News and Updates

My thoughts on employee turnover at Uniregistry

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-09-19 14:26

Here are some probable reasons you’re seeing visible turnover at Uniregistry.

On Friday, Konstantinos Zournas at OnlineDomain wrote about something people have been mumbling about on message boards for a couple months now: turnover at Frank Schilling’s company Uniregistry.

Konstantinos is correct. There has been quite a bit of visible turnover at the company. A lot happened over the summer, but there has certainly been turnover for a while. I have explained DNW to a couple marketing people at Uniregistry, only to have them leave a week or two later. (I hope that’s not correlated!)

I think there are many reasons for this.

First, I should state that I know for a fact that not everyone leaving Uniregistry has been let go. Some have left on their own volition. Others have been fired.

I also know that headcount at the company is at or near its peak. So the company isn’t laying off people as a cut-your-way-to-profitability plan.

That said, here are some reasons I think Uniregistry has had visible turnover lately:

1. Grand Cayman. Not everyone who works at the company lives in Cayman. But for those that relocate there, I imagine it takes a special circumstance to really embrace it. It’s a small place and certainly not for everyone. I could never talk my family into moving there. If I did, I think they’d constantly nag me to return to the States. Some people love it, but it would be hard for others.

2. Frank is a demanding guy. Frank Schilling didn’t get rich just by being lucky. Read any profile of the man and you’ll know he worked like crazy to snap up domains in the early 2000s. He’s going to expect his employees to work extremely hard, too. His extreme expectations might not mix with the balance some employees seek.

3. It’s a sales organization. While there are a lot of tech employees at Uniregistry, a large number of employees are salespeople. Sales departments have lots of turnover. It’s a numbers game. (I imagine sales head Jeffrey Gabriel is also a demanding, numbers-driven boss. Otherwise, he’d no longer be with the company.)

4. New TLDs. New top level domains aren’t doing well. Uniregistry’s TLDs aren’t hitting the numbers the company hoped for and that’s not going to change anytime soon. I’m not sure if some layoffs were directly related to new TLD sales, but when sales are going gangbusters at a company they often don’t bother to cut the dead weight. A revenue miss will lead any company owner to take a hard look at his or her team and make some difficult decisions.

That’s my four cents.

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Global Domain Registrations Pass the 331 Million Mark - ccTLDs Growing Faster Than Overall Market

DN Journal - Mon, 2017-09-18 22:42
Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief. The number of domains on the web grew by nearly 7 million over the past year.
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Net Neutrality Advocates Planning Two Days of Protest in Washington DC

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-09-18 17:53

A coalition of activists and consumer groups are planning to gather in Washington, DC to meet directly with the members of Congress, as they protest plans to defang regulations meant to protect an open internet.

The event organizer, Fight for the Future, is running a dedicated website '' in which it states in part: "On September 26-27 Internet users from across the country will converge on Washington, DC to meet directly with their members of Congress, which is by far the most effective way to influence their positions and counter the power of telecom lobbyists and campaign contributions. ... The only thing that can stop them is a coordinated grassroots effort of constituents directly pressuring our members of Congress, who have the power to stop the FCC and vote down bad legislation."

Participating organizations in the protest include Fight for the Future, Public Knowledge, EFF, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Consumers Union, Free Press and the Writers Guild of America West. See additional report by Dominic Rushe in The Guardian.

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Analysis: next generation companies in China still prefer .com

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-09-18 17:41

Kassey Lee reviews top level domain usage by top new internet companies in China.

Several years ago some domain experts predicted that the next generation companies would prefer new extensions because of better names at lower prices than .com. Is this trend happening now? I want to know, so do people investing in the Chinese domain market.

Long established magazine CI Week has recently published the “2017 Top 300 New Internet Companies” (2017新互联网公司TOP300) list, which provides an excellent source to study this trend.

I have selected the top 30 companies from the list for a detailed analysis. For each of the companies, I used Baidu search to find the domain name for its corporate site. The result is shown in the table below.

RankNameNameDomain 1京东金融Jing Dong Jin 2众安保险Zhongg An Bao 3易鑫金融Yi Xin Jin 4摩拜单车Mo Bai Dan Che (Mobike) 5泰康在线Tai Kang Zai 6微众银行Wei Zhong Yin 7蜻蜓FMQing Ting 851信用卡51 Xin Yong 9熊猫TVXiong Mao 10乐视体育Le Shi Ti 11瓜子二手车直卖网Gua Zi Er Shou Che Zhi Mai 12美菜网Mei Cai 13趣分期Qu Fen 14小赢理财Xiao Ying Li 15中商惠民网Zhong Shang Hui Min 16龙珠TVLong 17ofo共享单车OFO Gong Xiang Dan ( 18摩比神奇360 SecurityMo Bi Shen Qi 19碳云智能科技Tan Yun Zhi Neng Ke 20好屋中国Hao Wu Zhong 21掌众金融Zhang Zhong Jin 22波奇网Bo Qi 23理财网Li Cai 24贝贝网Bei Bei 25TalkingData(腾云天下) 26车和家Che He 27云鸟配送Yun Niao Pei 28e袋洗e Dai 29斗鱼TVDou Yu 30人人车Ren Ren

The result is very clear: 77% of the next generation companies prefer .com and only 17% use .cn. The only two non-mainstream extensions spotted are .tv and .fm. Therefore, .com is still king! If you want the largest pool of corporate buyers, stick with .com.

Why no change at all? Consumers are busy, and remembering less is better. However, new extensions require consumers to remember not just the name but also the extension of a domain name. This is a big ask. Amazon knows this issue well. They popularized one-click online shopping, after all.

Digging deeper, we see that 70% of the domain names match their brands. This means most startups in China understand the power of a brand-matching domain name: if you remember a brand, you know what products it represents and where to buy them online.

You may notice Pinyin names are popular: 60% of the domain names are Pinyin. However, I caution startups to study their desired Pinyin name to make sure it can be used globally. Is it easy to pronounce? Some good Pinyin names in the list are and On the other hand, names such as and may be challenging outside China. There is a workaround, however, by upgrading to a short acronym such as and in this example.

In short, .com will remain the golden standard in corporate China.

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Forty Percent of New Generic TLDs Shrinking, According to Domain Incite Analysis

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-09-18 16:39

Forty percent of non-brand new gTLDs are shrinking, reports Kevin Murphy in Domain Incite: "According to numbers culled from registry reports, 172 of the 436 commercial gTLDs we looked at had fewer domains under management at the start of June than they did a year earlier. ... As you might expect, registries with the greatest exposure to the budget and/or Chinese markets were hardest hit over the period. .wang, .red, .ren, .science and .party all saw DUM decline by six figures. Another 27 gTLDs saw declines of over 10,000 names."

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Will Chatbots change the web? – DNW Podcast #153

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-09-18 15:30

How you can leverage chatbots in your business.

Everyone is talking about Chatbots. This week I talk to chatbot expert Peter Lisoskie of Chatbot Nation about how businesses can use chatbots and how they might change our interaction with the web. There’s an interesting use case for domain registrars, too. Listening to this episode might give you some great business ideas. Also: Trending names, a $275k value, Hurrican Irma, Topcoin, strong new TLD sales and more.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

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Google reminds everyone how .mobi domains are stupid

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-09-18 13:55

.Mobi domains used to have a point. Now they don’t.

Last week Google posted a quick guide to moving from a subdomain for a mobile site to just using the same domain and a responsive site. The post doesn’t mention .mobi, but the same concept applies: In 2017, there’s no reason to have a separate website for mobile browsers.

.Mobi made a lot of sense when it was launched in 2006. It seemed quite prescient the following year when Apple launched the original iPhone.

But maintaining separate websites for mobile and larger browsers doesn’t make much sense anymore. Now, everyone should create a responsive website that adjusts based on the size of the browser.

Maintaining two different sites is bad for SEO and costs more money.

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Preliminary Thoughts on the Equifax Hack

Domain industry news - Sun, 2017-09-17 18:08

As you've undoubtedly heard, the Equifax credit reporting agency was hit by a major attack, exposing the personal data of 143 million Americans and many more people in other countries. There's been a lot of discussion of liability; as of a few days ago, at least 25 lawsuits had been filed, with the state of Massachusetts preparing its own suit. It's certainly too soon to draw any firm conclusions about who, if anyone, is at fault — we need more information, which may not be available until discovery during a lawsuit — but there are a number of interesting things we can glean from Equifax's latest statement.

First and foremost, the attackers exploited a known bug in the open source Apache Struts package. A patch was available on March 6. Equifax says that their "Security organization was aware of this vulnerability at that time, and took efforts to identify and to patch any vulnerable systems in the company's IT infrastructure." The obvious question is why this particular system was not patched.

One possible answer is, of course, that patching is hard. Were they trying? What does "took efforts to identify and to patch" mean? Were the assorted development groups actively installing the patch and testing the resulting system? It turns out that this fix is difficult to install:

You then have to hope that nothing is broken. If you're using Struts 2.3.5 then in theory Struts 2.3.32 won't break anything. In theory it's just bug fixes and security updates, because the major.minor version is unchanged. In theory.

In practice, I think any developer going from 2.3.5 to 2.3.32 without a QA cycle is very brave, or very foolhardy, or some combination of the two. Sure, you'll have your unit tests (maybe), but you'll probably need to deploy into your QA environment and do some kind of integration testing too. That's assuming, of course, that you have a compatible QA environment within which you can deploy your old, possibly abandoned application.

Were they trying hard enough, i.e., devoting enough resources to the problem?

Ascertaining liability here — moral and/or legal — can't be done without seeing the email traffic between the security organization and the relevant development groups; you'd also have to see the activity logs (code changes, test runs, etc.) of these groups. Furthermore, if problems were found during testing, it might take quite a while to correct the code, especially if there were many Struts apps that needed to be fixed.

As hard as patching and testing are, though, when there are active exploitations going on you have to take the risk and patch immediately. That was the case with this vulnerability. Did the Security group know about the active attacks or not? If they didn't, they probably aren't paying enough attention to important information sources. Again, this is information we're only likely to learn through discovery. If they did know, why didn't they order a flash-patch? Did they even know which systems were vulnerable? Put another way, did they have access to a comprehensive database of hardware and software systems in the company? They need one — there are all sorts of other things you can't do easily without such a database. Companies that don't invest up front in their IT infrastructure will hurt in many other ways, too. Equifax has a market capitalization of more than $17 billion; they don't really have an excuse for not running a good IT shop.

It may be, of course, that Equifax knew all of that and still chose to leave the vulnerable servers up. Why? Apparently, the vulnerable machine was their "U.S. online dispute portal". I'm pretty certain that they're required by law to have a dispute mechanism, and while it probably doesn't have to be a website (and some people suggest that complainants shouldn't use it anyway), it's almost certainly a much cheaper way to receive disputes than is paper mail. That opens the possibility that there was a conscious decision that taking the risk was worthwhile. Besides, if many applications needed patching and they had limited development resources, they'd have had to set priorities on whic web servers were more at risk. Again, we need more internal documents to know.

Some text in the announcement does suggest either ignorance or a conscious decision to delay patching — the timeline from Equifax implies that they were able to patch Struts very quickly after observing anomalous network traffic to that server. That is, once they knew that there was a specific problem, rather than a potential one, they were able to respond very quickly. Alternatively, this server was on the "must be patched" list, but was too low down on the priority list until the actual incident was discovered.

We thus have several possible scenarios: difficulty in patching a large number of Struts applications, ignorance of the true threat, inadequate IT infastructure, or a conscious decision to wait, possibly for priority reasons. The first and perhaps last would seem to be exculpatory; the others would seem to leave the company in a bad moral position. But without more data we can't distinguish among these cases.

A more interesting question is why it took Equifax so long to detect the breach. They did notice anomalous network traffic, but not until July 29. Their statement says that data was exposed starting May 13. Did they have inadequate intrusion detection? That might be more serious from a liability standpoint — unlike patching, running an IDS doesn't risk breaking things. You need to tune your IDS correctly to avoid too many false positives, and you need to pay attention to alerts, but beyond dispute an enterprise of Equifax's scale should have such deployed. It is instructive to read what Judge Learned Hand wrote in 1932 in a liability case when some barges sank because the tugboat did not have a weather radio:

Indeed in most cases reasonable prudence is in fact common prudence; but strictly it is never its measure; a whole calling may have unduly lagged in the adoption of new and available devices. It may never set its own tests, however persuasive be its usages. Courts must in the end say what is required; there are precautions so imperative that even their universal disregard will not excuse their omission… But here there was no custom at all as to receiving sets; some had them, some did not; the most that can be urged is that they had not yet become general. Certainly in such a case we need not pause; when some have thought a device necessary, at least we may say that they were right, and the others too slack… We hold [against] the tugs therefore because [if] they had been properly equipped, they would have got the Arlington [weather] reports. The injury was a direct consequence of this unseaworthiness.

It strikes me as entirely possible that Equifax's exposure is greater on this issue than on patching.

This is a big case, affecting a lot of people. The outcome is likely to change the norms of how corporations world-wide protect their infrastructure. I hope the change will be in the right direction.

* * *

Update – Monday, Sep 18:

A news report today claims that Equifax was hacked twice, once in March (which is very soon after the Struts vulnerability was disclosed) and once in mid-May. The news article does not say if the same vulnerability was exploited; it does, however, say that their sources claim that "the breaches involve the same intruders".

If it was the same exploit, it suggests to me one of the possibilities I mentioned above: that the company lacked an comprehensive softare inventory. After all, if you know there's a hole in some package and you know that you're being targeted by attackers who know of it and have used it against you, you have very strong incentive to fix all instances immediately. That Equifax did not do so would seem to indicate that they were unaware that they were still vulnerable. In fact, the real question might be why it took the attackers so long to return. Maybe they couldn't believe that that door would still be open…

On another note, several people have sent me notes pointing out that Susan Mauldin, the former CSO at Equifax, graduated with degrees in music, not computer science. I was aware of that and regard it as quite irrelevant. As I and others have pointed out, gender bias seems to be a more likely explanation for the complaints. And remember that being a CSO is a thankless job.

Update – Thursday, Sep 21:

In the Sep. 18 update above, I noted that Equifax had been breached in March, and quoted the article as saying that the attackers had been "the same intruders" as in the May breach. In a newer news report, Equifax has denied that:

"The March event reported by Bloomberg is not related to the criminal hacking that was discovered on 29 July," Equifax's statement continues. "Mandiant has investigated both events and found no evidence that these two separate events or the attackers were related. The criminal hacking that was discovered on 29 July did not affect the customer databases hosted by the Equifax business unit that was the subject of the March event."

So: I'll withdraw the speculation I posted about this incident confirming one of my hypotheses and wait for further, authoritative information. I repeat my call for public investigations of incidents of this scale.

Also worth noting: Brian Krebs was one of the very few to report the March incident.

Written by Steven Bellovin, Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University

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More under: Cyberattack, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Law

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Domain name humor in Catastrophe

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2017-09-16 17:05

Having fun with fake top level domain names.

In this scene in Catastrophe, Sharon and Rob make up fake top level domain names.

If you want a good laugh, you should definitely check out the Amazon Original Series Catastrophe. There’s even some domain name humor in the season finale of season two.

Sharon and Rob are fighting, and Rob points out that they need to make arrangements for the kids:

Sharon: You can e-mail me.
Rob: OK. Is your e-mail address still Impatient[explicit]@Mean.jerk?
Sharon: Yeah. Yeah, it is. Is yours still FatIdiot@BadBreath.[explicit]?

Rob then walks to the car, where his drug-and-alcohol addicted friend Fergal is waiting for him. Fergal turns to Rob.

Fergal: Dot [explicit]. That’s awesome. Is that an actual domain name? Because if it is, I will buy that.

My guess is the part I’ve blanked out here (a derogatory term commonly used in Britain) would not pass ICANN’s rules for a top level domain. But you never know what will happen in round 2!

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Biggest ccTLD Sale of the Year to Date Takes Top Spot on This Week's Domain Sales Chart

DN Journal - Sat, 2017-09-16 01:40
The ccTLDs got a new 2017 King of The Hill this week after Sedo announced the $238,000 sale of a German country code domain.
Categories: News and Updates

China to Create National Cyberattack Database

Domain industry news - Fri, 2017-09-15 21:43

China has revealed plans to create a national data repository for information on cyberattacks and will require telecom firms, internet companies and domain name service providers to report threats to it. Reuters reports: "The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said companies and telcos as well as government bodies must share information on incidents including Trojan malware, hardware vulnerabilities, and content linked to "malicious" IP addresses to the new platform. An MIIT policy note also said that the ministry, which is creating the platform, will be liable for disposing of threats under the new rules, which will take effect on Jan. 1."

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Bluetooth-Based Attack Vector Dubbed "BlueBorne" Exposes Almost Every Connected Device

Domain industry news - Fri, 2017-09-15 21:30

New discovery of a set of zero-day Bluetooth-related vulnerabilities can affect billions of devices in use today. Security firm, Armis Labs, has revealed a new attack vector that can target major mobile, desktop, and IoT operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux, and the devices using them. The new vector named "BlueBorne", as it spread through the air (airborne) and attacks devices via Bluetooth.

No pairing required: "BlueBorne is an attack vector by which hackers can leverage Bluetooth connections to penetrate and take complete control over targeted devices. BlueBorne affects ordinary computers, mobile phones, and the expanding realm of IoT devices. The attack does not require the targeted device to be paired to the attacker's device, or even to be set on discoverable mode."

— "The BlueBorne attack vector has several qualities which can have a devastating effect when combined. By spreading through the air, BlueBorne targets the weakest spot in the networks' defense — and the only one that no security measure protects. Spreading from device to device through the air also makes BlueBorne highly infectious. Moreover, since the Bluetooth process has high privileges on all operating systems, exploiting it provides virtually full control over the device."

Vulnerabilities found in Android, Microsoft, Linux and iOS versions pre-iOS 10. "Armis reported the vulnerabilities to Google, Microsoft, and the Linux community. Google and Microsoft are releasing updates and patches on Tuesday, September 12. Others are preparing patches that are in various stages of being released."

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U.S. Navy Investigating Possibility of Cyberattack Behind Two Navy Destroyer Collisions

Domain industry news - Fri, 2017-09-15 20:53

Deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, Vice Adm. Jan Tigh, says the military is investigating the possibility of compromised computer systems behind two U.S. Navy destroyer collisions with merchant vessels that occurred in recent months. Elias Groll reporting in Foreign Policy: "Naval investigators are scrambling to determine the causes of the mishaps, including whether hackers infiltrated the computer systems of the USS John S. McCain ahead of the collision on Aug. 21, Tighe said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington… he Navy has no indication that a cyberattack was behind either of the incidents, but it is dispatching investigators to the McCain to put those questions to rest, she said."

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My first domain name sale through DomainAgents

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2017-09-15 16:56

Here’s how my first sale went down.

At NamesCon this year I met up with Ryan McKegney of domain sales service DomainAgents. After talking with him, I finally decided to take the ten minutes necessary to add my domain portfolio to DomainAgents.

This month I made my first sale with DomainAgents, but it actually wasn’t one of the domains I listed for sale. It was just a lead that came in through one of DomainAgents partners.

DomainAgents has deals with domain registrars, Whois sites and name spinners/suggestion tools. It syndicates some domain listings to them and also lets people make an offer on any domain name. In my case, the partner that generated the lead was a name spinning site.

Here’s the kicker: Potential buyers have to pay a $19.95 fee to submit an offer. They get their money back if they don’t receive a response from the owner.

DomainAgents pays domain owners $10 for responding to an offer. So even if the buyer doesn’t make a good offer, at least you’re getting a little bit of money for your time.

The other interesting thing is that the buyer pays all of the fees for the transaction, including DomainAgents’ fee. As a seller, you just see their offer and your counteroffers. The buyer, on the other hand, sees the itemized fees when they interact with the negotiation system.

Once a deal is struck, it’s sent to as a brokerage transaction.

I ended up selling my domain for about what I would have received after the commission had it been sold at my “buy now” price listed on Afternic.

Even though the domain I sold wasn’t listed on DomainAgents, I think it’s worth taking ten minutes to add your portfolio there. You never know…

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Foster agency files UDRP against domain “held for ransom”

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2017-09-15 14:35

Agency decided to file cybersquatting complaint rather than pay £9,000.

Earlier this month I wrote about a UK foster agency that forgot to renew its domain name and then complained that it was being “held for ransom” by someone who registered it upon expiration.

The person who bought allegedly asked the foster agency for £9,000 if it wanted to buy the domain from him.

That’s a pretty hefty price for this domain name, so the foster agency decided to take another approach that could result in the domain owner getting nothing. It filed a UDRP with World Intellectual Property Organization.

Companies that have let domain names lapse have won UDRPs in the past, and I’d guess this case is in the foster agency’s hands to lose.

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In Response to 'Networking Vendors Are Only Good for the Free Lunch'

Domain industry news - Thu, 2017-09-14 23:39

I ran into an article over at the Register this week which painted the entire networking industry, from vendors to standards bodies, with a rather broad brush. While there are true bits and pieces in the piece, some balance seems to be in order. The article recaps a presentation by Peyton Koran at Electronic Arts (I suspect the Register spiced things up a little for effect); the line of argument seems to run something like this —

  • Vendors are only paying attention to larger customers, and/or a large group of customers asking for the same thing; if you are not in either group, then you get no service from any vendor
  • Vendors further bake secret sauce into their hardware, making it impossible to get what you want from your network without buying from them
  • Standards bodies are too slow, and hence useless
  • People are working around this, and getting to the inter-operable networks they really want, by moving to the cloud
  • There is another way: just treat your networking gear like servers, and write your own protocols--after all you probably already have programmers on staff who know how to do this

Let's think about these a little more deeply.

Vendors only pay attention to big customers and/or big markets. – Ummm… Yes. I do not know of any company that does anything different here, including the Register itself. If you can find a company that actually seeks the smallest market, please tell me about them, so I can avoid their products, as they are very likely to go out of business in the near future. So this is true, but it is just a part of the real world.

Vendors bake secret sauce into their hardware to increase their profits. – Well, again… Yes. And how is any game vendor any different, for instance? Or what about an online shop that sells content? Okay, next.

Standards bodies are too slow, and hence useless. – Whenever I hear this complaint, I wonder if the person making the complaint has actually ever built a real live running system, or a real live deployed standard that provides interoperability across a lot of different vendors, open source projects, etc. Yes, it often seems silly how long it takes for the IETF to ratify something as a standard. But have you ever considered how many times things are widely implemented and deployed before there is a standard? Have you ever really looked at the way standards bodies work to understand that there are many different kinds of standards, each of which with a different meaning, and that not everything needs to be the absolute tip top rung on the standards ladder to be useful? Have you ever asked how long it takes to build anything large and complicated? I guess we could say the entire open source community is slow and useless because it took many years for even the Linux operating system to be widely deployed, and to solve a lot of problems.

Look, I know the IETF is slow. And I know the IETF has a lot more politics than it should. I live both of those things. But I also know the fastest answer is not always the right answer, and throwing away decades of experience in designing protocols that actually work is a pretty dumb idea — unless you really just want to reinvent the wheel every time you need to build a car.

In the next couple of sentences, we suddenly find that someone needs to call out the contradiction police, replete in their bright yellow suits and funny hats. Because now it seems people want inter-operable networks without standards bodies! Let make a simple point here many people just do not seem to realize:

You cannot have interoperability across multiple vendors and multiple open source projects, without some forum where they can all discuss the best way to do something, and find enough common ground to make their various products inter-operate.

I hate to break the news to you, but that forum is called a standards body.

In the end, if you truly want every network to be a unique snowflake, groaning under the technical debt of poor decisions made by a bunch of folks who know how to code up a UI, but do not understand the intimate details of how a network actually converges in the real world, feel free to abandon the standards, and just throw the problem to any old group of coders you have handy.

Let me know how it turns out — but remember, I am not the one who has to answer the phone at 2AM when your network falls over, killing your entire business.

People are working around this by moving to the cloud. Yep — this is what every company I've talked to who is moving to the cloud has said to me: "We're doing it to get to inter-operable networks." 'nuff said.

There is a better way. On this I can agree entirely. But the better way is not to build each network into a unique snowflake, nor to abandon standards. There is a real path forward, but as always it will not be the apparently easy path of getting mad at vendors and the IETF, and making the bald statement you can build it all on your own. The real path forward looks something like this —

  • Learn to be, and build, real engineers, rather than CLI slingers
  • Rationally assess the problems that need to be solved to build the network your organization needs
  • Choose a set of solutions that seem right to solve that set of problems (and I don't mean appliances here!)
  • Look around for implementations of those things (open source and commercial), take in lessons others have learned, and refine the solution set; in other words, don't abandon years of experience, but rather leverage it
  • If the solution set doesn't exist, decide how you can break the solution set into reasonable pieces
  • Figure out which pieces you should outsource, which you should not, and what the API looks like between these two
  • Build it

Oh, and along the way — rather than complaining about standards bodies, get involved in them. There are far too few people who even make an attempt at changing what is there, and far too many who just whine about it. You don't need to be involved in every IETF or W3C mailing list to be "involved;" you can pick a narrow realm to be useful in and make a real difference. Far too many people see these bodies as large monoliths; either you must be involved in everything, or nothing. This is simply not true.

Written by Russ White, Network Architect at LinkedIn

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More under: Networks

Categories: News and Updates

Company files UDRP against a relative, but it’s RDNH

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2017-09-14 17:04

What’s Italian for domain hijacking?

Colussi S.p.A. of Milan, Italy has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH) over the domain name

The domain name is owned by Andrea Colussi, a cousin of the current Chairman and a shareholder of Colussi S.p.A., and nephew of Angelo Colussi, the founder of Colussi S.p.A.

This was a dead-on-arrival case. How could you show that someone whose last name is Colussi doesn’t have a legitimate interest in the domain name

The complaint suggests that Andrea Colussi should have transferred rights in the Colussi name along with a business sale that took place in 1999. The World Intellectual Property Organization panelist reviewed the documentation around that agreement but probably didn’t need to. It seems to be outside the scope of a UDRP.

The panelist listed five reasons for finding RDNH. The first one was reason enough:

…the Complainant was clearly aware of the Respondent’s identity and of his family name, Colussi, which is identical to the disputed domain name, and thus the Complainant had a clear knowledge of the Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

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Categories: News and Updates

Abusive and Malicious Registrations of Domain Names

Domain industry news - Thu, 2017-09-14 15:43

When ICANN implemented the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in 1999, it explained its purpose as combating "abusive registrations" of domain names which it defined as registrations "made with bad-faith intent to profit commercially from others' trademarks (e.g., cybersquatting and cyberpiracy)." (The full statement can be found in the Second Staff Report on Implementation Documents for the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, Paragraph 4.1(c)). Bad actors employ a palette of stratagems, such as combining marks with generic qualifiers, truncating or varying marks or by removing, reversing, and rearranging letters within the second level domain (typosquatting). They are costly to police and likelier even more costly to maintain forfeited domain names, but for all the pain they inflict they are essentially plain vanilla irritants.

While these kinds of disputes essentially dominate the UDRP docket, there has been an increase in the number of disputes involving malicious registrations. The first instances of "phishing" and "spoofing" appear in a 2005 case, CareerBuilder, LLC v. Stephen Baker, D2005-0251 (WIPO May 6, 2005) in which the Panel found that the "disputed domain name is being used as part of a phishing attack (i.e., using 'spoofed' e-mails and a fraudulent website designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc.")

The quainter forms of abuse are registrants looking to pluck lower hanging fruit. They are so obviously opportunistic respondents don't even bother to appear (they also don't appear with the malicious cases, but for another reason, to avoid identity). The plain vanilla type is represented by such cases as Guess? IP Holder L.P. and Guess? Inc. v. Domain Admin: Damon Nelson — Manager, Quantec LLC, Novo Point LLC, D2017-1350 (WIPO August 24, 2017) (<guess>) in which Complainant's product line includes "accessories." In these types of cases, respondents are essentially looking for visitors.

In contrast, malicious registrations are of the kind described, for example, in Google Inc. v. 1&1 Internet Limited, FA1708001742725 (Forum August 31, 2017) (<> in which

respondent used the complainant's mark and logo on a resolving website containing offers for technical support and password recovery services, and soliciting Internet users' personal information). . . . Complainant's exhibit 11 displays a malware message displayed on the webpage, which Complainant claims indicates fraudulent conduct.

Malicious registrations are a step up in that they introduce a new, more disturbing, and even criminal element into the cyber marketplace. Respondents are not just looking for visitors, they are targeting brands for victims. Their bad faith is more than "profit[ing] commercially from others' trademarks" but operating websites (or using e-mails) as trojan horses. It aligns registrations actionable under the UDRP with conduct policed and prosecuted by governments.

The UDRP, then, is not just a "rights protection mechanism." The term "abusive registration" has enlarged in meaning (and, thus, in jurisdiction) to include malicious conduct generally. Total security is a pipe dream. ICANN has working groups devoted to mapping the problem, and there are analytical studies assessing its extent in legacy and new TLDs. Some idea of the magnitude is seen in "Statistical Analysis of DNS Abuse in gTLDs Final Report” commissioned by an ICANN mandated review team, the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCTRT). Incidents of abusive and malicious activity online and radiating out to affect the public offline represent the universe of cyber crime and uncivil behavior of which UDRP disputes play a minor, although important role in policing the Internet. In initiating complaints, mark owners are on the front line not only in protecting the integrity of their mark but also protecting visitors landing on fake websites by shutting down infectious domain names.

It is interesting to learn that disputes filed with UDRP providers are the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of organizations devoted to collecting, analyzing, correlating, and reporting incidents of abusive and malicious activity on the Internet., for example, reports that there are currently blacklisted 3,918,603 domain names; compiles "badness" indices of TLDs, registrars, spammers, and bot ISPs; and warn us to be vigilant against malware infected domain names and e-mails. Not surprisingly, cyberspace is a microcosm of the social world — calm on the surface; turbulence below.

Malicious registrations are reserved for more outrageous conduct (a step above abusive), not only threatening mark owners but also consumers. It is a kind of misconduct that has (I believe) become more common, even to the point of including miscreant complainants who have no actionable claims for cybersquatting but file complaints anyway (not without a spice of malice) for the cost of incurring a minor penalty. Somewhere on the time-line between the implementation of the UDRP and now there has been a marked increase in the number of these kinds of registrations. "Phishing" ("spoofing" is a less used term and appears to have become folded into phishing) became more common after 2008, and increasingly so in 2011 and 2012. Already in September 2017 there have been 8 decisions; over 20 in August of spoofing, phishing, and distribution of malware. This upward trajectory has been an evolutionary process in the direction of criminal conduct.

To take some examples of the various forms of malicious conduct. In CommScope, Inc. of North Carolina v. Chris Lowe / comm-scope / Chris Lowe / comm-scopes / Chris Lowa / commmscope, FA1707001742149 (Forum September 7, 2017) Respondent "used the domain names as an email suffix and has solicited third parties to submit personally identifiable information." In Novartis AG v. CHRIS TAITAGUE, FA170800 1744264 (Forum September 11, 2017) (<>) Respondent targets job seekers. In Goodwin Procter LLP v. GAYLE FANDETTI, FA1706001738231 () Respondent target a law firm to "to misdirect funds in an e mail for an illegal and fraudulent purpose."

The target is not necessarily the mark owner but consumers drawn to the website because of what the domain name implies. In the case of Yahoo Holdings, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Technonics Solutions,. D2017-1336 (WIPO August 11, 2017) (<>) it offers "support":

The evidence supports the inference that Respondent sought to use the disputed domain name to create a false association with Complainant to perpetuate a phishing scam. Although Respondent has no affiliation with Complainant, the website associated with the disputed domain name purports to offer technical support for Yahoo-branded services and urges customers seeking assistance to call a provided phone number.

Also, Hill-Rom Inc. v. Jyoti Bansal, FA1703001724573 (Forum May 3, 2017) <>) in which Respondent was using the e-mail to send messages

to Complainant's distributors, fraudulently attempting to create the impression that the emails originate from Complainant and requesting payment from the recipients, in what Complainant describes as a "phishing attack."

Similarly in The Travelers Indemnity Company v. jack Halua / Google Inc., FA1707001739643 (Forum August 21, 2017) (<>); Home Depot Product Authority, LLC v. Jim Brainard, FA1707001739571 (Forum August 8, 2017) (<>), and The Travelers Indemnity Company.

Good examples of spoofing (not always called as such, but that's the term for payment instruction fraud) are found in Arla Foods Amba v. ESMM EMPIRE staincollins, CAC 101578 ( August 14, 2017) and optionsXpress Holdings, Inc. v. David A., FA1701001711999 (Forum February 15, 2017) (<>). In Arla Foods, Respondent was both spoofing the mark owners and phishing for personal information. The general complaint is that Respondent was engaged in a "fraudulent scheme to deceive Internet users into providing their credit card and personal information." Respondent was using the domain name to "send emails in the name of Complainant's employees, in an attempt to commit fraud and deceptively steal sensitive information by "impersonat[ing] the Complainant and fraudulently attempt[ing] to obtain payments and sensitive personal information" or by "solicit[ing] payment of fraudulent invoices by the Complainant's actual or prospective customers."

At bottom, respondents are engaged in a hunt to syphon funds from mark owners and anyone who deals with them such as distributors and customers.) In Shotgun Software Inc. v. Domain Admin / Hulmiho Ukolen, Poste restante, D2017-1273 (WIPO August 23, 2017) (<>) Respondent added another layer of deceit by diverting visitors to "sponsored links" for the purpose of distributing malware:

The disputed domain name resolves to different successive websites after repeated access, named by the Complainant as a "Scam Page", a "Disable Tracking Page", "Malware Pages", and sponsored links. The "Scam Page" is designed to trick the visitor into taking action, through a specified telephone number, to eliminate a virus but is an attempt to phish for confidential information. The "Disable Tracking Page" is designed to trick visitors into supposedly disabling their Internet search history but leads to a phishing attempt. The "Malware Pages" may attempt to download malware on to the visitor's computer. The sponsored links pages lead to advertisements including those of the Complainant's competitors.

What brands are now experiencing with domain names can be seen as similar to the mischievous and criminal hacking of corporate aggregators of sensitive personal data. The business model employed by these registrants (if it can be dignified as such) is using domain names to commit fraud and larceny by testing how much they can get away with before they are shut down; only to reappear with other fraudulent and larcenous schemes. Cyber security is not just a matter of data protection; it extends to protection of reputation and general public on the Internet.

Written by Gerald M. Levine, Intellectual Property, Arbitrator/Mediator at Levine Samuel LLP

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More under: Cybercrime, Cybersquatting, Domain Names, ICANN, Law

Categories: News and Updates

Ad firm N2COM guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2017-09-14 12:05

Company tried to get through cybersquatting claim after failing to buy it.

Would you believe the domain name is a case of cybersquatting?

Neither would just about anyone else, but that’s what advertising firm N2COM tried to argue in a UDRP it filed this summer.

The firm has a brand called BabyBoom that targets…wait for it…baby and parenting stuff.

Back in 2007 it sent a cease & desist letter to domain investor Xedoc, which acquired the domain in 2003. Xedoc rebutted the letter and didn’t hear back again until 2012 when N2COM tried to buy the domain. N2COM’s biggest offer came in 2015…just $5,000.

Fast forward to 2017 when it filed a cybersquatting complaint. It’s a typical “Plan B” UDRP. Or should I say Plan C?

Unsurprisingly, the three person World Intellectual Property Organization panel found N2COM to have filed the case in abuse of the policy:

The Complainant in this case is legally represented and, in the view of the Panel, should have been aware in the circumstances set out above that this Complaint was misconceived. The Panel also notes that in February 2007 the Respondent’s representatives sent a detailed letter of rebuttal to the Complainant’s “cease and desist” letter, which stated at the end: “If we do not hear from you within the next 10 days we will consider this matter closed.” The Panel accepts the Respondent’s evidence that it did not hear from the Complainant again until the Complainant sought to purchase of the disputed domain name in 2012 and that the Complainant did not make further allegations of infringement at that time. This proceeding having been commenced a few months after those negotiations were unsuccessfully concluded, the Panel finds on balance that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative process.

The complainant was represented by Laetitia Domb. Xedoc was represented by Paul Keating.

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The post Ad firm N2COM guilty of reverse domain name hijacking appeared first on Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News & Views.

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Categories: News and Updates

Hurricane Irma Hammers .CLUB Building in Fort Lauderdale - Half of Roof Ripped Off But No One Hurt

DN Journal - Wed, 2017-09-13 22:48
Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction across Florida this week. Some of the worst damage within our industry occurred at the .CLUB headquarters building.
Categories: News and Updates

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