Posted on behalf of Nick Johnston, Senior Software Engineer, Symantec.cloud
Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) allow domain names to include Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Latin (with diacritics) and many other characters like 寿司and 한글. It has been possible to include these characters in some domains for several years, but until last year, top-level domains (like .ru for Russia) were not internationalized like this. Several top-level domains now have internationalized versions, for example .рф for Russia.
I recently saw some German pharmacy spam (targeted at Germany, Austria and Switzerland). The spam itself is fairly normal. It promotes erectile dysfunction drugs, and includes links to a popular URL shortening site:
Figure 1 – example of spam email using URL shortening service redirecting to IDN domain
Most of the spam is in...