September 25, 2016

ICANN Working Group Issues Domain Hijacking Recommendations

ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) has been working on a new set of recommendations related to the issues around domain hijacking, the urgent return of an inappropriately transferred name and a domain’s “lock status”.

The wonderfully named “GNSO Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (IRTP) Part B Policy Development Process Working Group” (don’t you just love bureaucrats) has come up with nine recommendations to address the problem of domain hijacking.

Some of the language of the recommendations seems a bit fuzzy and at times bureaucratic… Recommendation #1 starts with “is considering recommending”. Or in other words we are thinking about making a recommendation which could then be ignored, but we won’t commit either way… But at least they are thinking… we hope…

So here are some of the recommendations in simple English.

  • Requiring registrars to provide an Emergency Action Channel when a domain is hijacked.
  • Proactive measures to prevent hijacking including measures to protect domain registrar accounts against compromise and misuse.
  • Creation of a ‘thick’ WHOIS that stores the complete WHOIS information from all the registrars. Currently there is no standard means for the secure exchange of registrant details in the current ‘thin’ registry.
  • Require that the Registrar of Record/Losing Registrar notify the Registered Name Holder/Registrant of a transfer.
  • Standardizing and clarifying WHOIS status messages regarding Registrar Lock status. The goal of these changes is to clarify why the Lock has been applied and how it can be changed.