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Is NIST's Recent Letter on o.com a Bureaucratic Coup d'Etat?

Greg Thomas Verisign recently informed ICANN that it had received a letter from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, regarding the proposed auction of o.com described in the Second Amendment to the .com Registry Agreement agreed to by ICANN and Verisign in March 2019. This letter, which doesn't appear to be on official letterhead, is from a NIST Grants Officer and purports to overturn a letter raising objections to the auction... more

Investing in Rural Broadband

Doug Dawson There was a headline in a recent FierceTelecom article that I thought I'd never see - Jeffries analyst says the rural broadband market is ripe for investment. In the article, analyst George Notter is quoted talking about how hot rural broadband is as an investment. He cites the large companies that have been making noise about investing in rural broadband. Of course, that investment relies on getting significant rural grants. more

Connectivity Starts at Home

Bob Frankston Today's Internet is just one application of the powerful idea of best-efforts connectivity. The home router (NAT) decouples the connectivity within the home from the larger internet, enabling innovation that leverages the Internet without being limited by it. Connectivity starts at home. Your computers and devices all interconnect locally. In a sense, the larger Internet is just one more connected device. You are free to innovate and experiment without asking a provider's permission. more

Making the Platform Relationship Win-Win

Alban Kwan CSC recently participated in an open discussion at the World Trademark Review's APAC WTR Connect, where we moderated a discussion with brand owners, Western Digital and PVH, and platform owner, Alibaba, on the topic: "Making the Platform Relationship Win-Win." How do brands define what a platform is? For the brand owners, a platform could be any distribution service of their products -- be it a traditional eCommerce marketplace like Alibaba or Amazon.com -- or other digital service enablers... more

New Research Indicates Nearly 80% of Top US Energy Companies Are at Serious Risk for Cyberattacks

Vincent D'Angelo In light of the Biden administration's recent efforts in protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats, new research from CSC indicates that a majority of the top energy companies in the U.S. are vulnerable to attack due to shortcomings in their online operations. Specifically, these organizations are vulnerable to domain name and domain name system (DNS) hijacking and phishing attacks based on their lack of effective domain security. more

The Multistakeholder Moment of Truth: Will Stakeholders Hold ICANN Accountable?

Greg Thomas During the two-year period preceding the IANA transition in 2016, there was a near-superhuman effort put forth by the community of stakeholders to design, debate, and deploy an accountability framework for ICANN that would serve to check and balance the coordinator of the global DNS. One of the overriding concerns that stakeholders sought to address was the possibility of ICANN being captured, and it was argued that the global community of stakeholders would serve as a "backstop" that would hold ICANN accountable. more

The 6G Hype is Already Starting

Doug Dawson Even though 5G hasn't yet made it onto any cellphone, the wireless vendor industry is already off and running looking at the next generation of wireless technology that has been dubbed as 6G. This recent article describes the European Union Hexa-X project that started in January to look at developing specifications for next-generation wireless technology using terahertz spectrum. more

Could Bulk-Registered Typosquatting Domains Be Connected to .ORG DNS Abuse?

Jonathan Zhang Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced the creation of the DNS Abuse Institute about two months ago as it believes that "every .ORG makes the world a better place" and "anything that gets in the way of that is a threat," notably in the form of Domain Name System (DNS) abuse. To show support for the initiative, WhoisXML API analyzed monthly typosquatting data feeds for December 2020, January 2021, and February 2021 to identify .ORG domain trends... more

Cybersecurity, an Essential Weapon in the Cyberwarfare to Protect Our Democracy

Paul Budde We see the problems that we are facing within an increasingly digital society and economy. We cannot go backward; the only way forward is to ensure that this new digital environment is made as safe as possible from a personal, social, political and economic perspective. We are currently struggling on these fronts. Unfortunately, we have now clearly entered a situation of cyber warfare. States now use digital technologies to impose and undermine ideologies. more

What Are the Connections to Identified Hafnium Malicious IP Addresses?

Jonathan Zhang Cyber attackers are very skilled at infiltration. They'd find ways into a house through cracks and holes that the homeowner doesn't know about. Analogically speaking, that's what the new cyber attack group dubbed "Hafnium" did when they identified several zero-day Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities to get into target networks. With thousands of users for every Microsoft Exchange server, the attack has far-reaching implications. First, it establishes the presence of a new threat actor group in town. What else could they be up to? more

Telling the Truth About 5G

Doug Dawson I still run across articles that extol the supposed wonders of 5G. The most recent, published in Gizmodo asks "How 5G Could Replace Your Home Broadband Connection". I was surprised to see an article like this in a tech-oriented site because the article gets most of the facts wrong about 5G - facts that are not hard to verify. This article talks about 5G having "faster download speeds, faster upload speeds, more bandwidth, and lower latency" than landline broadband. more

The Domain Industry Keeps on Growing and Changing

Simone Catania It has become very clear once again: the domain industry won't stop. The scenario we know today is constantly changing, and our industry adapts to the changes taking place in society and the economy. Thanks to its versatility, the domain industry continues to amaze with some big changes year after year. This sector has its own peculiarities, rules, and opportunities for all stakeholders involved. more

The Insult and Injury of the U.S. Government's Failure to Enforce ICANN's Contractual Obligation

Greg Thomas Someone recently observed that many stakeholders have fallen victim to a "chilling effect" resulting from fear of retaliation by the rich and powerful bullies currently infecting the multistakeholder community, ICANN, and Internet governance. I related to what I was hearing because I've been personally targeted and libelously attacked and it is deeply dismaying enough having to worry about threats to revenue and reputation along with other harmful effects of such thuggery. more

Loose Lips

Russ White When I was in the military, we were constantly drilled about the problem of Essential Elements of Friendly Information, or EEFIs. What are EEFis? If an adversary can cast a wide net of surveillance, they can often find multiple clues about what you are planning to do or who is making which decisions. For instance, if several people married to military members all make plans to be without their spouses for a long period of time, the adversary can be certain that a unit is about to be deployed. more

Why ICANN Rejected ISOC's Billion-Dollar Attempt At Feathering Its Own Nest With .org Sale?

Greg Thomas As I've pointed out in recent articles, the promises and obligations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are merged by direct reference into the InterNIC licensing agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN. This licensing agreement has been extended twice by mutual consent, most recently until January 2025. Therefore, the MOU's promises and obligations remain in effect through the InterNIC licensing agreement despite the fact that the MOU itself terminated in 2009. more

News Briefs

ISPs Saw a 30% Increase in Traffic During the Pandemic, 40% During Peak Business Hours

ISPs in the U.S. saw a significant surge in both downstream and upstream traffic, increasing at least 30% and as much as 40% during peak business hours and as much as 60% in some markets, according to a new report from the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).  more

PIR Launches New Institute to Combat DNS Abuse

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit operator of the .org top-level domain, today launched the DNS Abuse Institute, a centralized effort to combat DNS Abuse. In its news release, PIR said the Institute "will bring together leaders in the anti-abuse space to fund research, publish recommended practices, share data, and provide tools to identify and report DNS Abuse." more

Alphabet to Shut down Loon, its Balloon Based Internet Access Project

Despite several groundbreaking technical achievements over the past nine years, Google's parent company Alphabet has decided to end the Loon project. The company said the road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped.  more

DNSSEC Now Deployed in all Generic Top-Level Domains, Says ICANN

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers organization (ICANN org) announced that all of the current 1,195 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) have deployed Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). more

Donuts Completes the Acquisition of Afilias

Donuts stated today that it has completed the acquisition of Afilias announced on November 19. Donuts' CEO Akram Atallah says the company is now ready to begin the integration plan promising minimal disruptions to customers. more

The Government of Niue Launches Proceedings With ICANN to Reclaim Its .nu Top-Level Domain

The Government of Niue, a small island 2,400 kilometers northeast of New Zealand, launched proceedings today demanding a "redelegation" of its country code top-level domain, .nu, from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). more

A New Privacy-Focused DNS Protocol Released Called Oblivious

Cloudflare and Apple, along with Fastly, on Tuesday announced a new proposed DNS standard that separates IP addresses from queries preventing an entity from seeing both at the same time. more

Internet Society Extends Its Significant Financial Support Commitment to the IETF

According to an announcement on Monday, the Internet Society has agreed to extend its existing financial commitment to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for an additional term of six years. more

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Registers Its 50,000th "Cybersquatting" Case

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center on Monday announced it had registered its 50,000th "cybersquatting" case. The 50,000th case just received by WIPO coincides with the organization's 20th anniversary on November 20, 2020. more

DDoS Attacks Are Surging Both in Frequency and Sophistication

Cloudflare's new report warns about the significant increase of DDoS attacks and their level of sophistication. The numbers doubled from Q1 to Q2 and doubled again in Q3, resulting in a four-fold increase compared to the pre-COVID level in the first quarter. more

Donuts to Acquire Afilias

Donuts and Afilias announced today that Donuts is acquiring Afilias in a deal that is expected to close in December 2020 for an undisclosed amount. The combined entities will support over 25 million domain names spanning well over 400 TLDs. The deal will not include certain Afilias businesses, such as the mobile software and registrar businesses, which will remain with Afilias' original group of investors. more

U.S. Military Is Buying Location Data of People Around the World Through Ordinary Apps

The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of ordinary people worldwide, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, reports Motherboard. Among the apps connected to this type of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app with more than 98 million downloads worldwide. more

Backlash Over Potential Firing of U.S. Election Cybersecurity's Top Official

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with over forty other cybersecurity experts and organizations, are urging the White House to keep politics out of securing this month's election in the U.S. more

SpaceX Gets FCC’s Approval to Bid in a Federal Auction for Rural-Broadband Funding

SpaceX's Starlink project appears to be the only low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite ISP among close to 400 ISPs to qualify to bid in a U.S. federal rural-broadband funding auction. more

New Data Reveals Phishing Attacks Are Bigger Than Reported, Exact Size of Problem Unknown

A group of experts from Interisle Consulting Group released a paper today, reporting a comprehensive study of the phishing landscape in 2020. The study's goal was to capture and analyze a large set of information about phishing attacks to better understand how much phishing is taking place, where it is taking place, and better ways to fight them. more

CENTR Has Released an Animated Video on ccTLDs and Their Technical Role Concerning Content

Due to increased legislative interest in this topic, CENTR says there is a pressing need for comprehensive educational material on the technical capabilities of the DNS, ccTLDs and their role in the internet ecosystem. more

New Digital Services Act Should Not Disrupt Internet's Technical Operations, Warn RIPE NCC, CENTR

RIPE NCC and CENTR have released a statement today in response to the upcoming European Commission's Digital Services Act, urging policymakers to distinguish between the Internet's core infrastructure and operations. more

First Round of U.S. Layoffs Due to Huawei Blockade

Neophotonics, the Nasdaq-listed producer of various optical communications products, including silicon photonics and photonic integrated circuits (PICs), warned investor this week that the new restrictions on business with China's Huawei - its largest customer - could have a major impact on future sales. more

ICANN Introduces Pandemic Internet Access Reimbursement Program

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Monday announced its Pandemic Internet Access Program Pilot for the upcoming ICANN69 meetings. more

China Accuses Washington of Damaging Global Trade With Huawei Sanctions

Today, China accused Washington of damaging global trade with sanctions against the tech giant Huawei and says it will protect Chinese companies. more

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Industry Updates

"Voltswagen": April Fool's Prank, Brand Turmoil, and Bulk Domain Registrations

WhoisXML API The accidental leak of Volkswagen's new name that turned out to be an April Fool's prank made headlines. Some were relieved that it was just a marketing stunt, while others cried foul. But those in the field of cybersecurity became more curious. What did the cyber world look like during the supposed leakage until the announcement that it was a prank? more

Leasing IPv4 Addresses in the Dawn of the New Internet Era

IPXO Increased use of internet services, broader application of IoT devices, and COVID-related shift to remote work are just a few factors accelerating the transition to the new era of the Internet. However, the current network architecture is falling behind the imposed expectations to support new-age integrations, leaving one to wonder if the gap will close up any time soon. more

What Are the Common Forms of Bulk Domain & Typosquatting Registrations?

WhoisXML API Typosquatting can enable a variety of cyber threats that include but are not limited to phishing, malware-enabled attacks, and vulnerability exploitation. In a nutshell, the attackers can rely on the technique to mimic legitimate solution and service providers' domains to trick users into thinking they are getting update notifications from their vendors, for example, when they are actually not. more

Together for the Good of the Internet: eco Complaints Office Registers More Reports Than Ever Before

eco For 25 years, the Complaints Office of eco -- Association of the Internet Industry has been successfully combatting illegal content on the Internet. The 2020 report now available shows that the independent hotline is making a significant contribution to the take-down and criminal investigation of illegal content. more

We Detected and Analyzed Thousands of CCTV-, Firewall-, and SCADA-themed Domains & Subdomains

WhoisXML API Did you know that a comprehensive subdomain database can give you 69,383 fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) with the string "firewall," 241,654 FQDNs for "cctv," and 19,048 FQDNs for "scada"? That data can give cybersecurity researchers possible starting points for an article or even a full-blown research paper. more

DNS Over HTTPS: Spanish Version of eco Discussion Paper on DoH Available

eco Throughout the history of the Internet, traditional DNS traffic - for example, when a user types a website name into a browser - has largely been unencrypted. The DNS over HTTPS (DoH) protocol, which first emerged in 2018, makes use of the well-known secure HTTPS web protocol to change that. more

How Reverse IP Lookup API Can Help Detect Connected Domains

Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) In 2020, reports say 94% of malware were delivered via email. Phishing remains a threat, as it accounts for more than 80% of security incidents that can cost victims almost US$18,000 per minute. more

MarkMonitor Releases New gTLD Quarterly Report for Q1 2021

MarkMonitor The Q1 2021 New gTLD Quarterly Report from our MarkMonitor team examines .kpmg usage, new gTLD Alexa.com rankings, recent launch analyses, and potential policy effects on .brand 'next round' applicants. more

What Is a VPN Detection API? How Does It Work?

Ipify Privacy is of great concern to a majority of Internet users -- and legitimately so. After all, not all of the companies that handle personal data reveal where they use the information. Privacy is one of the primary reasons for the use of VPNs, proxies, and even Tor. more

Come April, Nothing Is Certain Except Phishing and Taxes

WhoisXML API In the past years, threat actors have made it a point to prey on U.S. taxpayers using phishing emails supposedly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The goal is often to trick victims into giving their login credentials to various platforms. This year is no different. more

90-Day Digital Certificate Life Cycles: Get Ahead of the Curve Now

CSC In August 2020, we wrote an article on preparing for the reduction of certificate life cycles from two years to one. Discussions continue, and given the push for shorter certificate terms by the CA/B Forum - in particular the browsers - we predict the move to lower certificate life cycles will continue, and that terms will be reduced to 90 days within the next 24 months. more

Expanding the List of Artifacts for the Recent JPMorgan Chase Squatting Campaign

WhoisXML API On 13 March, IBM X-Force Exchange published nine artifacts -- three domain names and six IP addresses -- related to a squatting campaign targeting JPMorgan Chase and its stakeholders. We dug deeper into the list in hopes of publicizing additional artifacts that users may need to be wary of. more

LexisNexis Announces Alliance With Appdetex to Bring Online Brand Protection to Europe, Middle East

Appdetex Today, LexisNexis announced its alliance with Appdetex to bring online brand protection to Europe and the Middle East. This expansion with LexisNexis will enable a broader reach for us to help protect the reputation, relationships, and revenue online of global customers. more

Radix Reports Over 36% Growth in Profit for 2020, Revenue Grows by Over 31%

Radix Radix, one of the world's largest nTLD portfolio registries, announced today that it grossed over $28M in total revenue in 2020, a 31% rise over its revenue in 2019. The registry's net profit also grew by 36% in comparison to last year. Overall, Q3 2020 was its strongest quarter.
 more

The i2Coalition Invites the Public to Help Shape the Future of VPNs

i2Coalition Virtual Private Networks help ensure data flows between endpoints are private and secure. This means VPN users can enhance their online anonymity, bypass geographic restrictions, secure data transfers, and more. And yet, there are still legitimate concerns that a small number of VPNs - either accidentally or intentionally - expose users to greater risk than if they hadn't used a VPN at all. more

An In-Depth Look at the Risks Kozow.com Subdomains May Pose to Internet Users

WhoisXML API Kozow[.]com hosts the website of free dynamic Domain Name System (DNS) service provider Dynu Systems. It has been cited for ties to several malicious activities over the past few months. To see if it would be a good idea for organizations to consider blocking the domain from their networks, we collated a list of kozow[.]com subdomains and subjected them to deeper scrutiny. more

How Do You Choose the Best Threat Intelligence Platform for Your Company?

WhoisXML API Experts often say every cyber threat intelligence team needs a threat intelligence platform, but what is it really and how do you choose the best one for your company? Andreas Sfakianakis, in his recent SANS Institute CTI Summit 2021 talk titled "Excelling at Threat Intelligence Platform Requirements," inspired us to take a deeper look. more

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