ICANN's domain application system still down 2 weeks after data exposed

A security glitch has knocked the Web-based system for filing applications for new generic Top Level Domain names offline for more than two weeks, forcing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to extend the deadline for filing.

The TLD Application System was still down on April 27 and no new deadline has been announced, although an announcement was expected soon.

ICANN, the nonprofit corporation that oversees the Internet’s Domain Name System, began accepting applications for new domains Jan. 12, and the window was scheduled to close at midnight April 12 UTC (that would be 8 p.m. Eastern, April 12).

Related coverage:

ICANN shuts down gTLD applications after security glitch, extends deadline

But a glitch was discovered on April 12 that exposed some confidential information in applications. It initially was thought the system could be put back online in a matter of days, and ICANN said it would extend the deadline to April 20.

The TAS has remained offline, however, and no new schedule has been announced. A complete list of applicants and the domains they are requesting was scheduled to be released April 30, but that date also is being pushed back.

The process of restoring the system apparently has been delayed by concerns about tampering with some applications during their exposure.

“We are systematically combing through TAS logs and analyzing data for signs of access applicants may have had to file names and user names of others,” the organization said in an April 25 statement. “We have narrowed the pool of affected applications and the associated posted documents. However, the integrity of each and every application is our No. 1 priority, so we must be as thorough as possible.”

When the application system reopens, users will be able to review their applications to assure themselves that their information has not been tampered with. Performance of the system was being enhanced to meet expected high user demand when applications resume.

Top-level domains are the suffixes on URLs and e-mail addresses that appear to the right of the final dot in the address. Generic TLDs are broad categories that service large communities, such as businesses for .com, public service groups for .org, educational organizations for .edu, and government for .gov. There currently are 22 gTLDs, and ICANN approved the expansion program in June.

Critics in the business community complained that the new gTLDs would open up a new landscape for cyber squatters and criminals, forcing legitimate owners of brands and trademarks to spend millions of dollars in defensive registration of names within the new domains.

The expansion will include the creation of new gTLDs in non-Latin scripts and alphabets, which ICANN hopes will help to unify the Internet, maintaining a single set of protocols and infrastructure that will keep it available to all people.

The application process is not for the faint of heart. Registering to use the application system costs $5,000, and there is an additional $180,000 filing fee for each application.


About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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