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Domain Pulse 2008: Day 2 Focuses on DNS Security

Day two of Domain Pulse 2008 last Friday (see review of day one) focused on online security issues giving the techies amongst us details of security issues, and the more policy-orientated amongst us something to chew on in a few other presentations. Kieren McCarthy, these days of ICANN, also gave some insights into the drawn out sex.com drama with more twists and turns than the average soap opera has in a year! And Randy Bush outlined the problems with IPv6. Among other presentations.

Barbara Schlossbauer (nic.at), Nicole Beranek Zanon (SWITCH) and Stephan Welzel (Denic) spoke of problems with phishing, and what legal authority does a registry have when it comes to a website or email address being used for illegal or illicit activities, one of which would be phishing. This discussion came about from an issue last year in which Spamhaus listed nic.at for “knowingly providing services” to what they called hundreds of spam phishing domains that were run by a Russian cybercrime phishing gang, called ‘Rock Phish’ in June 2007. One of those domains affected was that of a large Austrian university.

The answer from all three was a registry has no legal right to delete a domain name—the domain name itself is not the problem, the domain name is not responsible for the phishing and the domain name does not violate any laws nor is any fraud committed by the domain name. It is the content of the website or email that causes the problems they agreed.

If the domain name constitutes an obvious violation of the law, in Austria for example, the Supreme Court has said nic.at is not responsible if it is used exclusively used for explicit content. And content itself is not part of the terms and conditions and so phishing is not included. Further, registries are not law enforcement bodies, but private companies.

The long drawn out saga of sex.com has recently been published in a book by Kieran McCarthy who outlined some of the tales from his book, giving some light entertainment for a Friday afternoon. The stealing of sex.com by Stephen Cohen who could see a use for the domain name, whereas Gary Kremen could not, created a drama that began in 1995 and in a way, is still not finalised today but was the subject of a ten year court battle. However none of the money the courts ordered Cohen to pay Kremen has found its way to his pockets. Instead Cohen fled to Mexico where he remains in exile to this day.

Also, for anyone wanting to buy the book Sex.com, go to SexDotCom.info website for more information, or check out Amazon UK here.

While we all wait for IPv4 addresses to run out, Randy Bush painted a picture of the problems involved and what is happening. For starters, IPv4 addresses are going to get expensive, and soon, as addresses run out as is often reported. This has been predicted for the last ten years by Frank Solensky and latterly by Geoff Huston. However despite the depletion of IPv4 addresses, planning for IPv4 has been poor with no serious thought to operational transition, said Bush. And to compound the problem, IPv4 and IPv6 are incompatible, so all IPv6 addresses will need a translator.

The end of Domain Pulse 2008 was marked by a presentation to nic.at for their 10th birthday with a huge birthday cake from SWITCH! This was followed by the traditional passing of the baton to Denic to mark the countdown to next year’s Domain Pulse to be hosted by Denic on February 12 and 13, 2009 in Dresden.

All presentations from Domain Pulse are available on the conference website under “programm” or “programme” depending on your language choice, but all presentations are in the language of presentation.

Domain Pulse is a very good conference for the German language domain name industry, but is spreading its influence far and wide, especially throughout Europe. The hosts always put on a good conference with great food and organisation, along with a varied and interesting range of speakers.

By David Goldstein, Consultant, researcher, analyst and online news monitoring

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