Information Gathering

Domain Hunter – Checks Expired Domains For Categorization/Reputation And History To Determine Good Candidates For Phishing And C2 Domain Names

Domain Hunter - Checks Expired Domains For Categorization/Reputation And History To Determine Good Candidates For Phishing And C2 Domain Names
Domain name selection is an important aspect of preparation for penetration tests and especially Red Team engagements. Commonly, domains that were used previously for benign purposes and were properly categorized can be purchased for only a few dollars. Such domains can allow a team to bypass reputation based web filters and network egress restrictions for phishing and C2 related tasks.
This Python based tool was written to quickly query the search engine for expired/available domains with a previous history of use. It then optionally queries for domain reputation against services like Symantec WebPulse (BlueCoat), IBM X-Force, and Cisco Talos. The primary tool output is a timestamped HTML table style report.


  • 5 October 2018
    • Fixed logic for filtering domains with desirable categorizations. Previously, some error conditions weren’t filtered and would result in domains without a valid categorization making it into the final list.
  • 4 October 2018
    • Tweaked parsing logic
    • Fixed changes parsed columns indexes
  • 17 September 2018
    • Fixed Symantec WebPulse Site Review parsing errors caused by service updates
  • 18 May 2018
    • Add –alexa switch to control Alexa ranked site filtering
  • 16 May 2018
    • Update queries to increase probability of quickly finding a domain available for instant purchase. Previously, many reported domains had an “In Auction” or “Make an Offer” status. New criteria: .com|.net|.org + Alexa Ranked + Available for Purchase
    • Improved logic to filter out uncategorized and some potentially undesirable domain categorizations in the final text table and HTML output
    • Removed unnecessary columns from HTML report
  • 6 May 2018
    • Fixed expired domains parsing when performing a keyword search
    • Minor HTML and text table output updates
    • Filtered reputation checks to only execute for .COM, .ORG, and .NET domains and removed check for records when performing a default or keyword search. Credit to @christruncer for the original PR and idea.
  • 11 April 2018
    • Added OCR support for CAPTCHA solving with tesseract. Thanks to t94j0 for the idea in AIRMASTER
    • Added support for input file list of potential domains (-f/–filename)
    • Changed -q/–query switch to -k/–keyword to better match its purpose
    • Added additional error checking for parsing
  • 9 April 2018
    • Added -t switch for timing control. -t <1-5>
    • Added Google SafeBrowsing and PhishTank reputation checks
    • Fixed bug in IBMXForce response parsing
  • 7 April 2018
    • Fixed support for Symantec WebPulse Site Review (formerly Blue Coat WebFilter)
    • Added Cisco Talos Domain Reputation check
    • Added feature to perform a reputation check against a single non-expired domain. This is useful when monitoring reputation for domains used in ongoing campaigns and engagements.
  • 6 June 2017
    • Added python 3 support
    • Code cleanup and bug fixes
    • Added Status column (Available, Make Offer, Price, Backorder, etc)


  • Retrieve specified number of recently expired and deleted domains (.com, .net, .org) from
  • Retrieve available domains based on keyword search from
  • Perform reputation checks against the Symantec WebPulse Site Review (BlueCoat), IBM x-Force, Cisco Talos, Google SafeBrowsing, and PhishTank services
  • Sort results by domain age (if known) and filter for reputation
  • Text-based table and HTML report output with links to reputation sources and entry

Install Python requirements

pip3 install -r requirements.txt

Optional – Install additional OCR support dependencies

  • Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install tesseract-ocr python3-imaging
  • MAC OSX: brew install tesseract


usage: [-h] [-a] [-k KEYWORD] [-c] [-f FILENAME] [--ocr]
                    [-r MAXRESULTS] [-s SINGLE] [-t {0,1,2,3,4,5}]
                    [-w MAXWIDTH] [-V]

Finds expired domains, domain categorization, and history to determine good candidates for C2 and phishing domains

optional arguments:
-h, --help            show this help message and exit
-a, --alexa           Filter results to Alexa listings
-k KEYWORD, --keyword KEYWORD
                        Keyword used to refine search results
-c, --check           Perform domain reputation checks
-f FILENAME, --filename FILENAME
                        Specify input file of line delimited domain names to
--ocr                 Perform OCR on CAPTCHAs when challenged
                        Number of results to return when querying latest
                        expired/deleted domains
-s SINGLE, --single SINGLE
                        Performs detailed reputation checks against a single
                        domain name/IP.
-t {0,1,2,3,4,5}, --timing {0,1,2,3,4,5}
                        Modifies request timing to avoid CAPTCHAs. Slowest(0)
                        = 90-120 seconds, Default(3) = 10-20 seconds,
                        Fastest(5) = no delay
-w MAXWIDTH, --maxwidth MAXWIDTH
                        Width of text table
-V, --version         show program's version number and exit

./ -k apples -c --ocr -t5
./ --check --ocr -t3
./ --single
./ --keyword tech --check --ocr --timing 5 --alexa
./ --filename inputlist.txt --ocr --timing 5

Use defaults to check for most recent 100 domains and check reputation

python3 ./

Search for 1000 most recently expired/deleted domains, but don’t check reputation

python3 ./ -r 1000

Perform all reputation checks for a single domain

python3 ./ -s

[*] Downloading malware domain list from

[*] Fetching domain reputation for:
[*] Google SafeBrowsing and PhishTank:
[+] No issues found
[*] BlueCoat:
[+] Technology/Internet
[*] IBM xForce:
[+] Communication Services, Software as a Service, Cloud, (Score: 1)
[*] Cisco Talos:
[+] Web Hosting (Score: Neutral)

Perform all reputation checks for a list of domains at max speed with OCR of CAPTCHAs

python3 ./ -f <domainslist.txt> -t 5 --ocr

Search for available domains with keyword term of “dog”, max results of 25, and check reputation

python3 ./ -k dog -r 25 -c

 ____   ___  __  __    _    ___ _   _   _   _ _   _ _   _ _____ _____ ____
|  _  / _ |  /  |  /   |_ _|  | | | | | | | | |  | |_   _| ____|  _ 
| | | | | | | |/| | / _   | ||  | | | |_| | | | |  | | | | |  _| | |_) |
| |_| | |_| | |  | |/ ___  | || |  | |  _  | |_| | |  | | | | |___|  _ <
|____/ ___/|_|  |_/_/   ____|_| _| |_| |_|___/|_| _| |_| |_____|_| _

Expired Domains Reputation Checker
Authors: @joevest and @andrewchiles

DISCLAIMER: This is for educational purposes only!
It is designed to promote education and the improvement of computer/cyber security.
The authors or employers are not liable for any illegal act or misuse performed by any user of this tool.
If you plan to use this content for illegal purpose, don't.  Have a nice day :)

[*] Downloading malware domain list from

[*] Fetching expired or deleted domains containing "dog"

[*] Performing domain reputation checks for 8 domains.
[*] BlueCoat:
[+] Travel
[*] IBM xForce:
[+] Not found.
[*] Cisco Talos:
[+] Uncategorized

About the author

Mazen Elzanaty

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