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ICANN and FIRST Sign Memorandum of Understanding on DNS Threats Mitigation

LOS ANGELES – 22 May 2020 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, Inc. (FIRST). The MoU aims to strengthen the relationship between ICANN and FIRST and enhance its collaborative efforts to support a safer, more secure, and resilient Domain Name System (DNS). These efforts are of interest to both parties and target important issues such as domain names used for abuse and security threats to the DNS. The agreement was signed by FIRST President and CEO Serge Droz and ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby.

"The role of the ICANN community, Board, and organization in maintaining a secure, stable, and unified system of identifiers for the Internet has always been important, but at this time, when reliance on the Internet has skyrocketed, our work with FIRST is vital." — Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO.

Over the last few years, the cybersecurity and ICANN communities have centered discussions around identification of and mitigation efforts for domain name abuse and security threats to the DNS that affect millions of Internet users around the world. Through the MoU the organizations will advance their shared objective of helping the incident response community increase its understanding of the Internet's system of unique identifiers, and improve its efficiency and effectiveness in preventing, detecting, containing, mitigating, and analyzing malicious activity related to it. The MoU emphasizes cooperation on research, policy, and capacity-building activities focused on increasing risk awareness and DNS abuse mitigation practices. Read the full Memorandum of Understanding here.


Founded in 1990, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) consists of internet emergency response teams from more than 529 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions across 96 countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. It promotes cooperation among computer security incident response teams. For more information, visit:


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."