Executive Vice President & CTO, Afilias
Joined on August 5, 2004
Total Post Views: 368,541
Ram Mohan is the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Afilias Limited where he directs the company's strategy and operations worldwide.
Ram Mohan serves as the Security & Stability Advisory Committee's liaison to the Board of Directors of ICANN. He helped write the IDN Guidelines that has been widely adopted by registries worldwide and is an active participant in Internationalization efforts worldwide. He is a member of the ICANN Security & Stability Committee (SSAC), and has served on four ICANN Nominating Committees (NomCom). Ram was the Chair of the ICANN GNSO Internationalized Domain Names Working Group and a member of the ICANN Whois task force. He sits on the boards of various educational and leadership organizations in the Philadelphia area.
Ram helped guide Afilias from a startup firm in 2001 with $0 in revenues into the world's largest domain name registry service provider, serving over 14 million domain names. He led the team that conducted the historic transition of the .ORG registry from VeriSign to the non-profit Public Interest Registry, and helped create the technology, business and policy foundations behind the successful .mobi and .asia top level domains and the launch of the .me domain in 2008. In 2004, Ram and his company were appointed as a technology advisor to the Indian Government to liberalize the .IN country code domain name. Working in close coordination with government, industry and civil society, Ram led the team responsible for the transformation of the .IN domain from 7,000 names registered at the start of 2005 to over 500,000 names in 2008.
Afilias, based in Ireland with offices in the US, Canada, India, UK and Germany, is the registry operator for the .INFO and .AERO domains, the registry services provider for the .ORG, .MOBI and .ASIA domains and 8 sovereign country domains (ccTLDs).
The opinions posted here are Ram's and not those of Afilias.
Except where otherwise noted, all postings by Ram Mohan on CircleID are licensed under a Creative Commons License.
The Internet is undergoing an evolutionary transformation resulting from the explosive growth of things that are interconnected. From single purpose sensors through wearable technologies to sophisticated computing devices, we are creating, exchanging, and consuming more data at rates that would have been inconceivable just a decade ago. The market suggests the average consumer believes this is the best world possible. As technologists, we have a responsibility to consider if we are building an Internet that is in the best interest of the user. more»
Are you ready to help me make the Internet more secure? Here's your chance to join me in a project to create an open-source hardware device to protect email, files and other data from hackers and government spies. The CrypTech Project was founded in late 2013 after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US and other governments were exploiting weak cryptography and loose standards to gain access to citizens' email, documents, and other files. more»
In my last blog post I shared some of the general security challenges that come with the Internet of Things (IoT). In this post, I will focus on one particular security risk: distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Even before the age of IoT, DDoS attacks have been turning multitudes of computers into botnets, attacking a single target and causing denial of services for the target's users. By "multitudes" we can be talking about thousands or even millions of victim devices. Now add IoT into the equation... more»
News flash: to help fight California's drought, Samsung is offering a $100,000 prize to the innovator who creates "the most effective use of IoT and ARTIK [Samsung's IoT platform] technology for reducing water consumption by individuals or municipalities." When the average reader of this news headline needs no explanation of what "IoT" means or what this contest is about, we know IoT, or the Internet of Things, is for real. There are already an estimated 25 billion connected devices around the world, according to expert estimates. more»
The latest Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) Global Phishing Survey, which analyzed over 100,000 phishing attacks in the first half of 2014, examines the progress that top level domains (TLDs) are making in responding to phishing attacks that use their TLDs. The report finds the .INFO domain has the lowest average phishing uptimes as compared to other TLDs, such as .COM and .NET. more»
On August 27, 2014, the world became a bit more connected as the Internet welcomed more than 400 million Hindi language speakers in their own language. .भारत (.Bharat), which means India in the Hindi language, was inaugurated on August 27 in New Delhi by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's Minister of Law & Justice and Communications & Information Technology. more»
I've often found truth in the famous George Santayana quote, "Those that cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." That's an apt warning for what is currently happening - again - with the hundreds of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that are launching ... and failing to work as expected on the Internet. First, a quick refresher: As most CircleID readers know, in the early 2000s, seven new gTLDs were launched: .AERO, .BIZ, .COOP, .INFO, .MUSEUM, .NAME and .PRO. Aside from Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs), these were the first top-level changes to the DNS since the early days of the Internet. more»
Despite security advances over the past year, including the increased deployment of DNSSEC, pirates continue to wreak havoc on the Internet. But before you decide that Internet security innovations are futile, consider this: online criminals are just like burglars in the physical world; they don't take new ways of blocking their best efforts lying down. They come up with new and, in some cases, stronger plans of attack. more»
Like many of us in the technology industry, I am captivated by the growing adoption of mobile. It's changing multiple industries at a pace that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. And my own interest accelerated when Afilias acquired another Irish company named dotMobi. ...since a mobile domain is not useful without mobile sites, dotMobi developed a site-building tool called goMobi that is used globally by hundreds of thousands of site owners. Because of that, we have unique information about who is using the mobile Web, and how they're using it. more»
As regular readers know, ICANN holds lengthy, in-depth discussions devoted to DNSSEC at each of its three annual meetings. The half-day session held at ICANN 43 in Costa Rica last month was particularly interesting. What became clear is that the industry is quickly moving into the end-user adoption phase of global DNSSEC deployment. more»
On January 18, 2012, Comcast customers found they could not access the NASA.gov website. Some users assumed that Comcast was deliberately blocking the website or that NASA, like Wikipedia and Reddit, was participating in the "blackout" protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) going on that day. As it turned out, the truth was much less exciting, but it offers important lessons about DNSSEC. more»
While the global rollout of DNSSEC continues at the domain name registry level - with more than 25% of top-level domains now signed - the industry continues to focus on the problem of registrar, ISP and ultimately end-user adoption. At the ICANN meeting in Dakar in late October, engineers from some of the early-adopting registries gathered for their regular face-to-face discussion about how to break the "chicken or egg" problems of secure domain name deployment. more»
The Internet is slowly beginning to adopt the new DNSSEC domain names standard, but significant challenges remain. That was the main takeaway from a four-hour workshop on the technology held during the recent ICANN 41 public meeting in Singapore, which heard from many domain registries, registrars and other infrastructure providers. more»
I recently wrote about the encouraging level of DNSSEC adoption among top-level domain name registries, and noted that adoption at the second level and in applications is an important next step for adding more security to the DNS. The root and approximately 20 percent of the top level domains are now signed; it is time for registrars and recursive DNS servers operated by the ISPs to occupy center stage. more»
Less than nine months after the DNS root was signed, the rollout of DNSSEC across the Internet's top-level domains is approaching the tipping point. Thanks to the combined efforts of registries around the world, the new security protocol will soon be available to the majority of domain name registrants in almost a quarter of all TLDs. more»
DNSSEC is being rolled out quickly in top-level domain registries around the world, but there's still some way to go to encourage other Internet stakeholders to adopt the new security technology. That was one of the key takeaways from a day-long, comprehensive session on Domain Name System Security Extensions implementation worldwide, held during ICANN's public meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, last week. more»
Yesterday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. government hosted a workshop discussing the state of IPv6 in the United States and its impact on industry, government, and the Internet economy. I was asked to be a panelist, along with industry executives from ARIN, ISOC, ICANN, Comcast, Akamai, Verizon, Google, VeriSign, DOE, NIST, and DREN. Moderated by Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer of the United States, this was the first event in the past few years to truly shine a spotlight on IPv6 adoption (or lack thereof) and introduce key directives to move this issue forward. more»
If the rise of phishing has taught us anything, it's that on the Internet, if a digital asset has value, there's somebody out there who wants to steal it. Whether it's a bank account password, a credit card number, a PayPal login, or even a magic sword in an online game, there's a fraudster somewhere trying to misappropriate it for his or her own nefarious purposes. Domain names have always been a target for such criminals. more»
July 15, 2010 (yesterday) marked the end of the beginning for DNSSEC, as the DNS root was cryptographically signed. For nearly two decades, security researchers, academics and Internet leaders have worked to develop and deploy Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). DNSSEC was developed to improve the overall security of the DNS, a need which was dramatized by the discovery of the Kaminsky bug a few years ago. more»
Attendees at the public ICANN meeting in Brussels today heard from over two dozen companies that have implemented or are planning to support DNSSEC, the next-generation standard protocol for secured domain names. It is clearer than ever before that DNSSEC is becoming a reality. more»
The deployment of Domain Security Extensions (DNSSEC) has crossed another milestone this month with the publication of DURZ (deliberately unvalidatable root zone) in all DNS root servers on 5 May 2010. While this change was virtually invisible to most Internet users, this event and the remaining testing that will occur over these next two months will dictate the ultimate success of DNSSEC deployment across the Internet. more»
You may have seen media reports a few weeks ago describing how servers behind the so-called Great Firewall of China were found delivering incorrect DNS information to users in the rest of the world, thereby redirecting users to edited Web pages. Reports indicate that this apparently occurred due to a caching error by a single Internet Service Provider. While the problem was fairly limited in scope, it could have entirely been prevented in a world where DNSSEC was fully deployed. more»
A big security news event last night and today is that the Twitter.com Web site was hacked and content on the site replaced. TechCrunch reported it and it has been picked up globally. But - was the Twitter.com website really hacked? We now know it was not so. There are four ways that users typing in Twitter.com would have seen the Iranian Cyber Army page. more»
So Domain Tasting, where registrants (who may also be registrars) taste names and keep only those that have economic value, is now the target of a federal cybersquatting lawsuit, brought about by lawyers for major brand name retailers Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman against major domain name registrar Dotster. This Dotster lawsuit involves allegations of cybersquatting by registrars who use the Create Grace Period, which is mandated by ICANN for global registries... more»
Today, the ITU launched a new survey asking member states, ccTLDs and other ITU member organizations to provide answers to a specialized questionnaire asking for their experiences on the use of IDNs. The ITU states that it is reaching out to ccTLDs to "collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe." One of the goals of this survey is to collate information on the "needs and practices" of each ccTLD that is surveyed -- so as to compile a report from the ITU that speaks to the implementation of IDNs around the world... more»
In the late summer of 2006, the ICANN Nominating Committee will convene to select three members to the ICANN Board of Directors, and four members to various councils. Depending on the global visibility of the nominees, and the current political and technical currents pulling at the Internet community, these nominations will be both pilloried and lauded in different circles. This process of selecting a good ICANN board member is astonishingly complex; I should know, having served on the founding NomCom in 2003, and the succeeding NomComs in 2004 and 2005. By far the biggest challenge is finding good candidates... more»
Wikis have been around for a long time on the Web. It's taken a while for them to transform from geek tool to a mainstream word, but we're here now. Last week at the ICANN Meeting in Vancouver, it was fun to watch hundreds of people get introduced to Wikis and start using them, thanks to Ray King's ICANN Wiki project. In the past few days since, I've come to believe that Wikis are doomed unless they start thinking about security in a more serious way. more»
When 72 candidates vie for 8 positions, making tough choices are inevitable. ICANN's 2005 Nominating Committee (Nom-Com) on Friday announced the selection of a diverse and independent set of nominees for important roles in ICANN, including the Board of Directors, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), the At-Large Advisory Council (ALAC) and the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO). more»
India is one of the world's fastest growing economies, the global leader in outsourcing and the service computing, and home to over a billion people. But when I first met officials from the Indian government to discuss their plans for .IN, India had a total of just about 7,000 .IN registrations, fewer than most small countries have. ...(Compare to 100,000 names registered last month alone) This is one of the most rapid starts of any domain worldwide. In my conversations with senior officials of the Indian Government and the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) which manages the .IN Registry, they credited three key decisions that proved critical to the success of the domain's re-launch... more»