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Announcement: New gTLD Applicant and GDD Portals Update

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today provided an update on its investigation into a data exposure issue in the New gTLD Applicant and GDD (Global Domains Division) portals, first reported on 1 March 2015.

In its 30 April announcement, ICANN noted its intention to disclose to affected users the identity of any user(s) that viewed their information without authorization by 27 May 2015. This activity has been completed. Specifically, ICANN:

  • Notified the users whose credentials were used to access information that did not appear to belong to them;
  • Requested these users provide an explanation of their activity; and
  • Requested these users certify that they will delete or destroy all information obtained and that they have not used and will not use the information or convey it to any third party.

In addition, ICANN has provided the affected parties with the name(s) of the user(s) whose credentials were used to view their information without their authorization or by individuals that were not officially designated by their organization to access certain data.

Investigation Results

Based on the information that ICANN has collected to date our investigation leads us to believe that over 60 searches, resulting in the unauthorized access of more than 200 records, were conducted using a limited set of user credentials.

The remaining user credentials, representing the majority of users who viewed data, were either used to:

  • Access information pertaining to another user through mere inadvertence and the users do not appear to have acted intentionally to obtain such information. These users have all confirmed that they either did not use or were not aware of having access to the information.  Also, they have all confirmed that they will not use any such information for any purpose or convey it to any third party; or
  • Access information of an organization with which they were affiliated. At the time of the access, they may not have been designated by that organization as an authorized user to access the information.

We will continue to provide information and respond to questions from affected parties as we continue our investigation.

Additional Information

The New gTLD Applicant and GDD portals contain information from applicants to ICANN’s New gTLD Program and new gTLD registry operators. No other systems were affected by this issue.

ICANN sincerely regrets this incident. We continue to deploy security-based updates on a regular basis. Enhancing the security controls and privacy of the ICANN portals is part of a broader, multi-year effort to harden all of ICANN’s digital services.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit: www.icann.org.


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Domain Name System
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."