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.xxx domains to get free virus scans from McAfee

ICM Registry has signed up with security software outfit McAfee to provide automatic virus scanning for all web sites hosted at .xxx domain names.

Under the $8 million deal, “every .XXX domain will be scanned for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, browser exploits and phishing sites, reputational analysis and malware”, ICM said in a press release.

The subscription, which is based on the McAfee Secure offering, will be included in the price of the domain, which is expected to start at around $75 at the cheapest registrars.

McAfee normally charges a lot more than that; ICM has basically negotiated a bulk discount for its customers.

There are two ways to take advantage of the deal.

First, webmasters can choose to put some code on their sites that displays the McAfee Secure logo, potentially increasing customer confidence and ergo sales.

McAfee reckons sales can go up by as much as 12% when sites use this “trust mark”, based on some split-testing it did a couple years ago (results may vary, it adds).

Second, because McAfee is going to automatically scan every .xxx domain every day, whether the registrant wants it or not, porn surfers will be able to use McAfee SiteAdvisor, a free browser plug-in, to verify that a .xxx site is, for want of a better word, clean.

Whether you like .xxx or not, you’ve got to admit that this probably counts as a rare example of “innovation” from a domain registry.

On the flipside, registrars that already offer such services as add-ons, such as Go Daddy, won’t get the up-sell if ICM is giving it to every registrant from the registry side.

But that doesn’t seem to have stopped any registrars from signing up to sell .xxx domains.

Oddly, the press release does not name McAfee as the service provider, but its brand is all over the ICM web site so embarrassment is probably not a factor.

McAfee currently has about 80,000 sites using the service, which could easily grow to 500,000 or more if ICM gets as many registrations as it expects to.

McAfee calls for ICANN spam crackdown

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2010, Domain Tech

The security company McAfee has claimed that ICANN needs to try harder in the fight against spam by cracking down on rogue registrars.

In a report released today, the company makes the bold assertion that ICANN “holds the trump card to the spam problem” and that it should step up its compliance efforts.

Although ICANN cannot stop spam itself and does not link spammers to the Internet, it does accredit the registrars that sell the domains that cybercriminals use to fill our inboxes with advertisements and malware

McAfee notes that ICANN has previously de-accredited spammer-friendly registrars such as the notorious EstDomains, but that it needs to do more.

ICANN needs to continue this trend against registrars that knowingly provide domain services to cybercriminals. The organization also needs to harden its policies that define under what circumstances an accreditation can be revoked, so that it can take quicker action against rogue registrars.

The claims come in a report entitled “Security Takes The Offensive”, available here.

The report does not lay all the blame for spam at ICANN’s door, of course. The author also goes after ISPs and the SMTP protocol itself.

The report does not point out that there are 250-odd TLDs over which ICANN has no registrar accreditation powers whatsoever.

Despite my best efforts with Google, I’ve been unable to find a single instance of McAfee publicly participating in ICANN policy-making, so I have to wonder how serious it is.

At least guys like KnuJon are not afraid to show up at meetings and stir things up a bit.