Neustar: New gTLD Risk Assessment Highly Overstated

As we reported earlier, studies have shown that the massive launch of new domain zones can pose a threat to user security due to a conflict of names of new gTLDs and top-level domains used in local networks. As a result, ICANN decided to postpone the launch of new domains due to the need to verify the security of each zone at risk.

This decision caused the dissatisfaction of many applicants for new domains, because each new deferral violates their business plans, simply depriving them of profit. Many expressed the view that the probability of risk is greatly overstated. For example, in the past few years, .post, .tel, .asia, and .xxx domains have been launched, but so far they have not recorded a single case of personal data leakage or other damage due to a conflict with local network domains.

Therefore, Neustar decided to conduct its own study of this problem. The company calculated the potential threat of each domain zone based on four criteria:
1) the total number of requests to the domain zone
2) the number of IP addresses from which requests are received
3) the number of second level domains to which requests are received
4) the number of security certificates used in this domain zone
Studies have shown that only three new domain zones pose a greater threat than all other gTLDs. These are the domains .home (risk factor - 100 units), .corp (63 units) and .mail (2 units). The conditional hazard assessment of all other domain zones does not exceed 0.3 units, and as a rule, is generally depleted in thousandths.

Neustar concludes that the risk assessment of new domains in ICANN's official studies is greatly overestimated, and most importantly, the company's decision to include as many as 20% of domains in the uncalculated risk group is completely unreasonable, because of which the launch of every fifth domain will be delayed a period of three to six months.

According to the researchers, there is no need to conduct research for each of these domains individually, thereby slowing down the process of launching new domains. This work can be done now to make sure that only 2-3 domains pose a problem. Neustar asks ICANN to exclude domains from the “potential risk” group and to cancel the associated deferrals.

Other companies expressed their opinions and solutions to the problem. For example, the .club domain administrator, who also fell into the “potentially dangerous” group, recently proposed a simple and safe way to reduce the risk: reserve 50 second-level domains, which receive the most requests for a domain that does not exist yet. According to him, this will block 60% of erroneous requests and will make the domain zone much more secure.