If you don't know when your church's or organization's Web domain expires, you might want to check — before pornographers do.
A Web filtering company, N2H2, says pornographers in Russia and Armenia grab domain names from nonprofits as they expire or move their sites to easier-to-remember addresses.
Expired sites for the Roman Catholic dioceses in Cleveland and Brooklyn have been hijacked, as well as those for the International Lutheran Woman's Missionary League and Home Education Magazine.
Carole Martin is the Web steward for the Brooklyn Diocese, whose domain was hijacked when it expired in 2001. "People often think, 'These guys won't want our domain name, so why bother?' " she says. "Well, they want any domain name they think people will have bookmarked. Diocesan sites, church sites and nonprofit organizations are prime targets for these porn groups."
Martin tells Web owners to mark expiration dates on their calendars. Check when your domain expires at http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp .
If you find your site was hijacked, a Christian Web developers group offers damage control suggestions at www.gnwda.org/alert.htm .
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