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Russia's Internet Dilemma: .RU Domain Translates Into Cyrillic as .PY, the Domain Name of Paraguay

The growing cold war with Russia has a new front besides oil fields and undersea territorial claims: the internet. Russia's government is pushing for greater control over the Russian-language part of the net — and its aim seems to be to create a web that operates in Cyrillic, completely independent from the wider web.

The problem for Russia is that its top-level domain — with the ASCII suffix .ru — translates into Cyrillic as .py, the domain name of Paraguay. That could pose security problems for Russian users. Kim Davies of ICANN told the Guardian: "Russia has a second top level domain name of .ru in Ascii code, but is pushing for .rf in Cyrillic."

Read full story: Guardian Unlimited

Related topics: Censorship, DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, Security, Top-Level Domains

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Re: Russia's Internet Dilemma: .RU Domain Translates Into Cyrillic as .PY, the Domain Name of Paraguay Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jan 06, 2008 7:28 AM PST

More technically, it transliterates to Cyrillic characters that resemble "PY", but are actually distinct characters, with different Unicode positions.  Similarly, the old "USSR" didn't really transliterate to "CCCP" as widely believed by English-speakers, but to Cyrillic characters that resembled those Latin characters.  Computers have no problem keeping them distinct as they are completely different characters in their character sets; humans have more trouble distinguishing them, and this has been used in phishing scams.  (Even pure Latin character sets include some lookalike characters; depending on the font, an uppercase I, a lowercase l, and a number 1 might resemble one another, as do a letter O and a number 0.

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