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Working Toward a More Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Ecosystem

1 September 2020

Merike KäoMerike Käo, ICANN Board Member

The Domain Name System Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group (DSFI-TSG) is now well underway and has completed its first major milestone: finalizing its charter and scope.

Attacks on the DNS rarely impact only one actor in the Internet ecosystem and many attacks can be realized due to multiple threat vectors. As a result, the group’s scope is based on the mechanics of broad security issues that include the following areas: identity management; availability of the DNS; infrastructure impersonation; hardware, software, and protocol vulnerabilities; fate sharing; security threats that utilize the DNS; verifying/validating trust in the DNS infrastructure and data; and cryptography.

There is an understanding that while theoretical attacks are unlikely to result in concrete recommendations, the work of the DSFI-TSG will take into account any new attacks that are realized during the course of its work.

The DSFI-TSG will structure the development of its recommendations around five key questions:

  1. What are the mechanisms or functions currently available that address DNS security?
  2. Can we identify the most critical gaps in the current DNS security landscape?
  3. Who is best suited to fill those gaps?
  4. What are the risks associated with these gaps that may not be well understood?
  5. Does the DNS have unique characteristics that attract security problems, which other Internet services don’t have?

The goal of the DSFI-TSG is to look at the cross-functional aspects of the DNS and to create recommendations to the ICANN CEO that promote best practices, facilitate communications, and implement processes to help all stakeholders mitigate and/or respond to threats to the DNS ecosystem.

The completion of the charter and scope is a testament to the DSFI-TSG members’ commitment to improving the world of DNS security despite the challenges introduced by a lack of face-to-face meetings, summer vacations, and a workload that has only increased as a result of COVID-19. I am incredibly grateful for the productive conversations we’ve had so far, and the promise of more to come.

Expect more information through our meeting notes and future blog posts, available on the DSFI-TSG website.

Merike Käo
Merike Käo
ICANN Board Member

Merike Käo

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