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Naramata fire domain goes to porn

The Naramata Volunteer Fire Department is undertaking fire prevention of a different sort, after learning a former website URL now directs users to an adult website.

From December 2003 through December 2012, the department maintained its own web presence. It moved its website to myNaramata.com in 2012 and allowed the domain address, which it renewed annually, to expire.

"That's when the parasites stepped in," said Fire Chief Tony Trovao. "After we allowed the name to lapse, they stepped in and used it to redirect traffic to another website, this one with nothing to do with the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department."

This process is commonly known as domain drop catching or domain sniping. it is the practice of registering a domain name once registration has lapsed, usually immediately after expiry.

The practice is popular and lucrative enough that some service providers dedicate resources to identifying and securing lapsed domain for clients.

According to one web resource, although the experience may be frustrating, re-registering expired domain names is perfectly legal, and thousands of domain names are recycled in this manner each day.

Although the former fire rescue website was shuttered in 2012, the website was still linked to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen. That link has now been severed.

"This is not something a fire department, or a community of good people, for that matter, should have to deal with," said Mark Pendergraft, chair of the RDOS board. "The regional district  is working with Chief Trovao to clear this parasitical connection and protect the integrity and reputation of the department and community."

The RDOS previously recognized the potential of threat to ancillary websites. Staff within the office of the CAO began the process of periodically  reviewing the websites in early February. The former fire department website was not reviewed since it was defunct and staff had no knowledge of its existence.

Staff did not identify any similar issues with other reviewed websites.

 

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