Hundreds of European banks flock to cyber-safe .BANK domain name


More than 500 European banks and financial institutions have registered to apply for .BANK, the new, restricted domain name, as financial cybercrime becomes increasingly sophisticated.

CentralNic plc, the domain name group, reports that its figures show 550 European financial institutions have registered to obtain .BANK top level domains (TLDs) following the launch by US internet regulators in June 2015. These include official endorsers RBS and Santander, Spain’s BBVA, Rothschild and Nomura Europe. They now face a rigorous, 31-step application process focusing on enhanced security to create a trusted, verified location for online banking.

In recent years, the not-for-profit internet regulator ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has led a ‘reformation’ allowing companies to obtain their sector-specific Top-Level Domains (TLDs), as alternatives to .com, and other traditional endings. From this year, tightly restricted domains, such as .BANK and .INSURANCE, are able to accelerate the improvements in security that the wider restructuring of the internet has been working hard to achieve.

At a consumer level, this development will help prevent users being redirected to fake bank websites and will make it more difficult for criminals to create bogus emails from a .bank address.  It allows individuals an unprecedented level of confidence in digital banking.

In 2012 the American Bankers Association (ABA), Financial Services Roundtable and other industry bodies formed a new entity,  fTLD Registry Services, to operate .BANK “in the best interests of banks and their customers.”. In 2014, fTLD was granted the right to operate .BANK by ICANN.

Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic, a key .BANK partner in Europe, said:
“The internet, in its existing shape, is at the root of the problem. Restructuring the aspects that allow cybercrime in banking is a priority and tackling the domain element will significantly reduce the chances of online intellectual property theft. Now, quite simply, the only way to own a .bank address is to be a bank.”

The .BANK rush in Europe follows more than 4,000 registrations in the in the United States, with the first successful applications progressing to operational websites. Launches from Dollar Bank and Farmers Bank & Trust are at advanced stages.