DNS BE unblocks domain names
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The Belgian domain name registry, DNS BE, has released approximately 200,000 '.be' domain names which had previously been blocked from registration.
The Conficker worm was first identified in late 2008 and spread with alarming speed around the world. It is currently estimated to have infected around 7 million computers worldwide. The Conficker worm provides the perpetrators of the worm with the ability to create an enormous virtual computer by linking infected machines together.
The Conficker worm prompts infected computers to contact command-and-control servers on the Internet for instructions from the worm's authors. Infected computers would be directed to visit domain names which would be used to host the command-and-control servers. In an additional twist, the Conficker worm would generate the potential domain names via an algorithm which was creating up to 50,000 possible domain names per day.
In order to combat the propagation of the Conficker worm, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and several other major corporations such as Microsoft, Afilias and Symantec, formed the Conficker Working Group. This group reverse-engineered the Conficker worm algorithm and was able to determine the domain names which would be targeted. Through a concerted effort, various top-level domain (TLD) registries were contacted and provided with lists of the domain names that the Conficker worm was intending to target.
As a result, the 110 TLD registries were able to block those domain names from being registered and thus limit the effectiveness of the Conficker worm. ICANN sends out quarterly updates which lists domain names targeted by the Conficker worm.
As one of the effected TLD registries, DNS BE had blocked almost 200,000 '.be' domain names from being registered since April 2009. However, DNS BE has now decided to unblock all non-registered domain names that previously appeared on Conficker lists, but no longer pose a threat. In order to guard against domain name speculation, DNS BE will not be publishing the list of names being unblocked.
David Taylor, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris
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