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ICANN Technical Engagement Boosts Cooperation With ccTLD Registry Operators

3 April 2023

Over the past few years, ICANN's regional Technical Engagement Team has enhanced our collaboration with country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) registry operators to support them in implementing Domain Name System (DNS) operations best practices. This includes signing their zones using Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC).

We have developed a robust and systematic step-by-step approach with ccTLD operators for improving their DNS operations. It begins with an assessment of their operational practices, followed by a tailored technical capacity-development program to help further improve their technical operations and processes. As a result of this approach, we were recently pleased to see the .CI (Côte d'Ivoire) registry operator signing its zone with DNSSEC, and we want to share this particular experience with you to illustrate our approach.

It all started with a five-day DNS and DNSSEC training course with the Côte d'Ivoire registry operator technical team in May 2022. Prior to that training, we used Zonemaster (a publicly available tool) to assess the status of their zone configurations. The outcome indicated a handful of opportunities for improvement. We summarized them in a simple matrix, which mapped the findings with their potential impact on the health and security of their zone, and then pointed them to suggested remedies. The report was designed in such a way that it can be digested by any decision-maker. Within two months, the .CI technical team was able to investigate and resolve all the issues.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank the .CI technical team for their openness to our approach to helping them improve the health of the Côte d'Ivoire country code DNS zone. We would also like to thank Alain Aina and Phil Regnauld from the Network Startup Resource Center for their usual support. But the story doesn't stop here.

Following our successes with the .CI zone, we were fortunate to work with 12 additional ccTLD registry operators from the Middle East and Africa region. We applied the same previously mentioned approach to them, and together we made significant strides in improving their DNS operations as well. In almost eight months of collaboration, the total number of identified operations and security issues for the 12 ccTLD operators dropped from 285 to 85, a 70 percent improvement that was the result of technical review webinars and training to develop simple road maps to resolve these issues.

We wish to thank the Algeria, Senegal, and United Republic of Tanzania teams for their engagement and diligence in addressing issues found for their zones. We are looking forward to seeing all the pending technical hurdles also addressed.

In conclusion, we would like to reaffirm our commitment to continue contributing to further improve ccTLD DNS operations in Africa and the Middle East. ICANN's regional Technical Engagement team is available to support and provide hands-on and capacity-development training wherever needed. The recently launched Knowledge-Sharing and Instantiating Norms for DNS and Naming Security (KINDNS) framework is an additional tool in this journey. We are looking forward to seeing many ccTLD registry operators join the KINDNS initiative and contribute to the continued stable and secure operation of the global DNS.


Yazid Akanho

Yazid Akanho

Technical Engagement Sr. Specialist