The Internet Suffix Of The "Evil Empire" Is Alive And Well

More than 120,000 sites are operating in the .su domain space assigned to the former Soviet Union, and a significant number of them are up to no good. Getting rid of the suffix would be "a messy operation."

What's the Latest Development?


First assigned to the Soviet Union a year before its 1991 dissolution, the Internet suffix .su has now become home to what Group-IB's Andrei Komarov believes is "more than half the cybercriminals in Russia." The number of malicious sites in the domain space doubled in both 2011 and 2012, according to the group, one of Russia's official Internet watchdog organizations. Some of the sites help control botnets that send spam, steal from bank accounts, and hold computers' hard drives hostage. In other domain spaces, these sites are usually eliminated quickly, but in this one they can operate for weeks or months at a time.

What's the Big Idea?

Unfortunately, the fix is not as simple as eliminating the space entirely. Among the 120,000 or more sites in residence are a fair number of legitimate ones, for which erasing .su would be akin to "blocking .com or .org," says Komarov. Even the organization that is responsible for the .su domain space, Moscow-based Foundation for Internet Development, acknowledges that they have a problem, but director Sergei Ovcharenko says that by this summer a new stricter policy about terms of use will be in place.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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