Case Study

Monday morning. The new network guy sat down at the long table. He had been with the company just one week and was about to present his assessment of the current network status as per management's request.

"We're bringing you onboard, Mike, because of your networking experience and your security background," the CIO told Mike on his first morning at the company. "We need you to look at our network with fresh eyes and tell us where we're at and suggest where we should be going. By Friday you should have your assessment done. Send email invites to a Monday morning meeting to all the people in the department you think need to hear about your assessment."

Fifteen tired faces looked up from the thin, stapled report in front of them and stared at him instead. He felt a little uneasy in front of a room full of people and these meetings weren't much better, especially since he had some bad news.

Mike asked if everyone was present who he had invited to the meeting and were listed on the agenda. Everyone exchanged looks, and finally a pale, thin-faced woman in a dull gray suit spoke up, "Ronald Myer is not here. He left the company two years ago."

"He got laid off after the dotcom slow-down," a small-faced man offered.

"That's scary," Mike replied. "Because he owns your networks."

"He what?" the CIO asked.

"Well, in name only," Mike replied. "But that's enough since your customers and partners don't know you as 216.92.116.13. They visit you at showznthingz.net. Unfortunately, Ronald registered these domains back in 2004 and is listed as both the technical and the billing contact. This gives him ownership privileges for these domains and they expire in a few months."

In November 1983, the RFC 882 started its introductory paragraph with the title, "The Need for Domain Names." It was the idea for a simpler method of communication as applications grew outside of networks and even internets. Now the Domain Name System has grown to be one of the largest and most powerful parts of the Internet. This protocol is the source of many political and commercial deals and deal-breakers. It has become such an inherent part of communication that companies do not even select a name for themselves or a product without first seeing if the domain name still exists. However, for all the power within a name, the processes and services have grown toward efficiency instead of security. The Domain Name System has, therefore, become one of the key battlegrounds for most of the bad things on the Internet—from phishing to hijacking registrars to attacking root address servers.

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