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A New ICANN Project to Measure Metadata on Domain Names

28 February 2024
By and

The logo of the new project ICANN Domain Metrica.

We are excited to share a new project and platform called "ICANN Domain Metrica."

Six years ago, ICANN launched the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) system. It was intended to stimulate discussion around Domain Name System (DNS) abuse and serve as a reliable and reproducible measurement methodology to help registrar and registry operators to monitor DNS abuse. Today, both our internal and the community's needs for the DAAR system have outgrown what it is ably providing.

This is a challenging, but exciting time for our project team. The goal is to create a system that does a lot more with the data we have available; it forms a new framework and a measurement platform that meets our needs and the needs of our wider community. In addition, it will become the place to demonstrate the application of the research we are carrying out and publishing at ICANN and in academia.

We are building this system completely from the ground up. ICANN Domain Metrica is designed to be modular, extensible, and transparent. It will grow over time with new data points on domain names, as we incorporate new data sources and the output of our research.

This new system will provide a place to store, combine, and compare any metadata related to domain names. To begin with, the first module will include aggregated and non-aggregated data on DNS abuse concentrations as listed on a set of Reputation Block Lists (RBLs), similar to what DAAR had, but this time for both registrars and registries. This should give users access to more detailed and relevant information about DNS abuse concentration patterns. The abuse types we will be tracking are phishing, malware, spam as a delivery mechanism, and command and control domains.

Secondly, the platform will have a dynamic dashboard with relevant statistics and visuals. We are developing the capability to share relevant data with relevant parties: that is, the partial list of domains listed on RBLs (within the limits of our data sharing agreements and licenses). The idea is to help our community see some of the underlying data behind the visuals and aggregated statistics that we will be making available on the ICANN Domain Metrica dashboard.

Finally, as we've mentioned above, this new system will be a modular platform. For now, there is one module in it.

We have been working on the first module of ICANN Domain Metrica and are planning to launch it in the third quarter of 2024. I am pleased to announce that this module is led by Dr. Siôn Lloyd, from my team. In the beginning, ICANN Domain Metrica will run in parallel with the DAAR system until we are satisfied that all the current functionality is available. From then on, ICANN Domain Metrica will not stand frozen in time, but will evolve with additional modules and features.

Please keep an eye out for further updates on this project from the Security, Stability, and Resiliency team at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. More detailed information on ICANN Domain Metrica is going to be presented by Dr. Siôn Lloyd at the ICANN79 Tech Day session.


Samaneh Tajalizadehkhoob

Samaneh Tajalizadehkhoob

Director, Security, Stability and Resiliency Research

Siôn Lloyd

Principal Security, Stability & Resiliency Specialist