This Week In Security: .zip Domains, Zip Scanning

The world may not be ready, but the .zip Top Level Domain (TLD) is here. It’s a part of the generic TLD category, which was expanded to allow applications for custom TLDs. Google has led the charge, applying for 101 such new TLDs, with .zip being one of the interesting ones. Public registration for .zip domains has been open for a couple weeks, and some interesting domains have been registered, like,, and

The obvious question to ask is whether this new TLD can be abused for scamming and phishing purposes. And the answer is yes, sure it can. One of the trickiest ways is to use the AT symbol @ in a URL, which denotes user info at the beginning of the URL. It usually is used to include a username and password, like http://username:password@ That is pretty obvious, but what about Still looks weird. The catch that really prevents this technique being abused is that slashes are disallowed in user data, so a abusive URL like∕gmail∕ is right out.

Except, take a look at that last link. Looks like it has slashes in it, so it should take you to google, and ignore the AT symbol. But it doesn’t, it goes to Bing. You may have guessed, it’s Unicode shenanigans again. Those aren’t slashes, they’re U2215, the division slash. And that means that a .zip TLD could be really sneaky, if the apparent domain is one you trust. Continue reading “This Week In Security: .zip Domains, Zip Scanning”