How Is Domain Owner History Useful
When youre running any OSINT research, one of the top most important things to investigate will be the domain names and IPs associated with the organization or individual youre targeting.
And there are a couple of scenarios in which youll find the domain owner history is quite useful, such as:
Cyber crime investigation: With the rise of fake propaganda, scams, phishing, viruses and malware campaigns all over the Internet, having a way to check out the real owner of a domain name is advantageous, as is analyzing how the administrative and technical information of the domain name has changed over time.Cybercrime investigators can easily detect changes in names, telephones, addresses, cities, countries, associated emails and assigned name servers then compare this data with critical variables from the digital crimes theyre investigating.
Trademark and service mark monitoring: If youre running a trademark protection service that includes monitoring, dealing with this specific type of cyber crime will be much easier. Detecting issues in one of your protected brands and having the ability to investigate the involved domains gives you total freedom to stop any kind of abuseincluding cybersquatting.
A Brief History Of Whois Information
The origin of the WHOIS database takes us back to 1980, during the time of the famous ARPANET.
Back then, WHOIS service wasnt at all as modern as it is today, consisting only of an ARPANET users directory to catalog who was connected to the network. This directory only included the contact information of users using ARPANET.
The official WHOIS requirements were documented in RFC 920 and required both technical and administrative information, as shown below:
At that time, if you wanted to perform a WHOIS lookup, you would query the central WHOIS database.
Then in 1993, InterNIC was founded by AT& T, Network Solutions Inc. and General Atomics. By default a major security flaw was allowed by some WHOIS servers while permitting users to perform WHOIS wildcard searches. Today, that security flaw is something we call domain enumeration or reverse domain lookup.
WHOIS searches of that type are no longer permitted. If you want to find domain names owned by an individual person or company you must use services like the one we developed here at SecurityTrails, or cross data between WHOIS records while keeping an eye on the ones that share an email address.
In 1999, TLD management was assigned to ICANN, and the old WHOIS clients stopped working as the protocol was renewed and new web-based WHOIS lookups surfaced, thanks to an emerging technology called CGI.
Unlike in the 80s, now everybody can register a domain name, even multiple ones, or become a domain registrar if desired.
How Do You View Domain Whois History
I know its possible to view the current whois information on a domain by doing:
- whois example.com
However this is not what I need, I need to view the history of WHOIS for previous owners and other information.
- Can you view WHOIS history? if so, how?
Domain Tools offer a whois history service and their records go back to the year 2000. I’ve never found another working whois history service , and I’ve spent a while looking.
I’d suggest looking at the Wayback Machine. It stores old copies of many websites and if the domain you’re interested in was archived there may be a contact page or headers telling you who owned or developed the site during a particular period.
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Webarchiveorg Time Machine For Each Website
Do you want to check the past contents of the site you are going to buy and see graphic images in different time periods? To do this, you should use the service mentioned above, which stores snapshots of almost any resource .
The principle of the analyzer is to save a copy of the site during indexing. In this case, the story includes pictures, text, styles, pages this is a full-fledged archive of text and HTML information.
The action algorithm is extremely simple:
Web-archive allows you to check the age of the domain name, as well as to assess how close its subject matters to you. Based on the data obtained from the Web-archive, you can easily find out if you should purchase it or not.
Attention! Web-archive made copies of all more or less popular sites from the end of the XX century. However, scarcely visited domains might not have been considered.
Also you can use other alternatives.Who.is, DomainIQ, ICANN and other similar services offer several tools to understand any domain names history and health. Some of the tools are behind a paywall, but it might be worth registering before spending money on an expensive domain name.
How Can I Perform A Domain Owner History Lookup
While the traditional WHOIS/RDAP lookup doesnt officially let you go back in time to fetch domain ownership historical records, here at SecurityTrails we offer two ways to detect those old WHOIS records easily.
On the other hand, when it comes to WHOIS History analysis, the Registration Data Access Protocol is expected to be the official WHOIS protocol replacement sometime in the near future. It was developed by the IETF , and helps users obtain current domain registration information, in the same way that the current WHOIS protocol does.
There are a few differences between the RDAP and WHOIS protocols, however. WHOIS uses text-based protocol, whereas RADP was built as a web-based HTTP REST protocol. RDAP uses JSON format for its HTTP/S replies, and supports HEAD and GET methods. And when it comes to supporting domain name ownership history, it seems theres something in the plans in the form of a draft, but nothing solid so far that can be used for historical WHOIS lookup.
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It Provides Detailed Information On All Of A Domains Past Owner
Users looking for a domain to use for their website are usually advised to get one that has been up for years. That is one way of lessening efforts to make it rank on search engine results pages , which is crucial if you want to compete against tons of businesses that offer similar products or services. Then again, theyd also be warned about abandoned domains since the previous owners may have left them due to violations.
The question then is: How do you know which of the domains youre looking at is safe to purchase? Thats where a WHOIS history lookup tool could come in handy. Run each domain youre interested in through the tool to find out every individual or company that has ever owned it. Once you have that list, check if any of them has had ties to malicious activity. You can do Google searches for registrant names, news sites and the authorities who publicize cybercriminals identities.
You can also check out publicly accessible blocklists such as PhishTank. Run the domain through it to see if it has ever figured in a phishing attack. If you want to make sure that it isnt infringing on any trademarked brand, you can run it through the World Intellectual Property Organization database. Alternatively, you may rely on such tools as Domain Reputation API or Threat Intelligence Platform for a variety of useful investigations in a handy and integrated manner.
How To Check Domain History Online
The internet has made it very possible to lookup the history behind any domain name so that you can know what part of the work you need to clean up if youre going for a domain name. There are some tools for checking the domain history and here I will share the best and easiest ways to check domain history.
So here, I will be showing you the steps to check domain history online before buying or registering any domain.
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Internet Archive Wayback Machine
Another tool that you can try for learning who owns a specific domain is through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. This nonprofit library stays true to its name by serving as an online time machine. It efficiently records the websites that have existed on the web.
What you will find even more useful is that it lets you see how older versions of websites looked in the past. For instance, you can view how Facebook looked like in 2010 using the tool. To use, go to archive.org and enter the URL you are curious about. Then, choose the specific year, date, and month to see how the website appeared at that time. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is 100% free.
Why Search For A Domain Owner
The most obvious reason to locate a domain owner is to try to purchase the domain, but that isnt the only one. If a site claims to be a legitimate one owned by a major corporation but appears suspicious, checking its ownership is a way to verify its authenticity. Likewise, if a website has no contact information on its homepage or a contact page, a visitor could track down its owners in order to contact them with questions about the sites products or servicesor to report a technical problem.
Another reason to check domain ownership information is to safeguard the security of your own site against incorrect or incomplete contact information. Looking up the domain ownership records on an existing site allows owners to ensure that their information is correct and that nothing has been changed without permission. Searches for domain ownership can be accomplished through public WHOIS databases, website searches, and even email, depending on the reasons for conducting the search.
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How To Find Out Who The Domain Owner Is
Youve spent time brainstorming domain names. Youve tried different domain suggestion tools. And youve finally figured out the perfect name.
But when you go to register the domain name youre set on, you find that someone has already claimed it. What a disappointment.
Before you give up on that perfect name and start the whole process again from scratch, know there might still be hope.
Registered domain names are sometimes still availableif you know how to find the owner.
People invest in domain names for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, its to start their own website at that domain. Sometimes its purely for investment purposes. And in a few cases, it may be for a website idea that either never comes to fruition, or that falls off the owners radar over time.
If the website youre interested in isnt being actively used and updated, then the owner may be happy to hear from an interested buyer. And even if the owner is clearly using the domain name right now, if youre willing to spend enough to make a sale worth it to them you may still have a chance.
In both cases, you should anticipate spending more for the domain name than if you went with something no one else owns yet. But if youre really set on that domain name, its worth trying your chances.
It Can Point You To A Privately Registered Domains Current Owner
As weve said, if youre not from any law enforcement agency but need to get an idea on whos behind a domain without any red tape, you can get clues using a domain history lookup tool. How?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers did not require WHOIS detail redaction until May 2018. As such, older domains are likely to have publicly available registrant information. Granted, these may or may not be the current owners, but for corporate domains, especially if their owners have been operating for some time, that is unlikely.
That said, if youre a cybersecurity specialist who wants to contact the owner of a domain used in an attack against your organization, you may contact its last known registrant. If the domain changed hands, its former owner might be able to point you to its new registrant.
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Whois History Lets You Uncover A Domains Past To:
Investigators often face roadblocks when looking up a potentially malicious domain name, such as lack of registrant information. Sometimes, all they can do is block an erring domain and possible associations. But the same threat actors would just change domain names and strike again.
Cybercrime investigators can check WHOIS History to gather more insights on whos behind a malicious domain. Armed with past ownership details, investigators and law enforcers can build attacker profiles, bringing them one step closer to catching the perpetrators.
Third-party and vendor risk management is crucial to organizations. Its essential to find out everything you can about a potential partner, vendor, or customer before allowing them access to your network.
Historical WHOIS can reveal important details about these third parties, such as associations with suspicious characters and organizations. Relevant registration dates allow users to double-check their qualifications as well.
An organizations domain carries its brand and is thus crucial to its success. Obtaining a domain that has been associated with ill-reputed websites and activities can undermine current marketing and search engine optimization efforts.
Check WHOIS History to unearth the records of a domain name. Past associations with malicious activities can land a domain on a blocklist, which can negatively affect a companys SEO ranking and email deliverability.
Find Out All There Is To Know About A Customer Partner Or Competitor
- Lessen third-party risks by investigating potential customers or partners domains. They may reveal hidden details that can affect your business.
- Never allow third-party vendor access to your network without investigating them first. Perform WHOIS history lookups on their domains to gauge if theyre trustworthy.
- Discover as much as you can about your competitors to know what youre up against. Their domains history can tell you all about them.
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How Search Engines View A Domain
Your goal is to study the visibility of the domain in popular search engines .
It is better to check the history of the domain in two stages:
First, search for a domain like this: site:example.comThis will show you all of the pages on the domain name that are indexed on Google.
Next, search for the domain name in quotes like this: Example.comThis will pull up references to the domain name, potentially including news stories about the website that used to be on the domain name.
Many SEOs think that is extremely important to study the position of the domain. They say that high performance increases the likelihood of successful websites promotion in the future. Pay attention to all search traffic, top queries and their fall.
SEOs recommends to use multi-functional SEO tools like SEMRUSH, Majestic, Afrefs.
SEOs also recommend to study the reference profile.
SEOs think that site with spam or dubious links is not the best purchase for those who crave rapid development and growth.
SEOs recommend to consider:
- the number of pages linking to the site
- spam in the anchor list
- lack of questionable resources
- the quality of websites with backlinks .
F5 Studios SEOs recommend: Dont waste your time on useless tools and unhelpful actions. Google might reset all the good things, all the past links, and such when the domain name is sold.