Story image

Where in the world are malicious domains hosted?

30 Mar 2016

Most of the world’s malicious domains are hosted in the United States and Germany, according to new research from Infoblox.

The Infoblox DNS Threat Index, which measures the creation of malicious Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure, found that 92% of newly observed malicious domains in the fourth quarter of 2015 were hosted in either the United States or Germany.   According to the index, the number of malicious domains is increasing from quarter to quarter and year to year.

After dipping in Q3 2015, the Infoblox DNS Threat Index in Q4 2015 increased to 128—near the record high of 133 established in Q2 2015. This is a rise of 49% from Q4 2014, and an increase of five percent from the previous quarter.

The results break with previous cycles where record high threat levels (indicating the “planting” of malicious new infrastructure) were followed by several quarters of relative quiet as cybercriminals used that infrastructure to harvest data and harm victims.

This also means the threat index for all of 2015 has been well above its historical average, meaning that organisations of all sizes and types continue to face unrelenting attacks, Infoblox explains.

“Our findings may indicate we’re entering a new phase of sustained and simultaneous plant/harvest activity,” says Rod Rasmussen, vice president of cybersecurity at Infoblox.

“As we see this escalation of efforts by cybercriminals, it is essential we go after the infrastructure that cybercriminals are using to host these domains,” he says.

“So, for the first time, we are using the index to highlight the countries with the most hosting locations for bad domains.”

The Infoblox DNS Threat Index tracks the creation of malicious DNS infrastructure, through both registration of new domains and hijacking of previously legitimate domains or hosts. The baseline for the index is 100, which is the average for creation of DNS-based threat infrastructure during the eight quarters of 2013 and 2014.

DNS is the address book of the internet, translating domain names such as <>  into machine-readable Internet Protocol (IP) addresses such as Because DNS is required for almost all Internet connections, cybercriminals are constantly creating new domains and subdomains to unleash a variety of threats including exploit kits, phishing, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Infoblox found that the clear country of choice for hosting and launching attacks using malicious DNS infrastructure in Q4 2015 was the United States, which accounted for 72% of newly observed malicious domains.

Germany (20%) was the only other country to account for more than 2% of the observed malicious sites.

While much cybercrime originates from hotspots in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa, this analysis shows the underlying infrastructure used to launch the attacks themselves sits elsewhere - in the backyard of the world’s top economies. 

Lars Harvey, vice president of security strategy at Infoblox, says it is important to note that the geographical information is not an indication of “where the bad guys are,” since exploit kits and other malware can be developed in one country, sold in another, and used in a third to launch attacks through systems hosted in a fourth.

But it does suggest which countries tend to have either lax regulations or policing, or both, he says.

“It would be a silver lining if U.S. hosting providers were quick to take down malicious content at dangerous domains once they’re identified, but they are not,” Harvey says.

“The fact of the matter is that many hosting providers can be slow to respond, allowing exploits to propagate for considerably longer than they should. This should be a key area of focus for improvement,” he explains.

Aerohive launches guide to cloud-managed network access control
NAC for Dummies teaches the key aspects of network access control within enterprise IT networks and how you can secure all devices on the network.
Sungard AS named DRaaS leader by Forrester
It was noted for its disaster-recovery-as-a-service solution’s ability to “serve client needs at all stages of their need for business continuity.”
Gartner: The five priorities of privacy executives
The priorities highlight the need for strategic approaches to engage with shifting regulatory, technology, customer and third-party risk trends.
emt Distribution adds risk intelligence vendor
Flashpoint has signed emt Distribution to provide channel partners in Oceania and South East Asia a solution for illicit threat actor communities.
CrowdStrike: Improving network security with cloud computing solutions
Australian spending on public cloud services is expected to reach $6.5 billion this year according to Gartner
Thycotic debunks top Privileged Access Management myths
Privileged Access encompasses access to computers, networks and network devices, software applications, digital documents and other digital assets.
Veeam reports double-digit Q1 growth
We are now focussed on an aggressive strategy to help businesses transition to cloud with Backup and Cloud Data Management solutions.
Paving the road to self-sovereign identity using blockchain
Internet users are often required to input personal information and highly-valuable data from contact numbers to email addresses to make use of the various platforms and services available online.