" ITREALMS: ICANN to combat cyber-squatting with new gTLDs – Beckstrom


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Monday, January 16, 2012

ICANN to combat cyber-squatting with new gTLDs – Beckstrom

The president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Mr. Rod Beckstrom has responded to the chairman of Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Mr. Jon Leibowitz on the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) name programme.

His response was emphatic that the new gTLD would enable ICANN to act in the best global public interest, especially in combating cyber-squatting and phishing

The ICANN boss in a letter dated January 10, 2012 and addressed to Mr. Leibowitz and three other Commissioners, namely J. Thomas Rosch; Edith Ramirez and Julie Brill at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) based in Washington D.C. tagged ‘ICANN’s New gTLD Programme.”

He noted that his response was in respect of his letter of December 16, 2011 regarding the ICANN’s new generic Top Level Domain name programme.

While appreciating the perspective that FTC provided to ICANN in the letter, he noted that the important contributions that the FTC brings t ICANN’s base of information and processes.

“That perspective has been and will continue to be important to us in performing ICANN’s technical coordination role, especially in providing protections to consumers and users of the Internet,” he said.

The new gTLD programme, he explained is the product of ICANN’s mandate to act in the global public interest, coordinate the global internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular, ensure the stable and secure operation of the internet unique identifier systems.

ICANN, he said, has addressed the overarching issues identified for the rollout of new TLDs through careful operational planning and the six-year long, multi-stakeholders process to design the new gTLD programme.

Further, he said, the programme has been designed to benefit the billions of internet users around the globe through increased competition, choice and innovation.

“It is also designed to provide a safer, stable marketplace through the implementation of rights protection mechanisms, malicious conduct mitigation measures and other registrant protections,” he said.

Beckstrom maintained that new gTLDs include protections that are not required in the 300 TLDs already in the Domain Name System (DNS).

According to him, the domain name system today includes over 30 TLDs; 249 ccTLDs, 30 IDN ccTLDs, and 21 gTLDs. None of those 300 existing TLDs are required to include the standard protections that new TLDs must offer.

He emphasized that ICANN strongly expects that TLDs approved through the new gTLD programme would bring about increased competition while resulting in more secure environments for consumers.

Additionally, he said that it has new measures to mitigate malicious conduct and increase security and stability including; Background reviews of TLD applicants, including reviews for criminal history  comprising the use of telecommunications or the internet to facilitate crimes, illegal sale of drugs and others.

He pointed out that the new programme would facilitate rejection of applications where the applicant has a pattern of adverse decisions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Policy (UDRP) or has been found to act in bad faith or reckless disregard under the cyber-squatting legislation.

The requirement to have a plan to implement domain name system security extensions (NDSSEC), , he said, would reduce the risk of ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks and spoofed DNS records.

“A requirement to maintain enhanced or ‘thick’ WHOIS records at the registry level to allow more rapid search capabilities, facilitating efficient resolution of malicious conduct activities,” he said.

As said by him, a centralised zone file access system would allow for more accurate and rapid identification of key points of contact within each gTLD, stressing that this reduces the time necessary to take corrective action within TLDs experiencing malicious activity

To the extent that the FTCs concerns about the expansion of the DNS, he said, are in relation to phishing attacks, phishing attacks are predominantly made through email, insisting that the number of attacks will not go up because there are more TLDs.

Phishing attacks, he said, also require a domain name registration, but new, smaller TLDs incorporating the heightened protections are not the place for those making attacks to ‘hide’ hence phishing attacks are proportional to the number of wrongdoers and registrants, not the number of TLDs.

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