From October 3, 2022, unclaimed .au only domain names will be available to the general public for registration, creating fears that cyber criminals may use this as an opportunity to steal identities.
Acting Executive Director for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said businesses and organisations need to act quickly to protect their trading and brand names.
“While the change to shorter domain names is designed to simplify, cyber criminals are rubbing their collective hands together with the chance of financial gain by perpetrating identity theft to deceive customers, contractors and members associated with the business or organisation,” Lipscombe said.
“Prevent cybercriminals from registering a .au domain name and use it to impersonate your business by getting in first and registering yourbusiness.au where you have already registered yourbusiness.com.au before the deadline.
“Where a domain name is contested, such as when one business owns yourbusiness.com.au and another owns yourbusiness.net.au, a process known as priority allocation will be used to determine who is able to register their .au equivalent.”
Domain names that currently just have .com, .net .org etc. without the .au will not be affected by this change.
If you want to register the .au direct match equivalent of your existing domain name, you will need to apply for Priority Status before 8:00am WA time on September 21, 2022. To check your priority category or see if there are other registrants eligible for the .au direct name you seek, you can use auDA’s Priority Status Tool.
To be part of WA’s peak business organisation, get in touch via 1300 422 492 or email@example.com.