Search engine outfit Google has killed off 11 million .co.cc websites from its results pages.
Writing in the company bog, Oliver Fisher, Google Anti-Malware Team, said that most of the websites using that doman were far too “spammy”.
He said that over the past few months, Google’s systems have detected a number of bulk subdomain providers which were becoming targets of abuse by malware distributors.
Bulk subdomain providers register a domain name, like example.com, and then sell subdomains of this domain name, like subdomain.example.com.
The sorts of subdomains that Google is targeting in its sweep are often registered thousands at a time, so that they can be used to distribute malware and fake anti-virus products. Google’s malware scanners found over 50,000 malware domains from a single bulk provider.
Google sees the http://co.cc/ which offers the address as one such “freehost”, and decided to block the whole domain.
The blog said that this will protect users from phishing attacks. According to a recent report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the .cc top-level domain hosted 4,963 phishing attacks in the second half of 2010.
The .co.cc “registry” offers single sub-domains for free, and enables customers to bulk-register 15,000 addresses for $1000. As a result it claims to have 11,383,736 registered domains and 5,731,278 user accounts.
If these were all valued it would be one of the largest domain extensions in the world, bigger than both .org and .uk.