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ICANN takes measures to prevent phishing

Date: April 17, 2005
Source: Computer Business review online

The Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers approved two new top-level internet domains, but chairman Vint Cerf expressed that he is not completely satisfied that the experiment in adding domains to the internet has been proven.

In an interview with ComputerWire at ICANN's meeting in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, last week, Cerf talked about the successes, and his concerns, from the four and a half years since ICANN began adding new domains to the internet's root.

"I'm really glad we had a limited introduction," he said, referring to the seven test-bed new top-level domains (TLDs), including .info and .biz, that were approved in November 2000. "We ran into a lot of very interesting problems."

ICANN manages the domain name system, at a high level. No new strings can be added to the DNS root system without its approval. But figuring out fair ways to add new TLDs, essentially enabling new businesses, has been one of its major challenges.

ICANN will also pay attention to ways to prevent domain buyers exploiting the system. "If registrants do things deleterious to the use of the internet, phishing and pharming for example, that can't be good for the internet," Cerf said.

Recently, for example, a phishing attack emerged that exploits the way internationalized domain names are encoded to fool users into visiting sites where their personal information could be stolen. IDNs should therefore be carefully considered before broad rollout, Cerf said.

"I work by the 'do no harm' principle. We have to make sure the end-to-end interoperability of the internet is not impaired," he said. He added: "There isn't any better place to solve this. This is our problem."
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