Programming, philosophy, pedaling.

Scanning the .nyc gTLD

Nov 11, 2018

Tags: data


All of the techniques and data described in this post were used and collected for research purposes only.

Only publicly available information is presented below and in the linked dataset.

Did you know:


As of 11/3, there are 71,762 active domains1 under the .nyc gTLD2.

The first .nyc domain registered was nic.nyc, unsurprisingly.

Live domains

I was originally going to run a WHOIS lookup for each domain, but they (the Registry Operators for .nyc) started limiting WHOIS results back in May. Oh well.

Instead, I ran DNS queries to see how many domains were currently pointing to servers. Of the 71,762 domains in the dataset, 65,009 have DNS records pointing to one or more IPs or CNAMEs3 4 5.

The vast majority of sites have just one IP, while a sizable minority have four (consistently CDN IPs):

Histogram: Number of IPs per site.

Between those 65,009 domains there are 8550 unique IPs6, less than I would have thought.

The top IPs are, unsurprisingly, large CDNs and hosting providers7 8:

IP Entity Number of domains (non-exclusive) GoDaddy 3289 Confluence-Networks 2686 Squarespace 2636 Squarespace 2499 Squarespace 2485 Squarespace 2485 Softlayer Technologies (IBM) 1611 Google 1045 Amazon 759 GoDaddy 632

Reader: I’d never heard of Confluence-Networks before and couldn’t find any real information about them online, so I’d appreciate any insight you might have.


I decided to run nmap on the remaining 65,009 hosts, checking only for a few common open ports. This ended up taking about four days in “polite” (-T2) mode:

while read domain; do
  nmap -v -p 21,22,80,443 -T2 --append-output -oG nmap.txt
done < livedomains.txt

(nmap -iL <file> does about the same thing as this loop on newer versions of nmap, but my older version didn’t support domains via that flag.)

This resulted in a big old text file in nmap’s “greppable” format (protip: do not use this format), from which I extracted port information9. Here’s the breakdown for open ports:

Service Number of domains Percent of live domains
FTP (21) 6487 9.98%
SSH (22) 8021 12.34%
HTTP (80) 64216 98.78%
HTTPS (443) 17313 26.63%

So, about one out every ten domains on .nyc (a relatively new gTLD, mind you) is still running an FTP service in 2018. Pretty much every domain is serving HTTP, but only about one quarter are doing so over a not-completely-insecure channel.

Since the number of SSH and FTP hosts was nontrivial, I decided to fingerprint them10 11. Of the 8021 SSH services discovered during the initial scan, 7982 (99.51%) responded to the fingerprint scan. For FTP, it was 6434 out of 6487 (99.18%).

SSH fingerprinting results (independent columns):

SSH version OS version
OpenSSH 7.2p2: 1900 Linux: 4750
OpenSSH 5.3: 1794 Unknown: 3227
OpenSSH 6.7p1: 1341 FreeBSD: 5
OpenSSH 6.6.1p1: 706  
OpenSSH 6.9p1: 505  
OpenSSH 7.4: 326  
OpenSSH 7.5: 292  
ProFTPD mod_sftp 0.9.9: 256  
Unknown: 212  
OpenSSH 6.0p1: 156  
OpenSSH 5.1: 140  
OpenSSH 7.4p1: 65  
OpenSSH 6.6.1: 65  
OpenSSH 7.6p1: 42  
OpenSSH 6.2: 33  
OpenSSH 5.9p1: 26  
OpenSSH 4.3: 26  
OpenSSH 7.8: 23  
OpenSSH 7.2: 12  
OpenSSH 5.5p1: 10  
OpenSSH 7.6: 7  
OpenSSH 7.7: 5  
OpenSSH 6.1: 4  
OpenSSH 7.1: 4  
SCS sshd 4  
OpenSSH 7.3: 4  
OpenSSH 7.5p1: 3  
OpenSSH 5.3p1: 3  
OpenSSH 6.4: 3  
OpenSSH 6.6: 3  
OpenSSH 7.9: 2  
Serv-U SSH Server 1  
OpenSSH 5.8p2: 1  
OpenSSH 5.4p1: 1  
OpenSSH 5.2: 1  
OpenSSH 5.8: 1  
OpenSSH 4.7: 1  
OpenSSH 7.3p1: 1  
OpenSSH 4.8: 1  
OpenSSH 5.9: 1  
OpenSSH 5.5: 1  

Some interesting outliers there: I had no idea that ProFTPD had SFTP support, or that people actually used SSH Communications Security’s proprietary SSH server. Serv-U appears to be another proprietary SSH offering.

26 hosts are running OpenSSH 4.3, which had a remote DoS (and potential ACE) all the way back in 2006. Only 765 hosts are running OpenSSH >= 7.4, the first version to fix CVE-2016-10708, a trivial DoS.

And for FTP (independent columns):

FTP version OS version
Unknown: 5410 Unknown: 4542
ProFTPD 1.2.10: 735 Unix: 1761
vsftpd 3.0.2: 69 Windows: 130
ProFTPD 1.3.5b: 44 NetBSD: 1
ProFTPD 1.3.5d: 39  
vsftpd 2.0.8 (or later): 24  
vsftpd 3.0.3: 16  
vsftpd 2.2.2: 13  
ProFTPD 1.3.4a: 8  
ProFTPD 1.3.6rc2: 8  
FileZilla ftp 0.9.41: 7  
ProFTPD 1.3.5rc3: 7  
WU-FTPD or Kerberos ftpd 6.00LS: 6  
ProFTPD 1.3.5: 6  
ProFTPD 1.3.5a: 6  
ProFTPD 1.3.3g: 5  
ProFTPD 1.3.4c: 4  
tnftpd 20100324+GSSAPI: 3  
ProFTPD 1.3.4e: 3  
vsftpd 2.0.5: 3  
FileZilla ftp 0.9.39: 2  
ProFTPD 1.3.3e: 2  
ProFTPD 1.3.3a: 2  
Serv-U ftpd 15.1: 1  
vsftpd 2.0.7: 1  
WarFTPd 1.83.00-RC14: 1  
ProFTPD 1.3.5e: 1  
vsftpd 2.3.2: 1  
Gene6 ftpd 3.10.0: 1  
FileZilla ftp 0.9.48: 1  
FileZilla ftp 0.9.43: 1  
ProFTPD 1.3.2e: 1  
FileZilla ftp 0.9.33: 1  
Serv-U ftpd 12.1: 1  
ProFTPD 1.2.8: 1  

Note: “Unknown” above reflects that nmap couldn’t identify both the product name and its version — 3508 of those “Unknown” FTPDs are actually Pure-FTPd, making it by far the single most popular FTPd on .nyc.

Some interesting outliers: WarFTPd is a very old Windows FTP server, and I can’t even find an original source for Gene6.

Several hundred hosts are running versions of ProFTPD that may be vulnerable to CVE-2011-4130. Several dozen are running older versions of vsftpd that may be vulnerable to CVE-2011-0762.


To cap things off, I wanted to see how many websites were following security best practices.

To do that, I ran twa on 1000 randomly sampled domains12 that the nmap scan indicated had both HTTP and HTTPS available13. For simplicity’s sake, I only ran twa on the base domain, not www or any other common subdomains.

while read domain; do
  TWA_TIMEOUT=2 twa -c "${domain}" | tee -a twa.csv
done < randomhttps.txt

# remove the CSV headers
sed -i '/status,domain/d' twa.csv

Some interesting statistics:

70 (7%) of the websites scanned sent a Server header containing version information (e.g., nginx/1.14.0)14:

Tag Count
Apache/2 30
api-gateway/ 4
ATS/7.1.2 8
DPS/1.4.21 24
Microsoft-IIS/8.5 4
nginx/1.1.19 2
nginx/1.12.2 4
nginx/1.13.6 2
nginx/1.14.0 48
nginx/1.14.1 4
openresty/ 10

260 (26%) of the websites sent one or more cookies missing either (or both) the 'secure' or 'httpOnly' flags15. The worst offender sent 18 unsecured cookies16!

235 websites redirected HTTP requests to HTTPS using a 301 (or other permanent redirect)17, while 25 used a 302 (or other temporary redirect)18. 549 websites were serving HTTPS (confirming the nmap scan), but didn’t redirect their HTTP traffic19. Another 191 websites redirected their HTTP traffic to another HTTP endpoint20. Thus, without intervention from a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere, the average user will wind up using plain old HTTP on the average .nyc domain. Not great for 2018.

106 (10.6%) of the websites were listening on one or more non-production ports, possibly indicating either a development version of the site or some kind of backend service21.

There are a bunch of other interesting datapoints in twa.csv, but I’ll leave it up to you to dig through and interpret them.


This blog post took longer than I thought it would — I started writing it on the 3rd of November, but many of the scans I used didn’t complete until the 9th. As a result, I limited the amount of analysis that I did on the data. It would be interesting to see someone more statistically inclined than myself take it on.

I’ve published an archive containing some of the data and tiny scripts I used for this blog post. I have left out files that contain scan information for any particular domain or domains, including my copy of the nmap scan. I’d like to share the full data with people interested in legitimate research — if that applies to you, please contact me directly and we’ll work out some kind of agreement about usage22.

Where applicable, the footnotes below refers to a specific file or invocations of one of the scripts in that gist. Note that most of the scripts are ad-hoc, and do things via stdin/stdout — you should modify them if you need to do anything more complicated.

  1. There were no duplicates in the dataset, so either all domains are still active from initial purchase or the dataset only indicates the latest owner. 

  2. domains.csv and domains.json 

  3. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to refer to the IP/CNAME results after this as just “IPs.” 

  4. domains2ips < domains.json > ips.jsonl 

  5. livesites < ips.jsonl > livesites.jsonl 

  6. uniqueips < livesites.jsonl 

  7. ipfreqs < livesites.jsonl > ipfreqs.json 

  8. topips < ipfreqs.json > topips.json 

  9. nmap2ports < nmap.txt > ports.jsonl 

  10. sshversions < ports.jsonl > sshversions.jsonl 

  11. ftpversions < ports.jsonl > ftpversions.jsonl 

  12. randomhttps < ports.jsonl > https.txt 

  13. The rationale here was simple: HTTP is fundamentally insecure, so there’s no point in checking for best practices on a website that doesn’t support any secure channel. 

  14. grep 'looks like a version tag' < twa.csv | sed 's/.* version tag: \(.*\)\".*/\1/p' | sort | uniq -c 

  15. grep -E 'FAIL,.*cookie' < twa.csv | sed 's/FAIL,\(.*\.nyc\).*/\1/p' | sort | uniq | wc -l 

  16. grep -E 'FAIL,.*cookie' < twa.csv | sed 's/FAIL,\(.*\.nyc\).*/\1/p' | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn 

  17. grep "HTTP redirects to HTTPS using a 30[18]" < twa.csv | wc -l 

  18. grep "HTTP redirects to HTTPS using a 30[27]" < twa.csv | wc -l 

  19. grep "HTTP doesn't redirect at all" < twa.csv | wc -l 

  20. grep "HTTP redirects to HTTP (not secure)" < twa.csv | wc -l 

  21. grep "is listening on a development/backend port" < twa.csv | sed 's/FAIL,\(.*\.nyc\).*/\1/p' | sort | uniq | wc -l 

  22. This is a harm reduction thing, not a legal thing. There’s no security in the herd, but I’d rather not be personally responsible for attackers targeting some of the hosts that I identified. 

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