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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
55 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.