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I am registering for a conference in Canada but the payment link has a weird name like yizhifubj and the website is Chinese. Is that normal? Are there any guidelines for determining if a registration website is “safe”?

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    No. It is not safe. – Orion Jun 8 '18 at 0:05
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    @AndrésE.Caicedo Sorry, but making a payment for a Canadian conference on a Chinese website? This screams "scam" to me, in particular, since .cn might be easily confused for a Canadian domain. – Roland Jun 8 '18 at 7:11
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    Have you asked the conference organizers? – henning Jun 8 '18 at 7:55
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    @AndrésE.Caicedo Look, OP has some valid concerns. Saying "It seems safe." because the potential scammer was clever enough to at least give the impression that several conferences (which you apparently do not know) use this website is not helping anyone. – Roland Jun 8 '18 at 10:31
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    @NateEldredge "Yizhifu" = prepaid. "bj" = probably Beijing. The website www.yizhifubj.com redirects to PayEase. – user420261 Jun 9 '18 at 14:22
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You will not be able to get a definitive answer on this unless you contact the conference organisers. Certainly the registration mechanism is - by modern western standards - backwards - and you are right to ring alarm bells and take extreme caution as it could well be a scam

That said, @GlenPierce answer is not the final word - and there are significant elements which indicate that the site itself is credible - these include

  1. The actual payment IS done over HTTPS, and the certificate ties in with the domain name. Of-course, this does not mean much, except that the domain has not been compromised.

  2. The domain names associated with the site have been registered many years

  3. The site purports to relate to academic.net - and, indeed, when you go to the academic.net website, the payment system does, indeed link to this domain name. It is also relevant that most of conferences they have listed are held in China.

  4. If you log onto the site, and change the meeting ID, it lists different headers for different ID's - that means that if the site has been hacked, its been hacked for a while, and there is a "non-trivial" amount of coding behind this - and yet Google have not flagged it as untrustworthy.

My inclination is to believe that this is more a case of incompetence then likely fraud (and this level of competency is not that uncommon in the parts of Asia I've been exposed to) - but I would still not register this site without confirmation from the organizer that it is legit.

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    It's definitively unsafe, it uses http, rather than https – user2768 Sep 6 '18 at 12:01
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    Even if the actual payment is done over HTTPS, the pattern where an initial HTTP page redirects to a HTTPS one is still considered a questionable security practice by today's standards. The reason is that an attacker can rewrite the pages served over HTTP to point to a different malicious HTTPS page. – Federico Poloni Sep 6 '18 at 12:59
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Not safe at all.

  1. Http instead of https, never enter any information of any kind into an http site.
  2. The mere fact that it's over http is such a huge flag that almost nothing else matters.
  3. Wierd name. Weird names are evidence of unsafe sites. They probably keep getting blacklisted so need to create hundreds of sites to keep ahead of people writing reviews of their scams, blocking them from searches, etc.
  4. Not a professional page. The layout and overall page design is poor. Real sites hire professional designers.

The payment gateway itself is over http. If your bank's ATM deposit drawer was a shelf that anyone could just walk up to and steal from, would you deposit your money via that ATM?

Even if these conference organizers are legit, they are not competent. This conference won't be good. People who are worth meeting won't attend simply because of this website problem. If they can't build a simple registration website, what else have they screwed up?

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    This is good advice in general, but none of it really resolves whether or not this is the real conference website. Academic conference organizers rarely have the budget to hire professional designers and so things are often done by someone who just barely knows what they're doing. Obviously the "safe" approach is to say "don't use it", but if it's real, then for OP that means not being able to go to the conference, which can have a career impact. People don't always have the luxury of only being able to do that which is safe. – Nate Eldredge Jun 8 '18 at 14:32
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    Real sites hire professional designers --- LOL I wish. It simply doesn't work that way in my part of academia, though. Small conferences and workshops have home-made sites and registration systems, ranging from home-made php, to Google forms or "send us an e-mail to confirm". – Federico Poloni Jun 8 '18 at 14:35
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    I very much doubt that money sent through this website will actually result in actually attending a conference. The payment gateway itself isn't even over http. If this is not a scam, it's such a massive security vulnerability that everyone who goes though it will be compromised. Skip this conference. – Glen Pierce Jun 8 '18 at 14:42
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    As to your last paragraph, I can say from experience that there is very little correlation between website design competence and scientific quality of the conference. I don't know anything about this particular conference, but I certainly wouldn't make the judgment on that basis. And there are many cases where a conference is important enough to me that I would gladly risk credit card fraud in order to attend (after all, the credit card company would typically eat any losses, not me). – Nate Eldredge Jun 8 '18 at 16:04
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    Actually, the payment is made in another site through HTPS. Look: pay.yizhifubj.com/customer/i18n/i18n_input_card_new.jsp – The Doctor Jun 8 '18 at 16:17

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