Have you ever visited a website and wondered where that site and its owner are located? Shopping places are particularly interesting, as most people want to know who the seller is and where the seller is located. Temporary browsers can also find websites that dump malicious software onto unsuspecting computers, plant malicious pop-ups, or phish for private information. Others might stumble upon websites that run conspiracy theories, hate rhetoric or violence, which they may want to avoid or reveal.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a service that revealed this information? There it is, and here you use it.
Using WHOIS to sniff out shady places
Many websites and organizations give you free website information. The most notable is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a private nonprofit company that allocates space for IP addresses and manages domain names (among others). The service is called WHOIS, and it provides a long list of biographical information for all sites in the world.
ICANN sends email owners (or administrators) to new websites and owners of modified existing websites that ask users to verify and update the information on all their websites. Many people ignore these emails, but new ICANN rules require you to respond, or ICANN will turn off your domain name (hence your website) for 72 hours to 15 days. Add ICANN to your whitelist to avoid being turned off. If you are suspended, visit the ICANN website to find out how to reactivate your site.
ICANN's diligence is good news for most legitimate websites, but not so good for websites that prefer to be anonymous. Not all anonymous sites are unscrupulous. Many website owners must protect their privacy from fans, persecutors, professional competition or other risks.
Similar websites like WhoIsHostingThis and Whois.net and dozens of others are just as reliable. Your own hosting provider can even offer this service.
However, keep in mind that many sites use a domain protection service (aka proxy protection service) such as WhoIsGuard, Proxy Protection or Domains by Proxy to protect users' private information from appearing on the Internet. These sites mask the site owner's information and replace it with the information provided by the host provider or proxy service.
So, how do you discover the hidden information on a protected site? As of this writing, you cannot legally gain access to protected information without a valid meeting from a law enforcement agency or representative. There are solutions, such as asking for a passive DNS / WHOIS server (as opposed to a live WHOIS database server) with applications such as SecurityTrails, SurfaceBrowser, Deteque, DomainTools and lots more. These programs use a variety of techniques, such as cross-checking data from different data sets, studying WHOIS historical records or examining associated domains, to name a few. None are simple, straightforward solutions, which is why most everyday web surfers do not use these methods.
Scam trackers, fraud list and site blockers
Because protected "Who's" information is so hard to get, consider using Internet Fraud Detection Services as your state consumer protection agency, Bureau of Consumer Protection  or the Federal Trade Commission. The US government offers guidance on avoiding and combating fraud and fraud, including lists of known perpetrators.
Responsible organizations that track this information for free include the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker, which lets you search for keywords, scams, location and dates. Fake INet is another free service that provides a "Scam Finder" search box. Enter the URL of a suspicious site and, if guilty, Fake will NOT display the site on the screen. Scam Detector and We Get Scammed For You are among the many dozens of other free services.
For a comprehensive list of hate group sites, try the Southern Poverty Law Center, Wikipedia & # 39; White Nationalist site by site or Anti-Defamation League. If you stumble upon a suspicious site, use these services to find out more and block it in your browser if needed
For propaganda (aka fake news), check out Wikipedia's List of fake news sites, "Professor Melissa Zimdar News Site, Daily Dot Snopes or Media Bias / Fact Check.
For pornography or other similarly offensive sites, install Safernet, OpenDNS Family Shield or OPenDNS Home, Google's Safe Search, or any of a dozen other products ranging from free to $ 99 per year. If you are unsure, just search for the site's name or URL, followed by keywords such as "complaints", "reviews", "offensive", "false", "fraudulent" and so on. And see what comes up.
If you are serious about digging up dirt on a website, there are verifiers that provide up-to-date reports for dangerous or uncontested sites. But these services are NOT free. For a hefty $ 199 fee for a day's worth or $ 399 for a 3-day value, you can get a report showing the current fraudulent websites that are Internet users. Note, however, that most of these services are owned by companies in the places you are trying to avoid.
My advice: Use the reputable "listings" pages offered for free.