WorldCom.com has been taken offline, erasing the web’s last traces of the brand that became a symbol of white collar crime and the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The domains worldcom.com and worldcom.net have been taken out of the DNS database, meaning requests for those URLs return no response. The domains continue to be owned by MCI, Inc. the WorldCom successor that was bought earlier this year by Verizon for $7.6 billion.
When a company is acquired, its domain names are typically redirected to the web site of the acquiring company to capture potential customers searching for the old URL. Redirection services are freely provided by most registrars. But worldcom.com and worldcom.net have no A record listed in their DNS settings, suggesting the domains have been intentionally taken offline to “retire” the name.
A sign of the times? ThreeZee Technology, Inc., a security research firm, has located a bug within the Verizon Wireless Text Messaging system which allows any Tom, Dick or Harry to “easily view mass lists of SMS messages sent to Verizon customers, including the telephone number and the text in the message”. Not just that: Tom (or Dick, or Harry) can then use the bug to intercept messages sent to any such phone, as well as the ability to make numerous charges to the customer’s phone bill. Yikes.
This is bad, of course, but it’s not a feature of SMS per se, more of the website that Verizon set up to allow folk to send SMS messages to Verizon phones. Still, hopefully Verizon will fix it. No sign so far of any mention of the problem on their website.