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NeuStar files for patent on DNSSEC hack

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2010, Domain Tech

NeuStar has applied for a US patent on a stop-gap technology for authenticating DNS queries without the need for DNSSEC.

The application, published today, describes a system of securing the DNS connection between authoritative name servers and recursive servers belonging to ISPs.

It appears to cover the technology underlying Cache Defender, a service it started offering via its UltraDNS brand last July.

It was created to prevent the kind of man-in-the-middle attacks permitted by the 2008 Kaminsky exploit, which let attackers poison recursive caches, redirecting users to phoney web sites.

The DNSSEC standard calls for DNS traffic to be digitally signed and was designed to significantly mitigate this kind of attack, but it has yet to be widely deployed.

Some ccTLDs are already signed, but gTLD users will have to wait until at least this summer. The .org zone will be signed in June and ICANN will sign the root in July but .com will not be signed until next year.

While Kaminsky’s vulnerability has been broadly patched, brute-force attacks are still possible, according an ISP’s experience cited in the patent filing.

“The patch that experts previously believed would provide enough time to get DNSSEC deployed literally provided the industry just a few extra weeks,” it reads.

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Burberry files UDRP on Engrish squatter

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2010, Gossip

Burberry, the once-respectable fashion house more commonly associated nowadays with British chavs, has filed a UDRP complaint against a webmaster with an hilarious grasp of English.

Two claims were made against burberryscarfshop.com and burberryscarfstore.com. One site appears to be aimed at Brits, the other Americans, although you’d never know it from the language.

The American site claims: “To provide the superior scarves and service is our common logos and incessant pursue.”

From the British site:

Burberryscarfshop.com of the opinion that no people should go without beautiful scarf.

It is very important and exciting for every people to choose the perfect scarf in the preparation of his happy day!

I wonder which way this decision is going to go…

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Pornographers still hate .xxx

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registries

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group for the porn industry, has condemned the proposed .xxx top-level domain as “untenable” and “detrimental”.

In a letter to ICANN, FSC executive director Diane Duke challenged ICANN’s board to “settle the issue once and for all by going to the actual community to test the application’s true level of support”.

The FSC is concerned that the introduction of .xxx, as proposed and pursued by ICM Registry for the last 10 years, will inevitably lead to government regulation of the online porn industry.

Duke wrote: “a proposal for a ‘Sponsored’ top-level domain by a company that is not of the industry, with the added intent to ‘regulate’ an industry it knows nothing about, is simply untenable”.

The FSC has an even bigger problem with IFFOR, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, the group set up by ICM to act as its sponsoring organisation

IFFOR – a bit of a hack to get around the fact that ICM was essentially applying for a gTLD during a “sponsored” TLD round – was loosely modelled on ICANN’s own bottoms-up structure, with four supporting organisations creating policy for .xxx domains.

Judging by this flowchart, which is open to interpretation, the adult industry would control less than half the votes.

“Our resolute position is that no self-respecting industry would ever agree to have a minority voice on a board tasked with setting critical policies for its members,” Duke wrote.

While ICANN ultimately rejected .xxx due to the lack of community support, ICM did manage to get some support from other areas of the adult community back in 2005.

ICANN was found at fault when it rejected .xxx. The question now is whether ICANN decides to stand by its first decision, to approve .xxx, or its second, to reject it.

Bottom line: It can’t win either way.

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Go Daddy follows Google out of China

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registrars

Go Daddy is to stop accepting new .cn registrations, after CNNIC demanded that it start collecting photographs and signed registration documents from Chinese customers.

General counsel Christine Jones told the Congressional Executive Committee on China that Go Daddy has also seen an increase in DDoS attacks, specifically against human rights sites that it hosts.

“Domain name registrars, including Go Daddy, were then instructed to obtain photo identification, business identification, and physical signed registration forms from all existing .CN domain name registrants who are Chinese nationals, and to provide copies of those documents to CNNIC,” she said.

Any domain without such documentation would have been blocked by China, she said.

“For these reasons, we have decided to discontinue offering new .CN domain names at this time. We continue to manage the .CN domain names of our existing customers,” she said.

Go Daddy has about 1,200 Chinese customers and 27,000 .cn domains on its books. The company is not going to block Chinese customers. What China will do about them remains to be seen.

The move comes at a tense time for US-China internet relations, with Google grabbing headlines all week due to its ongoing censorship row with the country.

Jones denied the move has anything to do with Google. “We made the decision that we didn’t want to act as an agent of the Chinese government,” she said.

I’ve uploaded a PDF of her written testimony here.

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Colombians not keen on .co grandfathering

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registries

Uptake of .co domains among existing .com.co registrants under the current “grandfathering” process has been quite low, according to .CO Internet chief executive Juan Diego Calle.

The formerly restrictive Colombian ccTLD is opening for global registrations soon, but the domain’s roughly 27,000 third-level registrants have already been given the chance to re-register their brands at the second level.

Calle told me earlier that only about 10% to 20% of .com.co registrants have chosen to do so. Grandfathering opened on March 1 and ends next Tuesday.

“Third-level domains are very well recognised in Colombia as a way to show you have a Colombian presence,” Calle said.

The sunrise period for trademark holders begins on April 1. Companies with trademarks registered in Colombia will be given priority, regardless of where the company is based.

I’ll be writing more about the .co launch tomorrow, to be published in a slightly more respectable venue.

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