TOKYO: At least 59 internet domains containing phrases related to the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the year 2021, were obtained on Tuesday, the day the postponement of the event was decided, Jiji Press learned Thursday.
Many of the domains are believed to have been acquired for resale, with one of them put on an online auction for 1.9 million yen. An expert warns that these sites may be used for fraudulent purposes.
A research group led by Tatsuya Mori, professor at Waseda University, has found 126 registered domain names containing words such as “Tokyo,” “2021” and Olympic.”
The number of such domains started to rise in late February and spiked after the International Olympic Committee decided on Tuesday to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics by about a year in the wake of the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Japan and many other parts of the world, according to the group.
The owners of the domains are thought to be individuals or groups unrelated to the sporting event.
The domain name “tokyo2021.org”, which mimics the Tokyo Olympics’ official website domain name, “tokyo2020.org”, is owned by a person claiming to be a male doctor working in Britain.
” I purchased this several weeks ago, before the (coronavirus) pandemic,” the person told Jiji Press. “I would be willing to sell the domain if someone else is interested in it.”
“I have already received offers to purchase the domain, but I do not want to rush into any decision and so have not sold yet,” the person also said, adding. “I have a lot of interest since the official decision (on the postponement of the Olympics), and so I am waiting to choose the best offer.”
The domain name “tokyo2021shop.jp”, which also resembles “tokyo2020shop.jp”, the domain for the official online shop of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, was listed on an online auction website on Tuesday with the minimum bid set at 1.9 million yen.
Many Twitter accounts have obtained user IDs containing “Tokyo2021” this month, with one account saying that it was “reserved.”
The official name of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is expected to remain as “Tokyo 2020” after the postponement, and the domain names of the events’ current official websites are also likely to stay the same.
Meanwhile, some of the look-alike domains could be dangerous, with one of them posing as an official ticketing site.
“There is a possibility that the sites may turn into phishing sites which steal credit card numbers and other information,” Mori warned.