Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Advisory Concerning VeriSign's Deployment of DNS Wildcard Service

19 September 2003

On 15 September 2003, VeriSign deployed a "wildcard" service into the .com and .net Top Level Domain zones. VeriSign's wildcard creates a registry-synthesized address record in response to lookups of domains that are not otherwise present in the zone (including restricted names, unregistered names, and registered but inactive names). The VeriSign wildcard redirects traffic that would otherwise have resulted in a "no domain" response to a VeriSign-operated website with search results and links to paid advertisements.

Since the deployment, ICANN has been monitoring community reaction, including analysis of the technical effects of the wildcard, and is carefully reviewing the terms of the .com and .net Registry Agreements.

In response to widespread expressions of concern from the Internet community about the effects of the introduction of the wildcard, ICANN has requested advice from its Security and Stability Advisory Committee, and from the Internet Architecture Board, on the impact of the changes implemented by VeriSign. ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee is expected to release an objective expert report concerning the wildcard later today.

Recognizing the concerns about the wildcard service, ICANN has called upon VeriSign to voluntarily suspend the service until the various reviews now underway are completed.

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