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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Internationalized Domain Names

Because the Internet originated in the Western hemisphere, naming protocols for web domains and email addresses historically did not work with any characters except those in the Latin alphabet. More than half of all Internet users do not read English or other Roman scripts such as Spanish. For these millions of Internet users – and a billion more to come -- Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) represent their first chance to navigate the web using familiar, local languages and scripts. Today, with the new gTLD program, almost any word in any language can be a TLD. This video, shot at the ICANN meeting in Seoul, October 2009, honors the years of effort invested in leading up to the milestone date of November 16, 2009, when ICANN began accepting requests from around the world for domain name extensions made up of non-Roman characters.

original report:

ICANN: Domain Delay Not a Hack

icann lawsuit

ICANN's chief security officer said Friday that the issue that forced the organization to shut down its generic TLD application process was a bug, but not a hack.
In a staged video interview between Brad White, ICANN's director of global media affairs, and ICANN chief security officer Jeff Moss, Moss said there was no evidence of any malicious activity.
After analyzing all of the logs and looking for other indicators of malicious activity, "we didn't find anything," Moss said, that indicated it was a hack.
"We're very confident we understand what caused the issue, and we've corrected the issue," Moss said. Now, ICANN is poring through its logs, trying to identify who might have been affected, who might have viewed the information, and when.
Every applicant will be notified of their status, whether they were affected or not, Moss said.
On April 12, a glitch with the application system for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) prompted the Internet's governing body to delay the deadline for gTLD submissions from April 12 to April 20.
On April 18, ICANN said that the issue arose when an applicant file was deleted. In certain cases, that allowed the file name of another uploaded by a different user to be exposed. "Certain data was being revealed to users, who were not seeking the data - it would just show up on their screen," Moss said Friday.
The number of file names or users affected is known, but it's "definitely a minority," Moss said. ICANN won't reveal the number at this time. Although the glitch was spotted on March 19, there was no way of knowing that it was a bug at that time, he said.
At issue is ICANN's plan to open up new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). At this point, there are 22 gTLDs, including .com, .org, and .net. In June, however, ICANN approved a plan that would allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example.
ICANN has been accepting gTLD applications via its TLD Application System (TAS) since Jan. 12 and was scheduled to close up shop on April 12, but the glitch prompted a temporary shutdown.
Why did ICANN take the system offline? It was the safest thing to do, Moss said.
"So without knowing if it was a security incident, without knowing if it was a data corruption problem, the safest thing to do was to take it offline," Moss explained. "The problems, had we kept it running only to find out it was a bigger problem down the road, would have been catastrophic."