Category: Internet Domain News

Adapting to Industry Changes for Better Web Security

The CA/B Forum has voted on removing the file-based domain control validation (DCV) method for Wildcard certificates (e.g. *.domain.com) starting Dec. 1, 2021. So why the update?

The change was created in response to the concern that host-based control validation isn’t a strong enough way to demonstrate that someone has control over a domain’s entire namespace. Ultimately, this change improves security for subdomains and therefore, web users overall.

To be prepared and acclimated before the official start date, major CA’s such as DigiCert and Sectigo, will no longer allow file-based DCV for Wildcard certificates starting Nov. 15. After that, users can only use email and DNS validation methods to perform DCV for Wildcards.

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What can you do to prepare?

1. Get your team ready. Make sure your dev and support teams are caught up on the update so they can update your system and provide customer support as needed after the change.
2. Get your website ready. For Wildcard purchases on your site, be sure to remove the option to use File-based DCV and also update any documentation on DCV methods.
3. Get your customers ready. With your team and system updated, you can make an announcement to all your customers or send a message directly to your customers who use the filed-based method for wildcards to let them know about the changes.
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Abu Dhabi has just announced its official internet domain name. The Capital’s digital identity in the virtual world is now .abudhabi, and this domain name will be used to promote the emirate locally, regionally, and internationally across tourism, culture, and economy sectors.

The domain name is accessible to all citizens, residents, and employers, as well as for organizations interested in local business opportunities, events, festivals, and fairs hosted annually by the emirate.

 

To register a .abudhabi domain name, follow the steps here.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohamed Abdelhameed Al Askar, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, said: “We are very pleased with our adoption of the .abudhabi domain, which highlights the fact that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is proceeding with confidence and speed in the process of digital transformation, based on the ambitious vision of our wise leadership to build and shape the digital future of the emirate in a way that supports innovation, the application of digital solutions and effective initiatives that strengthen the economic environment in the Capital.”

Al Askar added: “This initiative contributes to elevating the UAE’s Global Innovation Index status and promotes Abu Dhabi in the tourist, cultural and economic arenas through this distinctive domain name, an attractive factor for companies interested in business opportunities and local and international events and fairs hosted annually by Abu Dhabi.”

Al Askar has called on all companies in Abu Dhabi to register and reserve their domain names. To date, more than 550 names have been registered to the .abudhabi domain, and the number is growing daily.

 

Read more on Khaleej Times

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Did you have time to digest ICANN’s staff report on comments about the .com price hike? It was published yesterday. Today, Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) and ICANN agreed to the amendment as planned.

The agreement will allow Verisign to increase the price of .com domains by 7% per year in the last four years of each six-year extension. The first price increase would be allowed at the end of October 2020, but Verisign has already stated it won’t raise prices during this calendar year.

Verisign also agreed to pay ICANN an additional $4 million per year for five years beginning January 1, 2021.

 

Read More: Domain Name Wire

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The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority has announced its new brand identity, which is in line with the directives of the wise leadership represented in Decree No. (23) issued on September 27, 2020 to amend some provisions of the Decree Law No. (3) of 2003 regarding organization of telecommunications sector. The amendment includes addition of the “digital government” to the responsibilities and name of the Authority.

The new identity reflects the central role of the Authority in line with the orientation of the UAE over the next fifty years, which includes accelerating the pace of digital transformation in the UAE and shaping a future based on advanced technology supported by artificial intelligence, smart cities, and a knowledge-based society and economy.

The announcement was made in a virtual press conference held by the Authority in the presence of H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, leaders and employees of the Authority and media representatives.

The Authority had launched a series of brainstorming workshops and consultations to choose the new brand identity of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority. The new identity is aimed to have a set of well-established meanings such as trust, leadership, innovation and future foresight. At the same time, the identity is aimed to reflect simplicity and aspiration towards customer happiness. The new design came as a result of these internal consultations and activities, and as a summary of the meanings to be implied in the Authority’s orientations for the next phase.

On this occasion, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority said: “We are proud of the high confidence given by the wise leadership to the Authority by adding digital government to its name. We see this as a mandate we are honored to carry out, and as a challenge that we place at the top of our missions for the next phase. We insist on achieving success as we did in our previous tasks under the guidance of our wise leadership and with the support of the national teams in the authority and other government partners in digital transformation. We also depend on support of our ICT sector partners, who held the responsibility with us and contributed to the country’s leadership in ICT.

He added: “Today we launch the new identity of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, which expresses the Authority’s aspirations for the next 50 years. It is embodied in the investment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and 5G potential for enabling digital government and achieving digital transformation. Digital transformation is now a strategic social and economic program aimed at facilitating people’s lives, and providing them with quick solutions and services around the clock.”

Ms Ahlam Al Feel, Director of the Authority’s Corporate Communications Department highlighted the implications of the new brand identity, saying: “We made the new brand ends with the letter A on purpose. It is the start of the English alphabet and it is the end goal for the UAE citizens whose final objective is always the 1st place.”

She added: “The Authority leadership wants to convey an important message by this brand: “We are inspired by our leaders to start from the dream and the vision. We write our story from the last chapter, and then we start the journey of implementation.”

The new logo of the authority is attractive and modern with a lot of prestige and power. It tells a visual color story that symbolizes communication and correlation. It reflects the image of optical fibers, and their impact on the advanced telecommunications sector.

The new logo clearly expresses the long-term future vision of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority. It is simply abbreviated as (TDRA). It easily pronounced in both Arabic and English.

 

Read the whole article at: TDRA

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Millions of people all over the world browse the internet every day. They browse it by typing in something called a domain name into the address bar of the web browser. The browser and technology behind it then get you to the website you wanted. But how exactly do domain names work and what are they anyway?

What are domain names?

The simplest way to put it is: if your website is a house, a domain name is your address. A domain name is the address people type into the browser URL bar to get to your website. For example, for www.gulfbusiness.com, the domain name is gulfbusiness.com.

Although they might look identical, a domain name and a URL are two different things. The domain name is the actual name of the website, for instance, www.gulfbusiness.com, whereas a URL is the entire path of a website that leads you to a particular page like https://www.gulfbusiness.com/economy/.

Basically, the URL is the complete internet address used to locate a specific page and it includes the domain name.

The two most common types of domains are top-level domains (TLDs) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs). TLDs are well-known domain name extensions, like .com, .net, and .edu. Meanwhile, ccTLDs are country-specific domain name extensions, such as .uk or .fr.

Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which TLD it belongs to.

Choosing your domain name

When registering your domain name, it is important to choose a name that is unique, short, memorable, easy to remember and relates to your business with the matching keywords.

This, however, is challenging today since most of the “good” names are taken. Every supercar business wants to name their website supercars.com but by nature, domain names are unique and only one party can hold a name at a time.

This is where creativity and innovation come into place.

At the launch of the internet, only a few domain extensions existed such as .com and .net. And then came country level domains like .ae.

But the geographical connect can also be made extending the domain name by adding a keyword such as supercarsabudhabi.com.

In line with the trend of geographical names coming to this space, UAE capital Abu Dhabi has also recently introduced .abudhabi as a top-level domain name to drive the emirate’s global promotion, boost online business and bring more attention to the country.

Registering your domain name in the UAE

In the UAE, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is the regulatory body and registry operator for the .ae country code and .Emarat (Arabic) domain name.

You can register a domain ending with .ae or .Emarat (Arabic) from 22 accredited registrars as well as the two telecom operators, Etisalat and du.

Regarding the other top-level domains such as .com, you can choose from global and local registrar companies. Each top-level domain and country-code top-level domain is delegated to a registry, which is responsible for operating and setting all policies.

 

Read more on GulfBusiness

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One of the world’s most valuable companies just plumbed new depths in cybersquatting disputes.

Saudi Aramco, the $133 billion Saudi Arabian oil company, filed trademarks for a new brand called Orizon last year. Naturally, the company would like the domain Orizon.com.

But there’s a problem.

Orizon.com was registered in 1997 by Orizon Multimedia Inc. The company used the domain for its business but then shut down. Apparently, the owner of the business passed away last year.

So Saudi Aramco decided to file a cybersquatting complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to try to get the domain.

Here’s the thing: in order to win a UDRP case, a trademark holder must show that the domain was registered in bad faith when it was initially registered.

Clearly, the registrant did not register the domain in bad faith since he used it for his legitimate business. Oh, and he registered it more than two decades before Saudi Aramco decided to adopt it as a brand, so it wasn’t registered to target Saudi Aramco.

World Intellectual Property Organization panellist Nick Gardner correctly ruled that this isn’t a case of cybersquatting. He considered if it was reverse domain name hijacking but, ultimately, gave Saudi Aramco a pass. One of his reasons: since the domain owner is dead, he wasn’t burdened by Saudi Aramco’s filing.

 

Read more: Domain Name Wire

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The sale of a UAE internet domain name for Dh6 million (US$1.6m) to an unidentified horse enthusiast has been described as a landmark that has put the Emirates up with some of the highest domain prices in the world. The Ozone Group, an Indian-based technology company with an office in Dubai, ran an intensive advertising campaign to sell the right to use horse.ae, but without any associated website or hosting agreement.

The company invested around Dh1 million in advertising in newspapers and radio stations in the UAE, offering the domain name for Dh5m. The move generated a flurry of interest, including seven serious bidders which saw the price go up to Dh6m and the sale close a day before the original deadline of July 26. Munir Badr, a Dubai-based technology entrepreneur, said the sale of horse.ae far exceeded the previous highest known price for a .ae domain, putting the UAE’s country code on a par with the far more mature .com market. Registration and trade in .ae domain names was liberalised in August last year, when the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority took away Etisalat’s monopoly. The broad liberalisation of the national internet domain system aimed to “promote the widespread usage of the .ae branding on a global scale”.

Part of the changes allowed companies other than Etisalat to act as registrars of UAE web addresses. While the old system involved going along in person to an Etisalat office, along with stamped documents and passport copies, .ae domains can now be purchased online, with a credit card, in minutes. The .ae top-level domain has since been catching up with trends seen in the rest of the world, not just in huge prices for popular domain names but also with battles over intellectual property against people, dubbed “cybersquatters”, who register words and names, including trademarks, usually with a view to selling them at a profit to their “rightful” owners.

The companies behind Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Hardees restaurants all have cases pending at the UN-backed World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to gain control of .ae domains linked to their companies.

Public records of domain names such as dunkin-donuts.ae, Baskin-robbins.ae and Hardees.ae show they are registered in the name of Ali Abdelwahed. The WIPO has consistently sided with trademark holders in previous disputes, ordering that ebay.ae, yahoo.ae and SonyEricsson.ae all be forfeited by the individuals who had registered them and transferred to the companies holding the trademarks. But Emirates Airline failed in its bid for the WIPO to award it the Australian domain, emirates.com.au, ruling that emirates were a sufficiently generic word and that the owner, the West Australian company Bluecom Consulting Group, had a legitimate claim through a failed business venture marketed as Emirates Salt.

Mr Badr, speaking before the sale of horse.ae was confirmed, said the Dh5m asking price was a “ridiculous amount” but predicted that the figure would be met.

Once told of the Dh6m final sale price, he said it was easily the highest ever paid for a .ae domain name. “It’s a huge sum. This sale can’t be even compared to the recent two-character ad.com sale, which fetched just Dh5.1m,” he said.

The .com top-level domain had been popular since the 1990s, he said, while “the .ae, in its new format after aeDA (.ae Domain Administration) introduction in August 2008, is just about a year old. I think [.ae domain sales] still have five or more years to reach a good standard where the aftermarket sales are very high.” “This sale is a true record and stereotype breaker and will surely boost the .ae market and its publicity.” Mr Badr said generic names were still available although the more obvious ones had been registered after the .ae liberalisation last year.

 

Read more on The National

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Google – one of the world’s most popular Internet search engines – has launched four new country-specific domains – one of which is the ‘ae’ domain of the UAE. The three others include Singapore, Greece and Finland.

When a UAE-based surfer clicks for Google, its advanced software recognises the origin of the request as coming from the UAE. It instantly produces its ‘ae’ webpage which is in Arabic.

To access the English language page, a Net surfer needs to click on the ‘Google in English’ option or go to the master Web site of Google.com.

“We are delighted to announce that as part of Google’s ongoing effort to make its search services available to people throughout the world, the company launched four new country-specific domains including: Finland, Greece, Singapore and the UAE.

“These new sites offer a localised interface and enable users to restrict searches to pages from their respective countries,” said Debbie Frost, Google spokesperson.

 

Read more at: Gulf News

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Even though Arabic language is booming and is one of the fastest-growing languages globally, it is still facing access challenges online.

In 2013, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rolled out domain names in Arabic, Chinese, German, Russian and Cyrillic scripts.

When Russian and Chinese Top-Level Domain names have grown in leaps and bounds, Arabic domain names and country code top-level domain (ccTLD) of UAE (.emarat), Arabic equivalent of .AE domain extension, .Al Saudia for Saudia Arabia and .Misr for Egypt did not grow correspondingly and did not close the gap between the Arabic content and the Arabic user.

Top-Level Domains are letters after the final dot of a domain name like .com, .ae and .net while “.Shabaka” (in Arabic means .web) was the world’s first Arabic new Top-Level Domain (TLD).

Top industry experts said that the key reason is due to the lack of Arabic content online despite the growth in Arabic speaking population.

“The other reason is universal acceptance. Most of the e-commerce and online banking platforms accept emails in ASCII or Latin characters and does not recognise Arabic or Chinese email ID address. People go and register for domain names in Arabic but there is a limitation in how they could use the domain names because domain application of a domain name is email and if you want to use your email ID in your local language and if you are not able to do that, then it is a problem,” Baher Esmat, ICANN’s vice-president for stakeholder engagement in the Middle East, told TechRadar Middle East.

Despite great efforts from the ICANN and the domain managers in the countries to spread awareness on these domains, Munir Badr, Founder and CEO of AEServer, one of the accredited domain name registrars under the TRA for .ae, said that the general public and businesses, in general, prefer to use the common domain extensions in the English language as they are by far more popular, easy to type and use by everyone and in some cases cost less to register compared to the IDNs.

Esmat said that some Gulf Cooperation Council countries, apart from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia have a large Arabic-only speaking population and they use mostly Arabic language on their mobile phones and social media.

From an ICANN’s point of view, he said that the organisation’s role is to ensure that domain names work securely and stably.

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Internet penetration rate in Middle East

“When communities around the world ask ICANN to make domain names in different languages, ICANN has to respond to their needs. Whether the domain names are working or not is ICANN’s business or our responsibility,” Esmatsaid.

According to ICANN, the largest country-level domain names, in terms of registrations, are China and Russia.

“When we have millions of domain names in China and Russia, we have less than 1,000 TLDs in Arabic in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. This may change as our region is the fastest-growing region on internet usage globally,” he said.

According to Internet World Stats, the Middle East had a population of 258.37m as of April last year and out of this, 175.50m are internet users, which translates to 4% of the total internet users globally.

The internet penetration rate in the Middle East stands at 67.2%, higher than the rest of the world at 56.5% and higher than the global average of 56.8%.

According to Ethnologue, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world in 2019 with 319m after Chinese, Spanish, English and Hindi.

Badr said the low usage is mainly due to lack of interest from the registrants.

“If we look at Dubai in general, the language of business is English and with a high ex-pat population, many of the business decision-makers are well aware of the domains and had prior experience by using a generic domain name such as .com or .net or country-level domains (ccTLD) so they will opt for a .ae name and a .com name as a bundle and both in Roman script,” he said.

On the other hand, he said that .ae is one of the best performing domains in the Mena region with over 230,000 domain names registered and is extremely popular within the UAE and it is also cost-effective and easy to register.

However, he said that there is lack of awareness and no big or well-known brands or government agencies are using such domains.

 

Read more on Tech Radar.

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The meeting of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD) and the Middle East DNS Forum (MEDNSF), organized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), were launched today at Media Rotana – Dubai The meeting gathers a group of experts, specialists, and stakeholders, who will discuss over two days the most important issues related to Internet domain names in terms of policies, privacy, security and others.

H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director-General, said in the event opening speech: ‘Your meeting today derives its importance from the diversity of representation within the internet, telecom, digital media, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and other sectors. Accordingly, we must focus on the importance of cooperation with the logic partnership to achieve our common goals of building a prosperous world based on the digital economy.’

H.E. Al Mansoori added: ‘We believe that the next phase burdens should not fall on one sector and not the other, but rather we should all work together as government, private sector, and individuals. As we rapidly enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, we see the urgent need for advanced infrastructure, legislation on data, the internet of things and others. Therefore, your meeting today is an important forum to discuss the prospects for the future, which we hope will bring good results for the people worldwide.’

Al Mansoori added: ‘TRA is hosting these two important events based on its commitment to supporting and sponsoring all activities and initiatives that serve the ICT sector. A group of top experts, interested and investors in the field of internet domains from Asia and the world will meet in Dubai to discuss the most important issues related to this sector, such as domain names and their protection as well as protection of personal information of users, and promotions of investment in domain names.’

Al Mansoori called on registrars, distributors, web hosting companies, Internet service providers, network operators, brand managers, digital marketers, entrepreneurs, and IP professionals to attend these two important activities: “Participants from across the Middle East and the world are leading the discussions, highlighting the most important investment opportunities in the field of domain names in Asia and the Middle East and exploring new ways to enhance the digital presence in the region. It is expected to come out with decisions and results that serve the field of Internet domains globally “.

The APTLD meeting, which is held twice a year, will address a range of issues related to domain names in Asia as well as activating investment in this field. The meeting will also discuss the impact of the EU General Data Protection Regulation on the sector, in addition to discussing the laws of international cyberspace, top-level domains (TLDs) and protection of trade names.

Moreover, the 6th Middle East DNS Forum will review the new policies of TLDs, which will allow new names. The forum will discuss in a separate session the universal acceptance of internationalized domain names, especially Arabic names, the challenges that face the use of Arabic domain names and email addresses, and ways to encourage their global acceptance across various platforms and applications.

The forum will also address domain names infrastructure, DNS security processes and protection. It will also provide an overview of the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) Project, which is a system for studying and reporting on domain name registration and security threat (domain abuse) behavior across top-level domain (TLD) registries and registrars.

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