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Conference Papers Year : 2024

WHOIS Right? An Analysis of WHOIS and RDAP Consistency

Abstract

Public registration information on domain names, such as the accredited registrar, the domain name expiration date, or the abuse contact is crucial for many security tasks, from automated abuse notifications to botnet or phishing detection and classification systems. Various domain registration data is usually accessible through the WHOIS or RDAP protocols—a priori they provide the same data but use distinct formats and communication protocols. While WHOIS aims to provide human-readable data, RDAP uses a machine-readable format. Therefore, deciding which protocol to use is generally considered a straightforward technical choice, depending on the use case and the required automation and security level. In this paper, we examine the core assumption that WHOIS and RDAP offer the same data and that users can query them interchangeably. By collecting, processing, and comparing 164 million WHOIS and RDAP records for a sample of 55 million domain names, we reveal that while the data obtained through WHOIS and RDAP is generally consistent, 7.6% of the observed domains still present inconsistent data on important fields like IANA ID, creation date, or nameservers. Such variances should receive careful consideration from security stakeholders reliant on the accuracy of these fields.
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hal-04593323 , version 1 (03-06-2024)

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Simon Fernandez, Olivier Hureau, Andrzej Duda, Maciej Korczynski. WHOIS Right? An Analysis of WHOIS and RDAP Consistency. International Conference on Passive and Active Network Measurement, Mar 2024, Virtual Event, United States. pp.206-231, ⟨10.1007/978-3-031-56249-5_9⟩. ⟨hal-04593323⟩
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