Exposing a Rogue Domain Portfolio of Fake News Sites - An Analysis | WhoisXML API

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Exposing a Rogue Domain Portfolio of Fake News Sites - An Analysis

We've recently came across to a third-party research indicating a pretty interesting and important Iran-based foreign influence and disinformation campaign. So, we've decided to take a deeper look by using Maltego and WhoisXML API so as to offer additional insights into the disinformation campaign in terms of its online infrastructure.

In this analysis, we'll use public campaign sources for the sample data and will offer an in-depth peek inside its online infrastructure by using Maltego and WhoisXML API’s vast real-time and historical WHOIS database as well as specifying additional IoCs (Indicators of Compromise) for the purpose of assisting researchers and vendors on their way to stay on top of this campaign.

Sample Maltego graph of Historical WHOIS records for the email addresses used in this campaign

Sample Maltego graph of Historical WHOIS records for the email addresses used in this campaign

Sample Maltego graph of Historical WHOIS records for the email addresses used in this campaign

Sample Maltego graph of Historical WHOIS records for the email addresses used in this campaign

Sample domain WHOIS records with a registrant email known to have participated in the campaign including additional related domains known to have participated in the campaign

Sample domain WHOIS records with a registrant email known to have participated in the campaign including additional related domains known to have participated in the campaign

Original Set of Fake News Web Sites that we used in the following case study:

  • addustuor[.]com
  • al-jazirah[.]org
  • al-shargh[.]com
  • al-watan[.]co
  • alarabyia[.]org
  • alettehad[.]net
  • aliraq-news[.]com
  • aljlazeera[.]com
  • alryiadh[.]com
  • alwatannewspaper[.]net
  • bbc-arabic[.]com
  • belfercenter[.]net
  • bloomberq[.]com
  • braekingisraelnews[.]com
  • breakingisraelnews[.]net
  • brusslestimes[.]com
  • budapestbaecon[.]com
  • bundesergierung[.]de
  • com-news-world[.]site
  • com-users[.]info
  • dawalhaq[.]com
  • daylisabah[.]com
  • democraticcoalition[.]net
  • elwataannews[.]com
  • emaratallyoum[.]com
  • emaratalyuom[.]com
  • foreignpoilcy[.]com
  • foriegnpolicy[.]net
  • haaaretz[.]com
  • indepnedent[.]co
  • israelhayom[.]net
  • israellinarabic[.]com
  • israelnationalnews[.]co
  • israelnationalnews[.]net
  • jerusaleimonline[.]com
  • lesoir[.]info
  • mesralarabiya[.]com
  • mintpressnevvs[.]com
  • nationalepost[.]com
  • policito[.]com
  • sharjah24[.]co
  • shoruknews[.]com
  • speigel[.]net
  • thaguardian[.]com
  • theatlatnic[.]com
  • theglobeandmail[.]org
  • theguaradian[.]com
  • theheraldscotland[.]com
  • thejerusalempost[.]org
  • timesoffisrael[.]com
  • timesofisraeil[.]com
  • waradena[.]com
  • washnigtonexaminer[.]com
  • xn--aljaeera-4t0d[.]net
  • xn--alnaaregypt-cm8e[.]com
  • xn--arab21-6va[.]com
  • xn--c-wpma[.]com
  • xn--emaraalyoum-1b9e[.]com
  • xn--etik-k54a[.]com
  • xn--frace24-mkb[.]com
  • xn--haarez-m17b[.]com
  • xn--huffngtonpost-69b[.]com
  • xn--israelinarabi-ugb[.]com
  • xn--nationmaser-5b9e[.]com
  • xn--ndependent-77a[.]com
  • xn--plitico-d5b[.]com
  • xn--r-2rm[.]com
  • xn--sraelinarabic-29b[.]com
  • xn--telocal-xt3c[.]com
  • xn--theguardan-4ub[.]com
  • xn--theguardia-dq2e[.]com
  • Xn--wa-exs[.]com
Associated historical WHOIS registrant email addresses which we obtained by using WhoisXML API include

Associated historical WHOIS registrant email addresses which we obtained by using WhoisXML API include:

Responding IPs for the original fake news domains used in this analysis

Responding IPs for the original fake news domains used in this analysis:

  • 192[.]0[.]78[.]131
  • 192[.]0[.]78[.]25
  • 192[.]0[.]78[.]24
  • 104[.]28[.]11[.]231
  • 104[.]28[.]10[.]231
  • 34[.]253[.]74[.]38
  • 204[.]74[.]99[.]103
  • 184[.]168[.]221[.]39
  • 192[.]184[.]12[.]62
  • 103[.]224[.]182[.]231
  • 122[.]10[.]109[.]175
  • 15[.]164[.]83[.]206
  • 127[.]0[.]0[.]1
  • 104[.]149[.]84[.]10
  • 68[.]65[.]122[.]53
  • 104[.]18[.]44[.]114
  • 162[.]0[.]209[.]133
  • 104[.]18[.]45[.]114
  • 198[.]54[.]116[.]249
  • 162[.]0[.]232[.]29
  • 198[.]54[.]114[.]158
  • 198[.]54[.]114[.]236
  • 198[.]54[.]116[.]189
  • 198[.]54[.]114[.]178
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]116
  • 5[.]79[.]68[.]103
  • 5[.]79[.]68[.]102
  • 91[.]195[.]240[.]117
  • 35[.]170[.]15[.]192
  • 103[.]224[.]182[.]244
  • 54[.]173[.]170[.]123
  • 95[.]211[.]75[.]26
  • 103[.]224[.]212[.]220
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]124
  • 18[.]214[.]196[.]255
  • 199[.]115[.]116[.]162
  • 54[.]89[.]39[.]4
  • 3[.]224[.]251[.]2
  • 34[.]198[.]220[.]199
  • 52[.]44[.]210[.]121
  • 54[.]157[.]54[.]26
  • 52[.]5[.]159[.]58
  • 165[.]160[.]13[.]20
  • 165[.]160[.]15[.]20
  • 200[.]74[.]241[.]181
  • 141[.]8[.]225[.]237
  • 66[.]96[.]162[.]135
  • 209[.]99[.]64[.]53
  • 192[.]64[.]119[.]138
  • 209[.]99[.]64[.]52
  • 96[.]126[.]123[.]244
  • 45[.]79[.]19[.]196
  • 18[.]210[.]84[.]46
  • 54[.]164[.]166[.]196
  • 100[.]25[.]88[.]74
  • 45[.]56[.]79[.]23
  • 45[.]33[.]23[.]183
  • 45[.]33[.]2[.]79
  • 198[.]58[.]118[.]167
  • 107[.]20[.]93[.]104
  • 3[.]81[.]194[.]60
  • 3[.]212[.]56[.]10
  • 198[.]54[.]117[.]200
  • 198[.]54[.]117[.]198
  • 198[.]54[.]117[.]199
  • 198[.]54[.]117[.]197
  • 181[.]214[.]86[.]147
  • 198[.]54[.]114[.]232
  • 66[.]96[.]147[.]102
  • 200[.]63[.]47[.]3
  • 184[.]168[.]131[.]241
  • 89[.]35[.]39[.]67
  • 89[.]35[.]39[.]50
  • 209[.]222[.]14[.]3
  • 89[.]35[.]39[.]65
  • 66[.]96[.]147[.]105
  • 46[.]166[.]182[.]63
  • 109[.]201[.]135[.]71
  • 96[.]47[.]230[.]68
  • 108[.]61[.]19[.]12
  • 66[.]96[.]147[.]118
  • 27[.]255[.]77[.]73
  • 91[.]195[.]240[.]89
  • 109[.]201[.]135[.]44
  • 108[.]61[.]19[.]11
  • 198[.]187[.]29[.]30
  • 108[.]61[.]19[.]14
  • 109[.]201[.]135[.]65
  • 109[.]201[.]135[.]46
  • 46[.]166[.]182[.]62
  • 199[.]188[.]200[.]137
  • 185[.]148[.]144[.]161
  • 84[.]200[.]110[.]123
  • 176[.]9[.]12[.]95
  • 104[.]27[.]145[.]234
  • 104[.]27[.]144[.]234
  • 3[.]82[.]255[.]185
  • 54[.]84[.]152[.]54
  • 52[.]70[.]228[.]152
  • 34[.]199[.]133[.]187
  • 104[.]24[.]110[.]145
  • 104[.]24[.]111[.]145
  • 185[.]148[.]144[.]3
  • 34[.]201[.]78[.]188
  • 34[.]199[.]173[.]190
  • 35[.]169[.]84[.]63
  • 52[.]73[.]174[.]43
  • 213[.]247[.]47[.]190
  • 34[.]200[.]200[.]95
  • 3[.]94[.]104[.]205
  • 173[.]239[.]8[.]164
  • 173[.]239[.]5[.]6
  • 52[.]73[.]179[.]54
  • 52[.]22[.]89[.]169
  • 209[.]99[.]40[.]222
  • 23[.]20[.]239[.]12
  • 54[.]165[.]193[.]163
  • 52[.]86[.]122[.]241
  • 54[.]208[.]56[.]179
  • 209[.]99[.]40[.]223
  • 207[.]244[.]67[.]139
  • 37[.]48[.]65[.]151
  • 207[.]244[.]67[.]215
  • 37[.]48[.]65[.]150
  • 185[.]107[.]56[.]60
  • 185[.]107[.]56[.]59
  • 37[.]48[.]65[.]148
  • 162[.]210[.]195[.]122
  • 5[.]79[.]68[.]107
  • 5[.]79[.]68[.]110
  • 207[.]244[.]67[.]216
  • 207[.]244[.]67[.]214
  • 198[.]50[.]224[.]232
  • 141[.]8[.]224[.]169
  • 104[.]219[.]248[.]118
  • 52[.]0[.]217[.]44
  • 198[.]54[.]115[.]79
  • 66[.]96[.]147[.]106
  • 81[.]17[.]18[.]195
  • 162[.]210[.]196[.]173
  • 162[.]210[.]196[.]171
  • 81[.]17[.]18[.]197
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]123
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]125
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]122
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]117
  • 198[.]54[.]126[.]127
  • 94[.]229[.]72[.]119
  • 34[.]98[.]99[.]30
  • 37[.]48[.]65[.]145
  • 108[.]59[.]12[.]98
  • 5[.]79[.]79[.]212
  • 108[.]59[.]12[.]100
  • 5[.]79[.]79[.]210
  • 108[.]59[.]12[.]101
  • 108[.]59[.]12[.]99
  • 96[.]47[.]230[.]70
  • 5[.]79[.]79[.]209
  • 5[.]79[.]79[.]211
  • 199[.]115[.]115[.]118
  • 104[.]18[.]40[.]45
  • 104[.]18[.]41[.]45
  • 63[.]143[.]32[.]91
  • 81[.]17[.]18[.]194
  • 192[.]187[.]111[.]221
  • 67[.]225[.]208[.]62
  • 198[.]54[.]126[.]125
  • 81[.]17[.]18[.]196
  • 192[.]187[.]111[.]222
  • 192[.]187[.]111[.]220
  • 192[.]187[.]111[.]219
  • 104[.]24[.]109[.]98
  • 199[.]188[.]200[.]223
  • 198[.]54[.]126[.]126
  • 198[.]54[.]116[.]16
  • 107[.]161[.]23[.]204
  • 192[.]161[.]187[.]200
  • 209[.]141[.]38[.]71
  • 209[.]126[.]123[.]12
  • 72[.]52[.]179[.]174
  • 51[.]75[.]69[.]104
  • 78[.]41[.]204[.]26
  • 78[.]41[.]204[.]31
  • 78[.]41[.]204[.]39
  • 209[.]126[.]123[.]11
  • 78[.]41[.]204[.]34
  • 209[.]126[.]123[.]13
  • 69[.]43[.]161[.]175
  • 23[.]82[.]12[.]30
  • 104[.]27[.]143[.]8
  • 104[.]27[.]142[.]8
  • 63[.]143[.]32[.]89
  • 212[.]32[.]237[.]92
  • 23[.]82[.]12[.]31
  • 23[.]82[.]12[.]32
  • 23[.]82[.]12[.]29
  • 74[.]63[.]241[.]24
  • 192[.]0[.]78[.]245
Historical WHOIS domains known to have been registered by using the same email addresses

Historical WHOIS domains known to have been registered by using the same email addresses:

  • sedwickcms[.]com
  • fhantasy[.]com
  • paintedties[.]com
  • westernstateglass[.]com
  • shoppercritique[.]com
  • 16wmpo[.]com
  • solutions-manual[.]net
  • protecteur[.]net
  • duplincountyschools[.]net
  • pdfimg[.]net
  • bael[.]net
  • photomillz[.]net
  • rilenews[.]com
  • free-flash-game[.]net
  • getconquest[.]net
  • wk4u[.]net
  • hotel-laplantation-nosybe[.]com
  • filmsix[.]com
  • townjewelers[.]com
  • selvatv[.]com
  • relaxinnfortmyersfl[.]com
  • lifeasawave[.]net
  • antiguaseaviewrooms[.]com
  • icydiaapp[.]net
  • createandhelp[.]com
  • iptvdaily[.]net
  • wwcvshealthsurvey[.]com
  • imobfort[.]com
  • hibatub[.]com
  • xn--alnaaregypt-cm8e[.]com
  • xn--plitico-d5b[.]com
  • xn--emaraalyoum-1b9e[.]com
  • xn--telocal-xt3c[.]com
  • xn--ndependent-77a[.]com
  • xn--aljaeera-4t0d[.]net
  • brusslestimes[.]com
  • calvienklien[.]us
  • mfreestyle[.]us
  • paekdetrout[.]us
  • koleotfetyh[.]ml
  • tricexinspeedar[.]cf
  • tressiocoldolas[.]tk
  • kuncontriwordper[.]ga
  • chirola0000[.]tk
  • philippinesand[.]us
  • xn--r-2rm[.]com
  • kimukatsu[.]su
  • xn--arab21-6va[.]com
  • prostatkarenajarang[.]ml
  • xn--sraelinarabic-29b[.]com
  • miraculouslm[.]ml
  • usport[.]us
  • alarabiya[.]fm
  • washingtonideas[.]net
  • theatlanticcitie[.]com
  • atlantic-media[.]us
  • theatlanticwire[.]com
  • atlanticmonthly[.]com
  • theatlanticnetwork[.]net
  • theatlanticonline[.]net
  • thenextamerica[.]com
  • mineraltablets[.]com
  • deluxecheckprinter[.]com
  • internetbimbos[.]com
  • herbseasonings[.]com
  • theatlantic100[.]com
  • dowehaveapresidentyet[.]com
  • mendocino[.]us
  • thewire[.]com
  • scottishstew[.]com
  • theatlanticfestival[.]com
  • excutiveplanet[.]com

Related historical domains known to have been registered by using the same email addresses:

  • alarabiya[.]net
  • theglobeandmail[.]org
  • xn--mgbaj5b8dmn[.]com
  • foriegnpolicy[.]net
  • xn--mgbagc0a8a3f2c[.]net
  • xn-----4sdn0dyfpbc[.]net
  • nationalepost[.]com
  • usport[.]us
  • menaapc[.]net
  • xn--mgbaaid5a3bygqa0e[.]com
  • xn----ymcabfg8cm1dxeya7b8a[.]com
  • brusslestimes[.]com
  • xn----ymcabfg8cm1dxeya7b8a[.]net
  • xn--mgbaj5b8dmn[.]net
  • mbc-radio[.]com
  • xn--mgbaaid5a3bygqa0e[.]net
  • theatlantic[.]com
  • theatlatnic[.]com
  • atlanticmonthly[.]com
  • theatlanticnetwork[.]net
  • atlantic-media[.]us
  • theatlanticwire[.]com
  • theatlantic100[.]com
  • dowehaveapresidentyet[.]com
  • theatlanticonline[.]net
  • washingtonideas[.]net
  • amstrat-stage[.]com
  • theatlanticcitie[.]com
  • groupon[.]one
  • xn--ealto-prcf[.]com
  • xn--wied-6cc[.]com
  • xn--eutes-prce[.]com
  • tesols[.]net
  • tesols[.]org
  • xn--bloombeg-m0d[.]com
  • tesols[.]co
  • tesols[.]ca
  • tesols[.]me
  • confessing[.]net
  • nicedrug[.]com
  • relaxinnfortmyersfl[.]com
  • antiguaseaviewrooms[.]com
  • tesols[.]xyz
  • statefrmbank[.]com
  • duplincountyschools[.]net
  • bael[.]net
  • fatfreehost[.]com
  • q03[.]net
  • meage[.]com
  • vietnamjets[.]com
  • policereporting[.]com
  • 16wmpo[.]com
  • rilenews[.]com
  • free-flash-game[.]net
  • getconquest[.]net
  • photomillz[.]net
  • lifeasawave[.]net
  • xn--telocal-xt3c[.]com
  • icydiaapp[.]net
  • xn--ndependent-77a[.]com
  • wk4u[.]net
  • solutions-manual[.]net
  • protecteur[.]net
  • pdfimg[.]net
  • xn--plitico-d5b[.]com
  • speigel[.]net
  • shoruknews[.]com
  • aljlazeera[.]com
  • com-users[.]info
  • com-news-world[.]site
  • jerusaleimonline[.]com
  • thejerusalempost[.]org
  • israelnationalnews[.]co
  • xn--r-2rm[.]com
  • xn--arab21-6va[.]com
  • xn--sraelinarabic-29b[.]com
  • xn--wa-exs[.]com
  • xn--nationmaser-5b9e[.]com
  • al-jazirah[.]org
  • dawalhaq[.]com
  • wanboyule426[.]com
  • tittiebear[.]com
  • xn--theguardan-4ub[.]com
  • indepnedent[.]co
  • bucktoothbunny[.]com
  • erzemakina[.]com
  • tinchersribs[.]com
  • mintpressnevvs[.]com
  • tv-wire[.]com
  • wanboyule416[.]com
  • nicholas-brian[.]com
  • edf9994[.]com
  • al-shargh[.]com
  • jcfconsulting[.]com
  • daylisabah[.]com
  • addustuor[.]com
  • aliraq-news[.]com
  • wanboxs[.]com
  • waradena[.]com
  • hmmphotography[.]com
  • emaratallyoum[.]com
  • elwataannews[.]com
  • bloombergstock[.]com
  • bloomberg[.]pw
  • bloombergutv[.]live
  • japanbusinessweek[.]com
  • bloombergvn[.]com
  • xn--aljaeera-4t0d[.]net
  • bloomberg-com[.]com
  • bloombergtower[.]com
  • bloomberq[.]com
  • vrbloomberg[.]com
  • bloombergconsultancy[.]com
  • bloomberginteractive[.]com
  • xn--huffngtonpost-69b[.]com
  • alryiadh[.]com
  • sharjah24[.]co
  • bbc-arabic[.]com
  • timesoffisrael[.]com
  • policito[.]com
  • democraticcoalition[.]net
  • budapestbaecon[.]com
  • breakingisraelnews[.]net
  • israellinarabic[.]com
  • xn--theguardia-dq2e[.]com
  • xn--haarez-m17b[.]com
  • xn--frace24-mkb[.]com
  • mesralarabiya[.]com
  • alarabyia[.]org
  • xn--c-wpma[.]com
  • xn--alnaaregypt-cm8e[.]com
  • xn--emaraalyoum-1b9e[.]com
  • xn--israelinarabi-ugb[.]com
  • haaaretz[.]com
  • alettehad[.]net

We'll continue monitoring for similar foreign influence and disinformation campaigns using Maltego and WhoisXML API vast database of real-time and historical WHOIS records. We will also look for additional clues in terms of related domains and related typosquatting activity and will post updates as soon as new developments occur.

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