Should web browsers show domain name age?

Alerting users about newly registered domains could help with web security.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark granted patent number 11,240,257 (pdf) to security firm Lookout, Inc. today for Domain name and URL visual verification for increased security.

One of the methods the patent describes is identifying domain names that are relatively new and alerting web users about this. This makes a lot of sense; many phishing domains are registered, quickly put to use, and then cycled off as soon as security software flags them.

So it could be valuable to web users if there was some indication in their browser if a domain was, say, less than 30 days old. It would serve as a warning to further evaluate the domain name. If you’re logging in to what you think is your bank and the domain is newly registered, that’s very suspicious.

It might also be interesting to flag domains with a recent nameserver change. This could identify domains registered a while ago that are subsequently used for phishing or hijacked.

Of course, the Lookout patent covers some of this, and I’m not sure if they could argue the patent extends to browser displays.

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