Cabinet to change domain names for government sites over cybercrime concerns
The Dutch government will change the domain names for hundreds of their websites to better protect citizens from cybercrime, a spokesperson for outgoing State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations and Digitization confirmed to NRC. Van Huffelen hopes to announce the new domain name before the end of the year.
Government websites like DigiD, DUO, and Rijksoverheid currently end in .nl, like thousands of other Dutch websites. That makes them vulnerable to spoofing for phishing - cybercriminals create a site that looks just like the government site, leaving out one letter - rijkoverheid.nl, for example.
Government sites are popular targets because citizens often have to enter sensitive data there. The Tax Authority registered over 160,000 reports of counterfeit and phishing websites in 2020, for example.
The government hopes that a special, uniform domain name - possibly overheid.nl or gov.nl - will make distinguishing government websites from fake ones easier. In addition, the new domain names can only be claimed by government agencies, Van Huffelen’s spokesperson said.
The Ministry is currently working out the details about the precise domain names.