ICANN is the acronym for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a non-profit organization that is responsible for ensuring the stability, integrity, and secure operation of the Internet.
The first step to buying a domain name is to look for a registrar that is accredited by ICANN. Once you buy the domain name, the registrar will be required by the laws and provisions governing ICANN to enter your personal information into its WHOIS database.
The WHOIS database is a directory that is highly searchable. It can be accessed free-of-charge by any person who wants to verify the authenticity and availability of a domain name.
What personal information will be uploaded?
- Your complete name
- Email address
- Business address
- Contact numbers
If you are the type of person who does not want to give out these types of personal information to public listings, you should register your domain as private.
By choosing private domain registration for your domain name, your personal information in the WHOIS database will be replaced by those of the registrar’s own information.
In fact, some domain name registrars can even come up with a unique email address that will be listed as your contact email address on the WHOIS database. This way, your company or personal email address will remain secure from individuals who have malicious intent.
3 Reasons Why You Should Register Your Domain As Private
Despite the potential risks to personal information, there are businesses that opt for business registration.
To clarify, business registration means having your personal information listed openly in the ICANN WHOIS database. They want to have their business data publicly accessible for the following reasons:
- Promote their business
- Create impressions of trust and transparency
- Enhance the online presence of the business
We understand the importance of promotion and the value of establishing trust and transparency with the market. However, there are other ways – much safer and lower risk ways – of promoting the business.
That is why at Mountaintop, we always recommend that our clients register their domain name as private.
Is private domain registration an add-on service? Yes, which means opting for it will entail a fee that is separate from the usual cost of registering a domain name. Think of the fee as your insurance premium for keeping your personal information safe from hackers, online criminals, and other unsavory groups on the Internet.
Here are other reasons why you should register your domain as private:
1. Personal Information Should Be Kept “FYEO”
If your personal information is made public, it is not just the hackers you should worry about. Your information can be used by marketers, suppliers, and competitors to serve their own purposes.
You might find yourself inundated with phone calls from telemarketers. Your inbox could be flooded with product or service offerings from vendors and suppliers. With your key information out, you may leave your business vulnerable to cutthroat strategies from your competitors.
For example, an aggressive but unscrupulous competitor may contract the services of a cyber-criminal to run phishing expeditions on your email. A competitor may try to get spies to procure sensitive information from you via phone.
We will discuss the importance of keeping your email secure toward the end of the article. You may be surprised at the extent of damage you can incur by having your email compromised.
In business, it is always a good practice to keep your sensitive or confidential data as FYEO or For Your Eyes Only. Information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and business address should be given judiciously.
You want to give these types of information only to entities that can directly contribute to the growth of your business such as:
- Stakeholders – or those who are part of your value chain. This shortlist includes qualified suppliers/ vendors, current and prospective clients, management and select personnel, and business partners.
- Strategic Partners – Strategic Partners are entities – companies or individuals – where formal arrangements are entered into for the benefit of your business. An example would be an outsourcing agreement between you and an outsourcing service provider.
As we mentioned, you can promote your business without having to disclose personal information. A good example would be to run a Digital Marketing campaign.
A Digital Marketing strategy that incorporates processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC or Pay-Per-Click Advertising can successfully increase awareness and enhance the Internet profile of your business without revealing your personal information.
2. Number of Cyber-Attacks Will Continue to Increase
In our article, “Why Is It More Important To Secure Your Data In 2019”, we shared our opinion that acts of cyber-criminality will continue to increase over the next few years.
Cyber-crime has become a lucrative industry. Highly sensitive data such as Social Security and bank account numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, email addresses, and phone numbers can fetch a good price on the dark web.
All a cyber-criminal needs is a small opening. Once he gets access, your confidential data becomes at risk. Unlike a brick-and-mortar business where access points are doors and windows, the Internet provides multiple points of entry:
- Outdated plugins
- Outdated or unused software
- Obsolete antivirus programs and firewalls
- Weak passwords
- Lax administrative processes
- Opening suspicious emails
- Accessing suspicious websites
Driven by profit, these cyber-criminals are motivated to stay ahead of the cyber-security experts. In fact, agencies such as the CIA and the FBI are fighting fire-with-fire by hiring hackers to come up with more powerful anti-malware tools and programs.
It is a good idea to err on the side of caution and invest in programs that will protect your personal data.
Last year, we launched our Extreme WordPress Care Plans. These programs are designed to help our clients manage their websites, make sure they are running in perfect condition, and protected from malicious attacks.
As an entrepreneur, your time is best dedicated to the core functions of your business. Leave domain security to us! You can sleep well knowing that your website is under close guard and watch 24/7.
3. Secure Your Email
If there is a singular way or process that best represents our online activity, it would be the email.
Think about it.
We check our emails more than we check our social media accounts. We use our email to sign up for newsletters or gain access to some websites. Whenever you run online banking transactions, chances are your email address is needed to verify your identity.
Online shopping, social media… the list goes on. Your email is the key that allows you to gain entry into these platforms. If someone grabs ahold of your email address, these platforms can be compromised.
Can you imagine what would happen if someone gained access to your webmail? He could easily search and find every website you frequent including your online banking platform. All the hacker needs to do is to request the website for a password reset.
The hacker can also view your Inbox and sent messages. With that information, the hacker can establish your weekly calendar of activities and determine your whereabouts.
The hacker can find out your schedule of online conference calls with clients and eavesdrop on the discussion. If you save work on Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, your documents can be stolen by the hacker.
We bring these scenarios up with clients whenever we discuss the importance of registering their domain as private.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, be judicious when it comes to giving out personal information such as email. On the Internet, you do not know who is searching and watching. Whenever you are venturing into the Internet, always think “safety first”.
As popular and as accessible as the Internet is, it remains The Great Unknown. Keep your assets secure and protected by adding layers of security at every opportunity. Start by registering your domain as private.
Have you experienced any breach in security? Please feel free to share in the comments section. Let our readers know how you dealt with the situation and what you learned from the experience.
If you want to know more about our web design services and our Extreme WordPress Care Plans, please feel free to give us a call or an email.