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Methodology Review of the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) System

LOS ANGELES – 20 July 2018 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the publication of a paper describing the methodology used in the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) system and two reviews of that methodology.

DAAR was designed to provide the ICANN community with a reliable, persistent, and reproducible data from which security threat (abuse) analyses could be performed.

The experts selected for the review of the DAAR methodology are respected members of operational security, cybersecurity, and academic communities:

  • Marcus Ranum is a renowned security expert. He is arguably the inventor of the modern Internet firewall and network intrusion detection system. Through his capacities as chief executive, chief technology, and chief security officer, security auditor or consultant, Ranum has accumulated extensive experience with collecting and processing threat data.
  • John Bambenek is a consultant, Vice President of Security Research and Intelligence at ThreatSTOP, and a Lecturer at the University of Illinois. John has produced and developed open-source threat intelligence feeds for algorithmically generated domain names (DGA) and malware. In his role at University of Illinois, Bambenek is directing a graduate team project to analyze TLD registries, registrars, and hosting providers using a methodology similar to DAAR.

Links to the report and reviews:

The DAAR project has produced a system for studying and reporting domain name registration and security threat (domain abuse) behavior across top-level domain (TLD) registries and registrars. The overarching purpose of DAAR is to report security threat activity as it is experienced in network operations to the ICANN community, which can then use the data to facilitate informed policy decisions.

To inform the community of the DAAR project design objectives and the ways by which those objectives have been met, the ICANN organization has prepared a methodology white paper. The paper explains the purposes of the DAAR project and gives an overview of the system, describes the security threats that DAAR observes, and how DAAR compiles threat data from high-confidence threat reputation data feeds.

To foster confidence in the DAAR system, the ICANN org has engaged two independent experts to review the methodology paper, to comment on the threat data that DAAR consumes, and to experiment with the reporting system. The purpose of these reviews is to have experts in the field validate the methodology, attest to the reproducibility of DAAR's findings and reporting, and to attest to the quality and reliability of the reputation data that the ICANN org has chosen to use for this project.

We welcome your comments on the reports and reviews. Please send them to, by 24 August 2018. The findings and recommendations from the reviewers and parties who comment will be considered in the final drafting of the methodology paper.


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

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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"""" is not an IDN."