Feeds

Nominet pilots .co.uk domain security pump-up

Lays an egg, hopes chicken will ensue

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Dot-UK registry Nominet has started piloting a free service designed to help UK businesses boost the security of their websites' domains.

The DNSSEC Signing Service "will allow registrars to quickly and easily implement DNSSEC by relying on Nominet to manage the cryptographic signing process, management of keys and publishing records to nameservers and zone files," Nominet said.

The organisation said the hosted service will be free to use for .co.uk domains until January 2013, after which it will start charging an extra fee, probably 50p per domain per year.

DNSSEC, for Domain Name System Security Extensions, adds a hierarchy of cryptographic signatures to domain records, enabling browsers to verify that internet addresses have not been tampered with by phishing or cache poisoning attacks.

It's complex to deploy, however, requiring ongoing management of the cryptographic keys used to sign the domains. For the registrars targeted by Nominet, it could also require infrastructure upgrades.

Matt Mansell, CEO of registrar DomainMonster, said he doubts his company will sign up to Nominet's service – it likes to keep its DNS infrastructure in-house – but suggested it could be of value to smaller Nominet registrars, which comprise the majority.

"Registrars have no choice but to participate in DNSSEC," said Mansell. "It's going to be in demand, whether from a small subset of customers or from all customers remains to be seen."

He said he expects large corporate customers to be early adopters, but that others will be slow to embrace the technology, a view shared by other registrars.

While the security community by and large thinks blanket DNSSEC deployment would be a Good Thing, it currently faces a chicken and egg adoption problem.

Due it its cost and complexity, ISPs, browser makers and registrars don't want to support it unless their customers demand it, and customers currently don't know about it and aren't asking for it.

"Customers don't care about DNSSEC. They don't give a damn," Michele Neylon, managing director of the Irish registrar Blacknight said during an ICANN workshop in Singapore last month.

Out of 50,000 customers, only one had requested a signed domain, he said. Without a compelling business case, adoption is likely to be sluggish, he indicated.

Mansell said DomainMonster, which does not currently support DNSSEC, would be likely to do so as part of a premium-price package including extra security measures such as two-factor authentication.

That's a similar model to that offered by Go Daddy in the US.

VeriSign started supporting DNSSEC for .com sites this March, and to date the number of signed domains is believed to be in the low thousands.

VeriSign executives said at the ICANN workshop that 26 of its 900-plus approved registrars, including seven of the top 10, have signed at least one domain. But no registrar had more than 1,000 domains. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages
Hello. HELLO. Can EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE HEAR ME?!
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?