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Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Experts feared that malicious websites would multiply after the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation began to thwart one of the most effective techniques of tracing their owners. But security intelligence firm Recorded Future sees some evidence that the boom may not have happened.

Why it matters: The GDPR bans companies from storing personal information without an E.U. citizen's permission — including so-called "WHOIS" data that companies use to track down the owners of criminal or spam websites. With those GDPR rules in place, experts expected a sudden boom of sketchy sites. The rules still make current forensic investigations more difficult, but they did not appear to trigger an explosion of malicious activity online.

The details: According to the Recorded Future report:

  • The total amount of global email dipped in July, with the amount of spam staying the same. Recorded Future attributes this statistic to Cisco's Talos group.
  • The number of new internet domains registered since GDPR took effect also declined, from 223,500 a day to 213,300.
  • While the total number of registrations declined, the percentage of new sites registered as .com addresses increased from just under 51% to just under 54% — increasing in total from 113985 to 117315. That's important, believes Recorded Future, because .com is the least likely of the publicly available domain suffixes to be used in spam campaigns.

What they're saying: "The fact that domains in well-known 'spammy' top level domains has dropped could be a signal that spammers may be worried about potential ramifications from GDPR violations," said Recorded Future senior solutions analyst Allan Liska via email. "It could also be a sign that spammers are holding back, seeing how GDPR plays out and then will adapt."

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

23 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
34 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.