On February 16, 2012 ICANN took the new step of suspending the Registrar Alantron's ability to register new names or accept inbound domain transfers. This new compliance tool was used following Alantron's apparently inadequate response to a breach notice issued November 7, 2011.
The issue in part concerns Alantron's perpetual problems with Port 43 WHOIS access which is required by the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
According to the notice, contact on the issue began on September 1, 2011, but may have had an even earlier origin. The 2011 breach notice could have been a cut-and-paste from a 2010 breach notice to Alantron concerning Port 43.
According to our tests Alantron's Port 43 failed several times in February and has more failures in March. However, Alantron is hardly alone in this boat. Samjung Data Service Co and Open System Ltd received breach notices (since cured) for Port 43 and Best Bulk Register was terminated for it.
ICANN conducted a Port 43 Audit between September 2010 and February 2011 and found 11 Registrars with Port 43 issues, all fixed except the above cited. Unfortunately, periodic audits do not capture the scope of the problem. Port 43 outages can simply be temporary or intermittent but the effects during these periods are truly problematic. Even a brief 24-hour outage can result in thousands of failed queries from legitimate users. Periodic audits must be enhanced with daily testing and regular reporting. Daily testing of all Port 43 has shown some Registrars have outages for days, even weeks in a given month, not necessarily for a prolonged time which catches ICANN's attention. On a monthly basis we find a dozen or more Registrars with regular outages or inconsistent service.
Before we all step into the great beyond of expanded gTLDs, a persistent contract requirement calls for persistent monitoring. The outcome of Alantron's case, set for a March 28th deadline, should tell us something of what to expect.
|Cybersquatting||Policy & Regulation|
|DNS Security||Registry Services|
|IP Addressing||White Space|
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