Government: please pwn our old websites

3 September 2008

Sophos has noticed the UK Government's brilliant idea to let its old domain registrations lapse. It turns out that when the National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) was disbanded and its responsibilities shifted over to the Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCA), the civil servants in charge thought they would not need the old domain name. So, the people who hoover up old domain names have swooped in, bought the domain for a song and now looks to be gearing up for a bit of advertising and affiliate-marketing action.

It could be worse: the site could be doing drive-by downloads of Trojan-horse malware. But, as Sophos points out, the nhtcu.org appears on a fair few news stories about internet crime. Yahoo counts around 1800, so it's not as many as thought it might be. But the very high-traffic BBC news site has a lot of links to it.

It makes you wonder about the "high-tech" bit in the name of the old operation when it seems nobody thought it might be a good idea to stick a redirect, at least, on the old nhtcu.org site and hang on to it. Did they never check the server logs to see if people were still going to it?

Remember, a domain name isn't just for Christmas.