ICANN president criticized for remarks on DNS security

(Computerworld Kenya) NAIROBI, Kenya -- The country code subgroup of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has criticized ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom for "inflammatory" comments that the domain name system is not as secure as it used to be.

While speaking at the Government Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday, Beckstrom said more concerted efforts are needed to protect the DNS because it is under more attacks, is fragile and vulnerable, and "can stop any time."

In the session with the GAC and board members, Beckstrom addressed DNS abuse cases by some unspecified countries and promised to write to GAC members for more information and advice on DNS in their countries.

"The domain name system is under attack today as it has never been before. I have personally consulted with over 20 CEOs of the top registries and the top registrars globally, all of whom are seeing increasing attacks and complexity of attacks and who are extremely concerned," Beckstrom said.

Chris Disspain, chairman of the Country Code Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO) council, took issue with the statement to the GAC, terming it "inflammatory" and capable of rolling back the gains made by ccTLD managers and government officials in relation to DNS security.

"Your inflammatory comments to governmental representatives regarding -- in your view -- the precarious state of the security of the DNS, have the potential to undermine the effective and productive relationships established under ICANN's multi-stakeholder model," said Disspain. "This could cause great concern among governments regarding how elements of critical Internet resources are operated and managed in their countries."

The ccNSO council also expressed concern with Beckstrom's plan to write to governments on whether the DNS is able to withstand attacks, saying that such a process is likely to compromise the way ccTLD managers operate in their countries.

Although Disspain admitted that Beckstrom has a responsibility to address those issues, he added that Beckstrom's statement discounted huge efforts made by the ICANN community to ensure DNS security and stability.

"We suggest that ICANN work with all relevant internal and external stakeholders to develop a clear analysis of the current mechanisms in place to ensure the ongoing security of the DNS. As a first step, we urge you to share with us and other stakeholders the underlying facts or studies that originally led you to make your statements," Disspain said.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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