Domain names could become easier to hijack as a change in domain transfer rules takes effect Friday. Under new rules set by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), domain transfer requests will be automatically approved in five days unless they are explicitly denied by the account owner. This is a change from current procedure, in which a domain's ownership and nameservers remain unchanged if there is no response to a transfer request.
This could mean trouble for domain owners who don't closely manage their records. Domains with incorrect e-mail addresses and outdated administrative contact information are at particular risk, as the domain's WHOIS database information will be used to inform domain owners of transfer requests. A non-response becomes the equivalent of answering "yes" to a transfer request, according to the ICANN policy change.
"Failure by the Registrar of Record to respond within five (5) calendar days to a notification from the Registry regarding a transfer request will result in a default 'approval' of the transfer," the new rules state. "In the event that a Transfer Contact listed in the Whois has not confirmed their request to transfer with the Registrar of Record and the Registrar of Record has not explicitly denied the transfer request, the default action will be that the Registrar of Record must allow the transfer to proceed."