Sudden move seen as final step toward DNS privatization
The U.S. government, often accused of having a disproportionate say in the working of the Internet, is about to loosen its grip considerably by ceding control of key domain name functions to the international community. To this end, U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers (names, IP addresses and protocol parameters), “to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA.”
GoDaddy, the largest ICANN-accredited registrar on the planet, claims it wasn't a hacker that disrupted service for millions of customers, just incompetence. The registrar didn't actually use that word, but it did deny reports that an Anonymous-affiliated hacker attack or distributed denial of service (DDoS) were to blame. To make up for the SNAFU, GoDaddy has been sending out emails to its customers to let them know they'll be credited for a month of service for each active/published site.
The e-sky is falling! The e-sky is falling! At least, you'd think so with all the hype the DNSChanger Trojan received in the days leading up to the FBI's disconnection of its servers. It was supposed to spell the end of the Internet for hundreds of thousands of innocent Web goers! Well, the feds flipped the switch yesterday; did the world end? Not so much.
Back in November 2011, the FBI and NASA-OIG worked with Estonian police to arrest a band of cybercriminals known as "Rove Digital" who were operating a botnet that would alter user DNS settings to point infected systems to malicious DNS data centers in Estonia, New York, and Chicago. Come Monday, the Internet will go dark for potentially hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting PC users unaware their system is infected with a DNS changing virus.
The FBI is currently scheduled to take several temporary DNS servers offline on March 8th; an action that could result in the disconnection of millions of Internet users. This dilemma stems from a nasty trojan that was circulating back in 2011 called DNSChanger. This bug was used to alter a user’s DNS settings, and law enforcement used temporary DNS servers to give everyone time to fix the problem. Experts fear that many systems are still infected, and risk failure on March 8th.
Most users are content to use the default DNS servers run by their ISP, but it turns out that quite a few folks have made the jump to a third-part solution. Google announced today that its public DNS system is no longer “experimental” and has become the largest in existence with upwards of 70 billion requests every single day. To top it off, 70% of that traffic comes from outside the U.S..
Texas Representative Lamar Smith was recently interviewed by Reuters about his authorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Congressman vociferously defended the legislation. Smith even went so far as to call into question the motives of opponents. It could be said that Smith calling into question the credibility of SOPA opponents is more than a little ironic.
Domain registrar GoDaddy may have dropped its official support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but this ugly chapter is far from over. According to competing registrar Namecheap, GoDaddy is doing all it can to hamper the flow of domains away from its service. Namecheap claims that GoDaddy’s actions violate ICANN rules, but is promising to work with potential customers to get their domains moved.
We may call the glorious series of tubes the World Wide Web, but that doesn’t mean you can view every website’s content all around the globe. Many of the big name content providers – like Steam, Netflix, Pandora and BBC – employ region locks to limit their services to specific countries. But this is the Internet we’re talking about, so naturally, there are ways around the roadblocks.
A Belgian appeals court has ordered two Belgian ISPs to begin blocking The Pirate Bay or face fines. The ruling comes after a two year long court battle that originally had the ISPs protected from forced filtering. Now the ISPs have 14 days to comply with the ruling, but The Priate Bay says there is no reason for concern.