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Confusion reigns over three “hijacked” ccTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 12, 2013, 13:35:48 (UTC), Domain Registries

Control over three ccTLDs is currently up in the air due to the alleged hijacking of one of the registry operator’s domain names.

The TLDs for the Turks and Caicos Islands (.tc), the British Virgin Islands (.vg) and Grenada (.gd) are all nominally managed by a UK-based company called AdamsNames.

Last October, AdamsNames outsourced the back-end technical functions of the registry to KSRegistry, the registry sister company to German registrar Key-Systems.

But this week, it’s difficult to say who’s in charge any more.

KSRegistry, in an official statement, said yesterday that an unspecified “third party” had managed to take over the registry’s domain name, AdamsNames.net, and was operating a “shadow registry” there.

Today, the KSregistry GmbH, a hundred percent subsidiary of the Key-Systems GmbH, has learned that a third party has executed a transfer of the domain name adamsnames.net and now operates a shadow registry under this domain. According to the CEO of AdamsNames Ltd., Mr. Carsten Pauli, this transfer was not authorized by the registry operator.

Whois records show that the domain was transferred away from Key-Systems to Hexonet last week, and that the administrative contact changed from an address in London to an address in Istanbul.

The name on the records was Ertan Ulutas before and after the transfer.

So has Ulutas, by taking control over what is in effect the official registry web site, hijacked all three registries?

Statements appearing on AdamsNames.net this week tell a different story.

Whoever’s in control of the domain — presumably Ulutas — claims that the outfit is “currently experiencing a high level Corporate hijack from the minority shareholder Carsten Pauli and Key Systems GmbH.”

A statement today reads:

As you are all aware AdamsNames Ltd has been run by us for a while. Key Systems is our former Registry Backend provider. We recently noticed, the adamsnames.com domain, for which Key Systems was the Registrar had been illegally transferred into another account without any notice or authorisation from us.

Upon realising this we transferred our other gTLD domains to another Registrar. Due to this matter we lost trust in Key Systems GmbH and decided to run it ourselves. Please be aware that our Registry is fully operational.

All domains can be registered, renewed and updated as usual. We could not trust a company with three ccTLD’s if we could not trust them with one domain!

Whois records show that Pauli recently became the owner of AdamsNames.com. Ulutas was the previous owner. The domain is registered via Key-Systems.

KSRegistry, which has declined to comment beyond its prepared statement yesterday, said:

KSregistry GmbH still provides the technical back-end services for the ccTLDs .TC, .GD and .VG authorized by AdamsNames Ltd., but this is currently hampered by the actions of the third party.

In order to not endanger the integrity of the zone after addressing the issues, the Key-Systems GmbH as registrar has decided to not permit current modifications to domains under .TC, .GD and .VG. The resolution and renewal of the domains are not affected.

What seems to be happening here is that Pauli and Ulutas have had some kind of dispute, and that as a result the registrants and the reputation of three countries’ ccTLDs have been harmed.

Very amateurish.

UPDATE: Key-Systems founder and CEO Alexander Siffrin has issued the following updated statement in response to the latest claims on Adamsnames.net:

Key-Systems GmbH has at no time hijacked a domain name from Adamsnames Ltd. It has in the incident referred to by the party currently claiming to represent Adamsnames acted upon a request of the director of Adamsnames Ltd. who is also the signatory of the agreement outsourcing the technical backend of the registry to KSregistry GmbH.

On the other hand the transfer of the domain name adamsnames.net and with that the ability to change the management of the zone has to our knowledge been initiated without permission of Adamsnames Ltd.

It is noteworthy that at this time the domain names listed by the current technical operator do not list Adamsnames Ltd. as registrant:

ADAMSNAMES.NET
adamsnames.org
adamsnames.eu

You may draw your own conclusions.

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Comments (5)

  1. Key-Systems GmbH has at no time hijacked a domain name from Adamsnames Ltd. It has in the incident referred to by the party currently claiming to represent Adamsnames acted upon a request of the director of Adamsnames Ltd. who is also the signatory of the agreement outsourcing the technical backend of the registry to KSregistry GmbH.

    On the other hand the transfer of the domain name adamsnames.net and with that the ability to change the management of the zone has to our knowledge been initiated without permission of Adamsnames Ltd.
    It is noteworthy that at this time the domain names listed by the current technical operator list Adamsnames Ltd. as registrant:
    ADAMSNAMES.NET
    adamsnames.org
    adamsnames.eu
    You may draw your own conclusions.

  2. Adamsnames Ltd., the operator of the Turks and Caicos Islands (.tc), the British Virgin Islands (.vg) and Grenada (.gd) ccTLDs, has issued the following statement which hopefully helps bring light to this issue:

    http://adamsnames.net/?page_id=187

    Priority message to all our customers and registrars

    Dear Madam / Sir,

    since 8th March 2013, many of our clients were contacted by some people who pretended to be AdamsNames Limited. They received the announcement of an alleged migration of our .gd, .tc and .vg TLD registry to another system, with the adamsnames.net website as a basis. We are seriously concerned about the confusion that was caused by this illegal action.

    Please be aware of the following facts:

    1. The people running the false “AdamsNames Limited” are Ertan Ulutas and his assistants Ayse Ergen and Tolga Kaprol, acting simultaneously as “TCNET Ltd.”. They are seated in Istanbul and not in London. For some time, Ertan Ulutas worked as one of our system administrators. TCNET had acted as a registrar for us in Turkey, had sold quite a lot of domains, but had failed to pay our invoices, so that we terminated the business relationship without notice.

    2. Since 23rd April 2012, Director of AdamsNames Limited is Carsten Pauli. Ertan Ulutas has never been Director or shareholder of our company. He is not authorised to act on behalf of AdamsNames Limited. These facts are filed at Companies House in Cardiff.

    3. On 18th March 2013, the domains http://www.adamsnames.net and http://www.adamsnames.org were reassigned to us. The nameservers were changed so that the false AdamsNames website on adamsnames.net is offline now.

    The domain history shows that the domains http://www.adamsnames.net and http://www.adamsnames.org had originally been registered for AdamsNames Limited, until Ertan Ulutas abused his position of trust and changed the ownership to himself resp. his TCNET. This happened without authorisation by our Director Carsten Pauli. We call this a criminal act.

    4. All that we want is to continue our business and run the registries for the .gd, .tc and .vg TLD like before the 08th March 2013. Maybe we will be forced to take some other legal action against Ertan Ulutas and his assistants, but this will not infringe our daily work.

    Please pay attention to some important aspects:

    a) Since 10th March 2013, we have provided new access data for all registrars. If you are in doubt whether you use the correct data, please do not hesitate to contact us for the appropriate information.

    b) In case that you have registered, deleted or transferred .gd, .tc and/or .vg domains since 8th March 2013, please send us a complete list with all the appropriate registration data for validation purposes as soon as possible. We will crosscheck our data immediately and transmit our confirmation within one week. If you should have submitted registrations to the false AdamsNames website on http://www.adamsnames.net, we will adopt those registrations whenever possible. Of course, we will not claim additional charges.

    c) All payments that were made into our bank account No. 14211500 at Adam & Company are safe and have been credited to the appropriate clients’ account in our books. For each registrar, the details will be shown in our next monthly invoice on 31st March 2013.

    However, if you should have payed into another account on the basis of an invoice or other information that you have received from the false AdamsNames website since 8th March 2013, please provide us with full information about this process (e.g. invoice, receipt for payment) as soon as possible.

    For further queries on the issues mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact our Legal Department (legal@adamsnames.com).

    We apoIogise for any inconvenience.

    Kind regards

    AdamsNames Limited

    Carsten Pauli, Director

    • Ed Baxter says:

      This is just unbelievable. We have removed support for all domains offered by the previously impeccable Adamsnames firm.

      We feel sorry for the countries who have lost their Internet domain status reputation at the hands of these idiots.

      Ed Baxter

    • Blaine says:

      I have a domain in .vg and lost all delegations. The root-servers point to the Key-systems nameservers; however, my delegations are in the 4 previous ccTLD nameservers. I contacted meridianTLD, keysystems, and admansnames, but all fail to respond. I am stuck with no support and missing email. This is very frustrating. Where is ICANN in all this?

      • Rubens Kuhl says:

        ccTLDs have very limited of what ICANN do besides redelegating the TLD altogether which would almost guarantee old domains to be lost. This applies to every 2-letter TLD, including .br, .co, .me and .vg.

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