SIDN introduces new security measures

Netherlands

The registry responsible for the running of the ‘.nl’ namespace, SIDN, has extended its ‘.nl’ Control service for ‘.nl’ domain name registrants so that it now enables registrants to prevent unauthorised changes to the glue records for their domain names. This new feature has been introduced further to an increasing number of Domain Name System (DNS) server hacks.

The ‘.nl’ Control service provides security protection to ensure that no unauthorised changes can be made to a domain name, including changes to the registrant details, transfers and cancellations, without approval by telephone and in writing by the registrant. However, this service has now been extended to cover changes to glue records, which will now also need to be approved by telephone and in writing by the registrant.

A ‘glue record’ is the internet protocol address of a name server. The name server and the associated glue-record are stored at the registry level. However, a glue record is required only when the name server associated with the domain name refers to the domain name itself. The glue record is used to avoid circular references, as explained further below.

For example, a registrant may wish to configure the name server ‘ns1.lovellsnames.org’ for the domain name ‘lovellsnames.org’.  As ‘ns1.lovellsnames.org’ is a subdomain of ‘lovellsnames.org’, a glue record needs to be created for the subdomain ‘ns1.lovellsnames.org’ so that it is identifiable in its own right, thus avoiding circular references.

"Following recent DNS server hacks, there has been growing demand for protection to prevent the modification of glue records," notes Michiel Henneke, SIDN's marketing manager. Henneke explains:

 "In August, for example, hackers made changes to one of our registrars' DNS data. Several thousand domain names were affected, with anyone who tried to visit those domains being directed to websites that were distributing malware. The addition of glue record protection to the existing ‘.nl’ Control service therefore seemed the obvious response. Because glue record protection is not relevant to all registrants, it will be available as an optional feature of the ‘.nl’ Control service."

This optional feature will thus protect registrants against unauthorised modifications to the glue records for their domain name(s) and subsequent redirection of the domain name(s) to third-party websites. Evidently this is extremely important, particularly for online businesses.

A fuller explanation of the DNS and glue records may be found here.

David Taylor and Sean Kelly, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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