Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit best known for overseeing the .org top-level domain, launched a centralized resource to help stomp out domain name system (DNS) abuse Wednesday morning.
The DNS Abuse Institute will seek registry and registrar collaboration to prevent various forms of DNS villainy – spam, botnets, phishing and pharming. Former Tucows head of policy Graeme Bunton will serve as the inaugural director.
"We've become painfully aware of the impediments of moving from talk to action on DNS abuse and enabling people to really begin tackling the problem," Bunton told SC Media.
"Those impediments have been things like industry economics, lack of best practices, and a lack of trusted spaces for collaboration."
The DNS Abuse Institute, he hopes, will become a centralized resource for registries and registrars to turn to when they detect problems and a place to develop the kinds of innovations impossible for single companies to design on their own, in the low profit margin registry industry.
For PIR, the belief is that, with a cleaner DNS, "the rising tide will lift all boats," said Brian Cimbolic, PIR's general counsel, adding: "We think we're in a position to help the entire DNS in furtherance of our nonprofit mission."
The key components to the initiative will be creating a collaborative hub for the disparate technical and academic groups working on DNS abuse issues, educational outreach, and advancing innovative tools to combat DNS abuse quickly. Examples of tools, said Bunton, would be collaborative blocklists or improved reporting mechanisms.
The group will host its first forum on March 16.
Aside from the registrars and registries who might participate directly with the institute, anyone who falls victim to DNS abuse would ideally see a security boost at some point from the groups' focused action, said Bunton.
"If we're really hitting home runs, anyone defending a network's life is easier and better because there are less threats coming at them," he said.