Feeds

ICANN: Privates leaked in top-level domain land grab blunder

gTLD applications viewable by rival web biz barons

Boost IT visibility and business value

ICANN has revealed that it took down its top-level domain application system yesterday after discovering a potentially serious data leakage vulnerability.

As El Reg reported earlier today, ICANN shut down its TLD Application System (TAS) – the web application companies use to apply for new gTLDs – due to unspecified "unusual behaviour".

The organisation has now revealed that while there was no "attack" as such, it had found that some TAS users could access data belonging to other TAS users.

"We have learned of a possible glitch in the TLD application system software that has allowed a limited number of users to view some other users’ file names and user names in certain scenarios," COO Akram Atallah said in a statement.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we took the system offline to protect applicant data," he added. "We are examining how this issue occurred and considering appropriate steps forward."

The vulnerability has potentially serious implications due to the level of secrecy surrounding the majority of new gTLD applications.

Companies in general don't want to reveal which gTLDs they are applying for while the ICANN application window is still open. If it were revealed that Coca-Cola had applied for .drink, for example, that might prompt Pepsi to file a competing application.

Because ICANN's method of last resort for resolving these so-called "contention sets" is an auction, a prematurely revealed application could therefore wind up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars – even millions of dollars – more.

It's quite possible that gTLD strings may have been included in the leaked user names and file names, though ICANN has yet to confirm the extent of this problem.

It's also not yet known which applicants had access to which other applicants' data, and whether any of the leaked information was acted upon.

The new gTLD application window was due to close yesterday at 1159 UTC, but ICANN shut down the TAS about 12 hours before the deadline after becoming aware of the vulnerability.

The filing deadline has now been extended until next Friday, but ICANN does not plan to bring the TAS back online until Tuesday, by which time it expects to have fixed the bug. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.