You have 0 free articles left this month.
Register for a free account to access unlimited free content.
accountants daily logo

Delay open season on ‘.au’ domains: COSBOA


Too many small businesses remain unaware that their websites could be prone to cyber squatters.

By Keeli Cambourne 12 minute read

COSBOA has joined the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in expressing concern over the rushed introduction of “.au” domain names and has called for the deadline to be pushed back.

The .au Domain administrator (auDA) should extend priority registration for owners of, and equivalents for an additional 12 months, chief executive Alexi Boyd said.

Since March, small businesses and individuals have been able to register domain names ending directly in .au, which allows a website URL to read instead of


The auDA provided just six months for the owners of,, domain names to have priority registration of their .au equivalents so if small businesses fail to act before 21 September, their .au name will be available for anyone to register.

COSBOA CEO Ms Boyd said too few people were aware of the change, exposing them to risks of cyber crime – an issue already highlighted by ASBFEO, the Australian Cyber Security Centre and by both CA ANZ and IPA.

“We are concerned that if priority registration isn’t extended, cyber criminals could purchase .au domain names and create ‘shell sites’ or ‘ghost sites’ impersonating legitimate businesses, potentially using online booking forms to gather information and/or money from the business’s clients,” Ms Boyd said.

“Another concern is that nefarious individuals could purchase the .au direct equivalent of small business’s website and hold it hostage until a ransom is paid.”

Ms Boyd said having a website was a basic requirement for running a successful small business, and domain names were valuable assets and important intellectual property.

“We urge everyone who owns a website to protect their brands by applying for priority registration of the .au direct equivalent of their domain name as soon as possible via auDA’s website,” she said.

“We recognise the difficulty of getting the message out to tired small business owners who have been overwhelmed with new information these past few years.

“COSBOA has a good relationship with auDA and we will continue to work with them to spread the message about .au direct.”

Earlier this year the ACSC warned that the change would present opportunities for cyber criminals to register a business’ .au domain name in an attempt to impersonate it and scam its customers.

The auDA has outlined how it would resolve contested names between two different entities but has yet to clarify how it would resolve a business losing its web address to a scammer.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!
You are not authorised to post comments.

Comments will undergo moderation before they get published.

accountants daily logo Newsletter

Receive breaking news directly to your inbox each day.