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GNSO Fast Flux Hosting Working Group Publishes Final Report

The Fast Flux Hosting Working Group has just submitted its final report to the GNSO Council.

In May 2008, the GNSO Council launched a Policy Development Process (PDP) that tasked a Working Group to answer a number of questions related to fast flux hosting. Fast flux hosting is a technique that utilizes short Time To Live settings and frequent updates of DNS records to increase a domain’s resiliency. It has legitimate uses, but is widely known as a tactic cybercriminals use to enhance their phishing and pharming gains. The questions the Working Group addressed included:

  • Who benefits from fast flux, and who is harmed?
  • Who would benefit from cessation of the practice and who would be harmed
  • What technical and policy measures could registries and registrars implement to mitigate the negative effects of fast flux?
  • What would be the impact of these limitations, guidelines, or restrictions to product and service innovation?
  • What are some of the best practices available with regard to protection from fast flux?

The Fast Flux Hosting Working Group has now submitted its final report providing answers to the questions posed by the GNSO Council. The group also developed a definition of fast flux attacks, to distinguish these from legitimate uses of fast flux; and compiled fast flux metrics, also in the report.

The Fast Flux Hosting Working Group has not made any recommendations for new consensus policy, nor changes to existing policy, but it has provided a number of ideas for next steps. These ideas include:

  • Highlight which solutions / recommendations could be addressed by policy development, best practices and/or industry solutions
  • Consider whether registration abuse policy provisions could address fast flux by empowering registries / registrars to take down a domain name involved in malicious or illegal fast flux
  • Explore the development of a Fast Flux Data Reporting System
  • Explore the possibility of ICANN as a best practices facilitator
  • Explore the possibility to involve other stakeholders in the fast flux policy development process
  • Redefine the issue and scope.

The report will now be reviewed and discussed by the GNSO Council, which will decide on the next steps accordingly.

For further information, please see the Fast Flux Hosting Final Report at http://gnso.icann.org/issues/fast-flux-hosting/fast-flux-final-report-06aug09-en.pdf [PDF, 5,060K].

Staff responsible: Marika Konings


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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."