Help protect younger children from sexual abuse.
Every 2 minutes our analysts in Cambridge remove a photo online of a child suffering sexual abuse.
As one of the world’s leading organisations fighting online child sexual abuse we rely on the generous support of members of the public, charitable giving bodies and the business community. Your support will help us continue and increase our vital work helping these victims.
“Top-level domain hopping” is when a site (e.g., ‘badsite.ru’) keeps its second-level domain name (‘badsite’) but changes its top-level domain (‘.ru’), in essence, creating a new website typically with different hosting details but retaining the sites identifiable ‘name brand’. From ‘badsite.ru’, multiple additional sites ‘badsite.ga’, ‘badsite.ml’ or ‘badsite.tk’ could be created. This allows instances of a website to persist online after the original has been taken down while keeping the website recognisable and easy to find by followers of the site.
Please note that no TLD instances from previous years were counted in this analysis, meaning that to be included in the statistics, the sites had to exist on a minimum of two different TLDs in 2022.
We first work with partners to ensure that the site is removed from the internet. Every subsequent hop, however, then requires a new action by our analysts to re-enforce the previous take down(s) by actioning the site again on the new TLD.
When tracking the hosting country, we noted that some sites often changed TLD but remained hosted in the original host country; other sites showed a preference to change hosting country after each TLD domain change, sometimes returning to the originally identified hosting country after a period of hosting elsewhere under a different TLD.
Domains are allocated and managed by internet registries and registrars. Our ongoing work in this area will enable us to identify domains exploiting the legitimate TLD marketplace. We continue to work with Members to not only identify and remove criminal sites but offer new preventative measures to guard against domains hopping to unsuspecting TLDs.
We hope to involve more registrars and registries in the fight against this exploitative practice in 2023, and to this end we have started a service for Members which provides an active ‘Watch list’ of second level domain strings which can be used to pre-warn registries and registrars of domains that have a proven history of domain hopping exclusively in the sale and or distribution of child sexual abuse material. The new list service is live and available to Members wishing to access this new important data set.