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Press Release: ICANN Statement on Hacking of Network Solutions' Servers



Marina Del Rey, CA (July 2, 1999) - For several hours earlier today, access to the server which hosts the ICANN Web site was disrupted. The information on ICANN's Web site is administrative in nature and was not damaged.

We have since been made aware of a concerted effort to tamper with some of the servers currently operated by Network Solutions, Inc. of Herndon, Virginia. The incident, which is potentially criminal, has been referred to the appropriate law enforcement officials. An investigation into the source of the attack, and the manner in which it was carried out, is currently underway. While there is no evidence that the servers under its control have been harmed, ICANN is taking the appropriate measures to protect its equipment located at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California.

ICANN condemns this action as an attempt to undermine the stability of the domain name system and will cooperate fully with any investigation into the matter.

About ICANN: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the new non-profit corporation that was formed to take over responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions now performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.

Contact: Joe Sheffo
Alexander Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

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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."