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.Au Domain Names Have Arrived

Shorter .Au domain names are now available

From March 2022 a new domain name category has become available for Australian domain names, with the new, shorter .au name arriving. With the release of these shortened domain names, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) have recommended Australian businesses to register for their equivalent .au domain before the 20th September to avoid potential fraudulent activity by cyber criminals.

The new service, .au direct, provides a new Top Level Domain with the intent for sites to be easier to enter and display on mobiles devices, as well as bringing Australia into line with many other countries (for example .uk, .ca, .nz). From the 24th of March 2022, anyone with a current Australian domain name (e.g. .com.au, .net.au, .org.au) have until the 20th September 2022 to pre-register for their .au equivalent domain name. After that date the domain names will then become available for registration by the general public.

Unlike .com.au and .org.au domain names there is no criteria to determine who is eligible to register for an .au namespace, making them more susceptible to being registered by potential cyber criminals. One potential security issue with the new .au domain is that the domain holder can create .au emails, giving cybercriminals the opportunity to create duplicates of your email address using .au instead of .com.au.

Securing your domain name

To secure your .au domain name you will need to retrieve your priority token from https://priority.auda.org.au/ which will allow you to pre-register with an accredited auDa domain registrar.

The pre-registration period ensures that there is time for any contested domain names to be allocated through priority basis. If the domain name is contested priority allocation is firstly through priority categories:

  • Priority category 1 – domains registered on or before 4th Feb 2018.
  • Priority category 2 – domains registered after 4th Feb 2018 and before March 2022.

While it’s unlikely having a contested domain will be an issue, companies who share similar names, for example you own examplecompany.com.au and another company owns examplecompany.net.au, then the registry for examplecompany.au will be first determined through the priority allocation categories. However if both companies registering for the same domain name are in the same priority category then the domain will be allocated on a first come basis.

By securing your company’s domain name you are reducing the risk of your company being targeted by cybercriminals and helping to protect your customers from being the target of cyber based crime.

For more information on securing your .au domain name, visit:

Australian Cyber Security Centre

https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/news/be-ready-auda-domain-name-changes

.auDA

https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/help-tools-resources

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