Feeds

All your Web typos are belong to us

Verisign wildcard changes spark fury

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Updated Network administrators are fuming about changes made by domain registrar Verisign to the DNS system yesterday that they say violate longstanding Internet standards.

Verisign yesterday added wildcard DNS records to all .com and .net domains - redirecting surfers who get lost on the Net to a search page, called Site Finder, run by the company. Those who type in non-existent addresses will also be served up Site Finder, instead of an error message.

There's widespread concern the alterations will frustrate commonly used anti-spam techniques. Mail packages often check to see whether the domain an email is coming from is valid but with the changes all domains have suddenly become valid, frustrating the technique.

The radical, and largely unheralded, changes were made yesterday and followed up by a post by Verisign to the NANOG mailing list. This did little beyond stating that Verisign has added a "wildcard A record to the .com and .net zones" and pointing users to a white paper that Verisign has prepared.

So, Verisign has turned domain name typos into an advertising opportunity. Critics believe this is an abuse of Verisign's role, via acquired company Network Solutions, in administering the .com and .net registry DNS servers.

And then there are the practical issues: sysadmins are fuming at the knock-on effects of the changes.

The concerns raised by Reg reader Pete Farrow, who believes the move will lead to more spam, are typical.

"This means that the basic 'sender domain does not resolve' check in sendmail and many other mail server software is now obsolete because any .net and .com now resolves. This will open the internet up to more spam," said Farrow.

"Perhaps mail servers should check to see if the sender domain for a particular piece of email resolves to the IP above. If it does, forward the email to Verisign," he adds.

Ray Bellis, technical director of ISP Community Internet, echoes these concerns.

"This frustrates spam prevention techniques, where mail servers verify that the *sender's* domain is legitimate before accepting an email," Bellis said.

"This breaks all sorts of things horribly," he added.

Sys admins are still analysing the effects of the changes and there's dispute among experts like Beliis about the effect of the changes.

Already a backlash is building, with Net admins being urged to block Verisign's catch-all domain. This could all get very messy. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.