Following recent reports of violations of the AUNIC database, which lists domain name registration information for the .au domain, the Australian Domain Authority (auDA) has announced it is going to step up protection of its data.
Unscrupulous resellers have been using the database as far back as April to spam unsuspecting businesses claiming their renewal is due, when they are not the reseller with which the business is registered.
The ACCC investigated claims against Internet Names Group (ING) in April, and several businesses called for similar investigations to be made into Internet Registrations Australia (IRA) last week over similar abuses.
Chris Disspain, chief executive officer of auDA, said the records on the AUNIC database are publicly available, but their terms and conditions prohibit looking up names in bulk or using the information for commercial purposes.
In recent months, auDA has blocked access to the AUNIC database of more than 50 IP addresses from individuals and businesses that have breached these terms and conditions. If any party tries to search for more than 30 addresses in one hour, their access is blocked.
"Several resellers have got in touch with us after being blocked and explained themselves, and in some cases we've granted them access again," said Disspain. "But there are a lot of them that don't inquire - we can only guess they were abusing the system."
Disspain said auDA is reviewing several options for further protecting the information so that such scams cannot continue.
A press release from auDA suggests an agreement with NetRegistry, which hosted the database on auDA's behalf since May, has been terminated on the advice of auDA's lawyers. Investigations are being made into several breaches of this agreement, with the database now being hosted by Optus.