Coronavirus domain registration volume tracking virus spread

Today I found an interesting graph showing the volume of domain name registrations related to the Coronavirus over time. Not too surprisingly it tracks the spread of the virus itself. Here’s the graph:

Coronavirus domain registrations
(Image Source – KrebsonSecurity.com)

What is particularly interesting about this graph is the volume of low vs. high risk domains. How as that determined? Well some of this data is coming from a wide range of companies, one of which I’ve been a fan of for years – DomainTools.

“Since March 20th, the number of risky domains registered per day has been decreasing, with a notable spike around March 30th,” wrote John Conwell, principal data scientist at DomainTools [an advertiser on this site]. “Interestingly, legitimate organizations creating domains in response to the COVID-19 crisis were several weeks behind the curve from threat actors trying to take advantage of this situation. This is a pattern DomainTools hasn’t seen before in other crises.”

(Source – KrebsonSecurity.com)

Some interesting data that DomainTools shared here is that legitimate domain registrations lagged high-risk or scammy domain registrations which actually is not what I would have expected. What this also means is that once real organizations that wanted to put domains to good use figured out it was time to do it, a lot of the inventory had been taken by bad actors.

Now getting into the data-side of things this made me think, I wonder if you could track trends by looking at the volume of domain registrations and comparing it to some baseline. While there’s big trends that we all know about because they’re front-and-center in the news, there are smaller trends that go undetected that probably would surface when looking at domain name data correlated with a few other variables.

As for how this data could then be used, well there’s a lot of different places it would likely be relevant from sales and marketing to investing and risk assessment. It makes you think, is there some data in domains themselves that could be used to predict broader trends?

Well, I don’t have time to focus on it but it was interesting to see how domain registration volume has tracked the Coronavirus and for any data scientists reading this, there could be some interesting data mining to be done in the future using domain names.

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