VeriSign: Increased domain name fees for security

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VeriSign announced this week that it will raise registry domain name fees for .com and .net addresses by seven percent this October, per a December 2006 deal inked with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that some security experts have criticized for a lack of foresight.

The agreement gave VeriSign the right to oversee the .com and .net top-level domains through 2012, along with privileges to levy limited rate increases without explanation to ICANN.

Critics said then that ICANN did not build enough stipulations into the contract for regulatory oversight of VeriSign activities to protect the vital Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure.

"Industries in which there is potentially far less impact from a single point failure, such as banking and brokerage, are much more regulated than registry operators, even in regard to cybersecurity," said Jerry Archer of the security consulting firm Devonshire Ventures in a report commissioned by Network Solutions. "The failure of a single registry operator, especially .com, could cause catastrophic results. Security must not be an afterthought in these agreements. ICANN must at least maintain a minimum baseline of oversight and security risk mitigation."

VeriSign acknowledged the growing threats to the DNS infrastructure, reporting today that exploits have grown by 700 percent since 2000 and are projected to increase by 50 percent in 2007 and 2008.

"The .com and .net infrastructures are continually being fortified and scaled to defend against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks," according to VeriSign.

In order to continue this fortification, VeriSign announced that some of the revenue from the impending rate hike will go toward a new security and reliability program it is calling "Project Titan."

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