December 12, 2011

From ".com" to ".anything"

Ran Mosessco Principal Security Researcher


You may already know about the recent launch of the .xxx domain that is designed for websites with adult content. 

That is just the tip of the iceberg. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the organization that coordinates the Internet’s addressing system, has announced a major evolution in the naming possibilities for generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

Most Internet users are familiar with current gTLDs such as .com, .org, .edu, and so forth. Of course, there are also ccTLDs, two-letter country-code top-level domains, such as .us, .uk, .fr, .il (about 250 at the moment).

Beginning in 2012, ICANN is planning to allow any word in any alphabet (including non-ASCII) to be used as a gTLD, opening up the possibility for .pizza, .chocolate, .vodka, .מזלטוב  ("Good luck" in Hebrew), and just about anything else you can imagine. 

ICANN anticipates that hundreds of new gTLDs will be added to the current 22. 

But don’t expect to see .fred or .smithfamily anytime soon, since the process for obtaining a gTLD is much more complex and expensive than getting a vanity plate for the family car. You’ll need to jump through a lot of legal and regulatory hoops, survive multiple reviews and objections, and pony up at least U.S. $185,000 in evaluation fees. Despite all this, ICANN expects to receive about 400-500 applications in the first round of applications (submissions will be accepted from January 12 through April 12, 2012). If you feel inspired to create a new ".something" and have a lot of spare change, check out the Applicant Guidebook for detailed information on how to apply for a new generic top-level domain.


What name would you be willing to pay $185,000 to have?

No matter what names are registered, you can bet that through various means, cybercrime syndicates will figure out how to take advantage of the situation. Websense® customers will still be protected with our Advanced Classification Engine, ACE, that will filter websites based on the content of the site and not necessarily on the top-level domain. 


Ran Mosessco

Principal Security Researcher

About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.