The definition of domain hijacking is: "to gain (temporarily) control a domain" which could be either through:

  1. Stealing the legal and/or technical ownership of a domain (for example by transferring the domain to another registrar);
  2. Gaining control of the registered name servers and pointing the domain to another endpoint;

What are known domain hijacking methods?

For example to claim an expired administrative email address and request a domain transfer at the domain registrar. Or, to use phishing techniques.

I suppose the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) is somehow related to protection against this?

  • 3
    Sometimes people forget to keep their nameservers up-to-date and are able to register the nameserver and able to take over domains that way. thehackerblog.com/…
    – Ryan Kelso
    Mar 13, 2017 at 19:51
  • @RyanKelso what if the primary namesever is a valid registered domain and the secondary nameserver is a free domain to register. You won't be able to misuse this unless the first nameserver went offline, right?
    – Bob Ortiz
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:00
  • That is correct as far as my understanding, this attack for domain takeover is only possible if you're able to register the authoritative name server for the domain, as shown in an article by the same gentleman thehackerblog.com/… the primary name server for a .int domain fails, which makes the secondary authoritative, and the second one's domain & subdomain are unregistered, allowing for takeover.
    – Ryan Kelso
    Mar 14, 2017 at 18:39
  • FYI, hacking instructions are discouraged on this site. But interesting info about the name servers. The takeaway is to monitor your domain registrations, and lock them if your provider allows that.
    – SDsolar
    Mar 19, 2017 at 21:57
  • 1
    very interesting read about subdomain takeover - is exploited very often nowadays: labs.detectify.com/tag/hostile-subdomain-takeover Apr 13, 2017 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


Here are a few ways to hijack a domain.

  • Use DNS cache poisoning to redirect users to your server.
  • Register the domain the moment the registration gets expired (domain sniping).
  • You can of course just hack the server or the hosting provider if you find a vulnerability.

There are also indirect methods of hijacking a domain, such as:

  • Phishing with unicode characters that are similar to the original (scary stuff):


  • Typesquatting: register a domain one typo away from the actual domain.
  • Bitsquatting, where you register a domain with 1 bit difference of the actual domain. When non-error-correcting RAM flips a bit, users might end up on your page.

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