Growth of top-level domains spells more risk of cyber threats

For good or ill, the Internet keeps growing, with 4.5 million new domain names added in the first three months of 2011. That brought the total to 209.8 million domain name registrations, a 2.2 percent increase in growth from the last quarter of 2010, according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from VeriSign.

VeriSign is the registry operator for the .com and .net top-level domains and keeps tabs on the domain name industry.

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VeriSign warned that the expansion of new generic TLDs, approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, could provide an expanded target space for hackers. “As the DNS expands to make room for more TLDs, it is vital to remain vigilant against cyber threats that increasingly target the DNS,” the company said in releasing the report. “If the DNS is compromised, the entire Internet is at risk.” TLD operators must be prepared to defend against attacks with the ability to quickly detect and mitigate them in the cloud before the malicious traffics reach their networks.

The top gainers so far this year were .com, .de (Germany), .net, .uk and .org.

Overall, the country code TLDs grew by 81.7 million so far this year, which helped .uk, for the United Kingdom, push out .org as the fourth-largest TLD. Two other country code TLDs, .nl (Netherlands) and .eu (European Union) moved up one spot each to seventh and eighth, respectively, pushing .cn (China) from seventh to ninth.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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