Unpaid domain fees are allegedly the reason why the South African Post Office’s (SAPO’s) web site was recently down for an unknown number of days.
Upon navigating to www.postoffice.co.za, users were greeted with an error stating: “This site can’t be reached … www.postoffice.co.za took too long to respond.”
According to reports on MyBroadband, payment for an amount of R125.40, invoiced on 1 February 2018, had not been made by owners of the post office domain.
Calvin Browne, cofounder of DNS Africa and head of international registrar relations at Domain Name Services, explained the situation in detail to MyBroadband.
According to Browne, an invoice was sent and delivered to SAPO on 1 February. By 1 March, a follow-up email was sent and delivered. On 12 March, a final warning e-mail was delivered, and a week later the domain was suspended. The outstanding fees were paid on 20 March.
The lack of payment was not the only issue, however, and is reason for the three-day delay between payment on 20 March and the web site only coming online again on 23 March.
According to MyBroadband, there are “several errors with the ‘postoffice.co.za’ zone setup”. Browne says it is “quite remarkable that anything works at all” – all of which contributed to the extended downtime.
Via MyBroadband, Browne gave a detailed explanation of these problems, which included:
- There are seven nameservers, instead of the listed five in the registration
- One of the nameservers – waterbok.postoffice.co.za – is not valid
- The “postoffice.co.za” domain is susceptible to DNS cache poisoning and is vulnerable to being hacked
- One nameserver – gemsbok.postoffice.co.za – is not listed in the co.za zone
- When the “gemsbok” nameserver was queried, “waterbok” had been replaced by “gemsbok” and “gemsbok.postoffice.co.za” was gone
- The TTLs (Time To Live records) are different – on “gemsbok.postoffice.co.za” they are set to expire in one day, while “waterbok.postoffice.co.za” they are set to 10 minutes
- When Browne tested the nameservers, they responded with “SERVFAIL”, which “basically means they know nothing about postoffice.co.za”
- These misconfigurations mean two of five registered nameservers do not even know about the domain, and cannot be trusted to serve the correct information
When taking all of this into consideration, it is no surprise that SAPO took so long to get its web site back up and running – and it belies problems on their other domains, such as Post Bank.
Original article by MyBroadband