published : 2023-09-08

Why Cybercriminals Are Exploiting '.US' Websites: Unraveling the Dark Side of American Digital Territory

Research Reveals Shocking Truth about the Safety of '.US' Domains on the Internet

A close-up shot of a person browsing the internet on a laptop, showcasing the '.US' domain on the screen. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Did you know that some countries have their own online real estate in the form of digital addresses or domain names? These addresses, like houses in a neighborhood, give us a sense of place and belonging in the vast online world.

While most internet users are familiar with popular domains like '.com,' '.org,' and '.net,' which serve as the main streets of our global digital city, there are quieter streets representing country-specific domains such as '.uk' for the UK, '.ca' for Canada, and '.au' for Australia.

In the United States, the '.US' domain is supposed to be the digital address for American online entities. However, recent research has exposed a dark truth about this domain that challenges its reputation as a safe virtual neighborhood.

Contrary to expectations, many '.US' domains are registered by foreign entities with no genuine connection to the United States. These cybercriminals exploit the domain to deceive and harm unsuspecting internet users through phishing, malware, and spam campaigns.

To truly comprehend the significance of this issue, let's delve into the basics of domain names. Every website has a domain name, which serves as its online address. While '.com' is universally recognized, country-specific domains like '.US' are meant to signify a website's affiliation to a specific country, often implying authenticity and trustworthiness.

An image of a person being cautious while entering personal information on a website with a '.US' domain. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

However, it turns out that the affiliation of a '.US' domain is no foolproof indicator of safety. Shockingly, out of six million phishing reports, 30,000 are directly linked to the '.US' domain. This is particularly alarming since the domain is expected to be regulated by the U.S. government.

An apt analogy for this situation is imagining a prestigious club with a strict guest list, but with a slightly ajar back door. The '.US' domain is indeed that back door, attracting scammers who exploit loopholes in the system to deceive users into believing they are legitimate U.S. entities.

In stark contrast, other countries like Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, and Finland have implemented stricter controls on their country domains, resulting in significantly fewer instances of phishing. These countries have prioritized user safety, leaving the '.US' domain somewhat in the shadows of their shining examples.

GoDaddy, the official registrar of the '.US' domain, has been criticized for inadequate verification processes and a lack of enforcement against phishing and other abuses. While GoDaddy claims to follow the '.US' nexus requirements, reports indicate that some scammers slip through the cracks, exploiting the domain for illicit purposes.

While the '.US' domain may have its dark corners, there are ways to navigate the online world safely. It is vital to remember that a country-specific domain does not guarantee trustworthiness. Scratching beneath the surface and questioning the credibility of any website, regardless of its domain, is essential in preventing online scams and attacks.

A person using a smartphone to check the validity of a '.US' domain before making a transaction. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

Have you ever encountered a negative experience with a '.US' domain or any other site associated with a different nation? Share your experiences with us at

In a world where cybercrime continues to pose a threat, staying informed and cautious is key. By subscribing to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter at, you can receive timely tech tips, security alerts, and easy how-to's that will empower you to navigate the online realm with confidence.

Remember, your digital safety is in your hands; it's time to be proactive in protecting yourself against the dark side of the internet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is accurate at the time of publication, but please be aware that cyber threats and regulations can evolve rapidly. Stay updated and remain vigilant in your online endeavors.