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International Security and Diplomacy in Cyberspace

Oas bogota participants 750x425 17dec14

The Colombian ICT Ministry, along with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the ICT4Peace Foundation organized an event called "International Security and Diplomacy in Cyberspace", that took place in Bogota on November 18-20. The governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver Canada and the Simons Foundation also participated.

The main topic of the event was "confidence building measures" (CBMs) on cyber issues. CBMs are usually defined as measures that allow countries to gather to discuss, prevent and resolve issues that generate uncertainty among states and that often result in increased trust and de-escalation of conflicts and hostilities.

The event brought together representatives from 27 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, who received ample information regarding international law, policy development, building trust among states and the role that regional and international organizations can play. They also participated in a simulation exercise directed by Professor Paul Meyer of the Simon Fraser University.

Thanks to the kind invitation by the OAS's Cyber Security Program, I attended the event representing ICANN and participated as a panelist discussing legal and technical issues related to infrastructure protection. Given the role that we at ICANN play, focused on maintaining and improving the security, stability and resiliency of the Domain Name System or DNS, I had the opportunity to share the everyday experiences of our  Security, Stability and Resiliency Team with regards to the relationships that should exist between the private sector and law enforcement agencies, as well as with regards to the creation of "trust communities" – a must in every type of fight against online malicious activity that almost always involves the abuse or misuse of DNS resources.

It was an excellent opportunity to exchange information and experiences with colleagues from so many countries, and for the region to be able to discuss an issue that is long overdue. It was also a chance to share a good cup of coffee with friends, both old and new.

The path ahead on cybersecurity awareness in Latin America and the Caribbean is long. However, what's important is that the region is moving forward. As for ICANN, we will be there as an organization, providing any assistance required so that the operators of the Internet infrastructure in the region, law enforcement agencies and the security community walk that path together at a steady pace.

Carlos Álvarez is Sr. Manager, Security Engagement, Security Stability Resiliency Team, ICANN


    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."