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|.boston||The Boston Globe Newspaper Company Inc.||boston.com||View|
The Registry Operator will operate a WHOIS service available via port 43 in accordance with RFC3912. This standard service is intended as a lookup service for Registry Operators, Registrars, Registrants, as well as for other individuals and businesses that wish to query details of domain names or nameservers stored in the domain name Registry and that are public. The standard WHOIS service provides a central location for all authoritative data the Registry has on the domain name. The Registry Operator also provides a front-end web interface to allow for convenient user access to the WHOIS service.
The Registry Operator will also operate a Domain Availability Service (DAS) via port 4343. Reference is made to section 5 of this response for further detail.
All WHOIS⁄DAS services are connected to the main domain name Registry database. If and when it is necessary for operational stability reasons, the WHOIS server can be duplicated, and connected to one or more read-only hot standby database mirrors. These mirrors are updated a-synchronously via streaming replication, which results in a near real-time data duplication.
2. WHOIS Service
2.1. RFC-3912 Compliant WHOIS
The RFC3912-conformant WHOIS service is engineered to handle moderate transaction load and is part of the standard suite of Registry Services. The WHOIS service will return a single response per domain name or nameserver query. The RFC3912-conform WHOIS service will comply with the requirements of Specification 4 of the Registry Agreement.
The RFC3912-compliant service provided by the Registry Operator will have the following features:
1) Standard protocol accessible over the common WHOIS port 43;
2) Near real-time updates;
3) The format of responses follows a semi-free text format outline below, followed by a blank line and a legal disclaimer specifying the rights of the Registry Operator, and of the user querying the database;
4) Each data object is represented as a set of key⁄value pairs, with lines beginning with keys, followed by a colon and a space as delimiters, followed by the value;
5) For fields where more than one value exists, multiple key⁄value pairs with the same key are allowed (for example to list multiple name servers). The first key⁄value pair after a blank line should be considered the start of a new record, and should be considered as identifying that record, and is used to group data, such as hostnames and IP addresses, or a domain name and Registrant information, together;
6) The format of the following data fields is: domain status, individual and organizational names, street, city, state⁄province, postal code, country, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses, date and times conform to the mappings specified in EPP RFCs 5730-5734 so that the display of this information (or values return in WHOIS responses) can be uniformly processed and understood.
2.2. WHOIS Service data elements
The RFC3912-conform service will include the following data fields:
1) The name of the domain name registered;
2) The IP addresses of the primary nameserver and secondary nameserver(s) of the name registered, if applicable, and the corresponding names of those nameservers;
3) The identity of the Sponsoring Registrar;
4) The original creation date and term of the registration;
5) The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (if available) fax number of the domain name Registrant;
6) The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (if available) fax number of the technical contact for the domain name registered;
7) The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (if available) fax number of the administrative contact for the domain name registered.
2.3. WHOIS Data update frequency
The Registry Operator will be running a thick Registry model, so the data will be readily available and doesnʹt need to be collected from the Registrars. The WHOIS service will query the main database, or, if database load or operational reasons demand, will query a hot standby read-only database mirror. In case of querying the main database, the data is always up-to-date, in case of querying a mirror database, the data is updated continuously via streaming replication and is near real time up-to-date (in a matter of seconds or minutes).
2.4. Privacy Capability
The Registry Operator will protect the privacy of an individual where required. If the Registrant of a domain name is an individual, the WHOIS service could disclose only limited information on the Registrant. If the Registrant wishes to disclose more information, he can instruct the Registrar to update the corresponding contact object in the Registry database (e.g. using the 〈contact:disclose〉 statement in EPP according to RFC5733).
If legislation mandates to avoid automatic harvesting of the Registrantʹs details (because port 43 WHOIS is plain text), the WHOIS service could omit the Registrant details and refer the initiator of the query to the web-based WHOIS where the WHOIS data will be disclosed in a multiple-step process.
2.5. Query Control – Object Type Control
The following keywords restrict a search to specific object type:
1) Domain: Search only by domain objects. The input string is searched in the Domain Name field.
2) Contact: Search only contact objects. The input string is searched in the Contact ID field.
3) Nameserver: Search only by nameserver objects. The input string is searched in the nameserver field and the IP address field.
4) Registrar: Search only Registrar objects. The input string is searched in the Registrar ID and Registrar Name fields.
By default, if no object type control is specified, then the Name field of the Domain object is searched.
3. WHOIS Output fields
3.1. Domain Records
The WHOIS server can answer a domain name query in three different ways:
1) The domain name is registered in the domain name Registry database, a typical response is detailed in section 3.1.2;
2) The domain name is not registered, nor available for registration, because of various reasons, such as appearing on the blocked or reserved list, as specified in the Applicant Guidebook (see article 2.6 of the Registry Agreement), or for policy reasons. A typical response is detailed in section 3.1.3.
3) The domain name Registry has no information on the domain name in the request. A typical response is detailed in section 3.1.4.
3.1.2. Domain Name is registered
A WHOIS query that results in domain name information will return the following fields from the domain object and the associated data from host and contact objects. This set of data is also referred to as the Domain Record.
1) Domain Name (both A-label and U-label for IDN domain names, see response to Question 44 on Internationalized Domain Names);
2) Domain ID;
3) Domain Status (several domain status codes can be shown here, such as OK or INACTIVE, a pending action status and⁄or restriction flags. An overview can be found in the response to Question 27 on Domain Name Lifecycle);
4) Sponsoring Registrar (IANA-assigned identifier) and name of Registrar
5) Registrant, Administrative, Technical Contact Information including:
a) Contact ID
b) Contact Name
c) Contact Organization
d) Contact Address, City, State⁄Province, Country
e) Contact Postal Code
f) Contact Phone, Fax, E-mail
6) Names of Nameservers and IP addresses (IPv4 and⁄or IPv6) associated with this domain
7) Creation Date
8) Domain Expiration Date
9) Domain Last Updated Date
10) DNSSEC status of delegation (signedDelegation, unsigned)
For domain names that are registered in the sunrise phase, the WHOIS can show additional labels containing sunrise information (depending on the information provided by Trademark ClearingHouse, in accordance with Specification 7 in the Applicant Guidebook).
3.1.3. Domain Name is not registered, but not available
A WHOIS query for a domain name that is not registered in the domain name Registry database, but is also not available for registration, will result in a single line with the reason of non-availability (f.i. “Reserved by Registry” or “Blocked by Registry”).
3.1.4. No information on Domain Name
A WHOIS query for a domain name for which the domain name Registry has no information, will result in a single line stating “NOT FOUND”.
3.2. Nameserver Record
A WHOIS query that results in nameserver information will return the following (this set of information is referred to as the Nameserver Record)
1) Nameserver name
2) IP address (if applicable, IPv4 and⁄or IPv6)
3) Sponsoring Registrar (IANA-assigned identifier)
3.3. Contact Record
A WHOIS query that results in contact information will return the following. This set of information is referred to as the Contact Record.
1) Contact ID
2) Contact Name
3) Contact Organization
4) Contact Address, City, State⁄Province, Country + 3 street fields
5) Contact Postal Code
6) Contact Phone, Fax (if available), E-mail
7) Create Date
8) Contact Last Updated Date
9) Contact Status (several contact status codes can be shown here, such as OK or LINKED, a pending action status and⁄or restriction flags)
10) Sponsoring Registrar (IANA-assigned identifier)
3.4. Registrar Record
A WHOIS query that results in Registrar information will return the following (this set of information is referred to as the Registrar Record)
1) Registrar ID (conforming to the IANA Registrar-ids Registry)
2) Registrar Name
3) Registrar Address, City, State⁄Province, Country
4) Registrar Postal Code
5) Registrar Phone, Fax, E-mail
6) Registrar Administrative Contacts
7) Registrar Technical Contacts
8) Registrar Billing Contacts
4. Measures for Abuse Mitigation
Measures are taken to protect the WHOIS port 43 service against bulk access:
1) The number of queries is limited per querying IP address in two different ways: a maximum number of queries per second, and a capped number of queries per hour. Excessive querying will result in a denial of the result of the query.
2) The web-based WHOIS implements a multiple-step process to obtain the queried data, and is protected by a CAPTCHA image. Here the number of queries per day per IP address is also capped.
3) Data-mining techniques are implemented to monitor the distribution of the querying client’s IP addresses. Anomalies will be brought under the attention of the Registry Operator for further evaluation.
Often the reason for bulk access to the WHOIS service is querying the availability of the domain name (e.g. from Registrarʹs web front-ends). Therefore the domain name Registry Operator will also introduce a Domain Availability Service (DAS).
5. Domain Availability Service (DAS)
The DAS service will run on port 4343 and implements a very simple protocol, similar to the WHOIS protocol. The DAS service only indicates whether the given domain name is still available for registration or not, thereby not giving more information regarding the Registrant.
The query format: whois -p 4343 EXAMPLE.TLD
The response format:
1) Domain Name: EXAMPLE.TLD
2) Available: yes
3) Available: no
Bulk access to the DAS service is not discouraged, but, if required by stability concerns, the number of queries per second can be capped.
6. Searchable WHOIS Capabilities
The web-based WHOIS service will also offer the possibility to partially match the domain name field. The search string must be at least 4 characters, and the wildcard operator ʹ*ʹ must be added at the beginning and⁄or at the end of the search string. The WHOIS service will then return a HTML page with a maximum of 10 matching domain names, which can be clicked to view full details.
The search capabilities can only be explored by legitimate authorized users. Candidate users of this service need to apply for access to these features, giving a legitimate reason why they would need the service.
If the applicable privacy laws and policies allow to do so, more search capabilities can be enabled on the web-based WHOIS service, conform to Specification 4 of the Applicant Guidebook.
To prevent abuse of the service, all queries are stored per user. The number of queries per month is capped.
The searchable WHOIS capabilities offers the same privacy rules as described above.
7. Security and Stability
The WHOIS setup has multiple overload protection systems in place:
1) At the border of the network, rate limiting is implemented;
2) The stateful firewall prevents abuse from a single IP address;
3) The IDS⁄IPS prevents malformed WHOIS requests from passing;
4) To be able to maintain a high load of WHOIS queries, a cluster of virtual machines is set up. By using port replication or broadcast MAC, no load-balancing single points of failure are introduced;
5) If the WHOIS service load on the database experiences decreasing performance, as many extra read-only copies of the Registry database as needed can be set up and used by the WHOIS server(s) to provide extra WHOIS capacity. The capacity of the WHOIS service is therefore only capped by the rate limiting that is implemented at the network edge;
6) All WHOIS (port 43) cluster nodes run as separate virtual machines.
(View attachment for Figure 1: WHOIS Network & Infrastructure Overview)
8. Resourcing Plan
With regards to resourcing, reference is made to the global resourcing scheme as part of response to question 31 (Technical Overview of the Proposed Registry). Implementation and maintenance of the WHOIS and DAS is under the authority of the Software Developer, under control of the Operations Manager. The technical infrastructure is implemented and maintained by the Network & System Administrator.
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