28 Abuse Prevention and Mitigation

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.htcHTC corporationnet-chinese.com.twView

28.1 Abuse Prevention and Mitigation
Strong abuse prevention of a New gTLD is an important benefit to the internet community. .htc registry and its registry operator and back-end registry services provider, Neustar, agree that a registry must not only aim for the highest standards of technical and operational competence, but also needs to act as a steward of the space on behalf of the Internet community and ICANN in promoting the public interest. Neustar brings extensive experience establishing and implementing registration policies. This experience will be leveraged to help .htc registry combat abusive and malicious domain activity within the New gTLD space.
One of those public interest functions for a responsible domain name registry includes working towards the eradication of abusive domain name registrations, including, but not limited to, those resulting from:
Illegal or fraudulent actions
Distribution of malware
Fast flux hosting
Distribution of child pornography
Online sale or distribution of illegal pharmaceuticals
More specifically, although traditionally botnets have used Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers to control registry and the compromised PCs, or bots, for DDoS attacks and the theft of personal information, an increasingly popular technique, known as fast-flux DNS, allows botnets to use a multitude of servers to hide a key host or to create a highly-available control network. This ability to shift the attacker’s infrastructure over a multitude of servers in various countries creates an obstacle for law enforcement and security researchers to mitigate the effects of these botnets. But a point of weakness in this scheme is its dependence on DNS for its translation services. By taking an active role in researching and monitoring these sorts of botnets, Applicant’s partner, Neustar, has developed the ability to efficiently work with various law enforcement and security communities to begin a new phase of mitigation of these types of threats.
Policies and Procedures to Minimize Abusive Registrations
A Registry must have the policies, resources, personnel, and expertise in place to combat such abusive DNS practices. As .htc registry provider, Neustar is at the forefront of the prevention of such abusive practices and is one of the few registry operators to have actually developed and implemented an active “domain takedown” policy. We also believe that a strong program is essential given that registrants have a reasonable expectation that they are in control of the data associated with their domains, especially its presence in the DNS zone. Because domain names are sometimes used as a mechanism to enable various illegitimate activities on the Internet often the best preventative measure to thwart these attacks is to remove the names completely from the DNS before they can impart harm, not only to the domain name registrant, but also to millions of unsuspecting Internet users.
Removing the domain name from the zone has the effect of shutting down all activity associated with the domain name, including the use of all websites and e-mails. The use of this technique should not be entered into lightly. .htc registry has an extensive, defined, and documented process for taking the necessary action of removing a domain from the zone when its presence in the zone poses a threat to the security and stability of the infrastructure of the Internet or the registry.
Abuse Point of Contact
As required by the Registry Agreement, .htc registry will establish and publish on its website a single abuse point of contact responsible for addressing inquiries from law enforcement and the public related to malicious and abusive conduct. .htc registry will also provide such information to ICANN prior to the delegation of any domain names in the TLD. This information shall consist of, at a minimum, a valid e-mail address dedicated solely to the handling of malicious conduct complaints, and a telephone number and mailing address for the primary contact. We will ensure that this information will be kept accurate and up to date and will be provided to ICANN if and when changes are made. In addition, with respect to inquiries from ICANN-Accredited registrars, our registry services provider, Neustar, shall have an additional point of contact, as it does today, handling requests by registrars related to abusive domain name practices.
28.2 Policies Regarding Abuse Complaints
One of the key policies each New gTLD registry will need to have is an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. In addition, the policy will be incorporated into the applicable Registry-Registrar Agreement and reserve the right for the registry to take the appropriate actions based on the type of abuse. This will include locking down the domain name preventing any changes to the contact and nameserver information associated with the domain name, placing the domain name “on hold” rendering the domain name non-resolvable, transferring to the domain name to another registrar, and⁄or in cases in which the domain name is associated with an existing law enforcement investigation, substituting name servers to collect information about the DNS queries to assist the investigation.
.htc registry will adopt an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly defines the types of activities that will not be permitted in the TLD and reserves the right of the Applicant to lock, cancel, transfer or otherwise suspend or take down domain names violating the Acceptable Use Policy and allow the Registry where and when appropriate to share information with law enforcement. Each ICANN-Accredited Registrar must agree to pass through the Acceptable Use Policy to its Resellers (if applicable) and ultimately to the TLD registrants. Below is the Registry’s initial Acceptable Use Policy that we will use in connection with .htc registry.
.htc registry Acceptable Use Policy
This Acceptable Use Policy gives the Registry the ability to quickly lock, cancel, transfer or take ownership of any .htc registry domain name, either temporarily or permanently, if the domain name is being used in a manner that appears to threaten the stability, integrity or security of the Registry, or any of its registrar partners-and⁄or that may put the safety and security of any registrant or user at risk. The process also allows the Registry to take preventive measures to avoid any such criminal or security threats.
The Acceptable Use Policy may be triggered through a variety of channels, including, among other things, private complaint, public alert, government or enforcement agency outreach, and the on-going monitoring by the Registry or its partners. In all cases, the Registry or its designees will alert Registry’s registrar partners about any identified threats, and will work closely with them to bring offending sites into compliance.
The following are some (but not all) activities that may be subject to rapid domain compliance:
Phishing: the attempt to acquire personally identifiable information by masquerading as a website other than .htc registry own.
Pharming: the redirection of Internet users to websites other than those the user intends to visit, usually through unauthorized changes to the Hosts file on a victim’s computer or DNS records in DNS servers.
Dissemination of Malware: the intentional creation and distribution of ʺmaliciousʺ software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner’s consent, including, without limitation, computer viruses, worms, key loggers, and Trojans.
Fast Flux Hosting: a technique used to shelter Phishing, Pharming and Malware sites and networks from detection and to frustrate methods employed to defend against such practices, whereby the IP address associated with fraudulent websites are changed rapidly so as to make the true location of the sites difficult to find.
Botnetting: the development and use of a command, agent, motor, service, or software which is implemented: (1) to remotely control the computer or computer system of an Internet user without their knowledge or consent, (2) to generate direct denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
Malicious Hacking: the attempt to gain unauthorized access (or exceed the level of authorized access) to a computer, information system, user account or profile, database, or security system.
Child Pornography: the storage, publication, display and⁄or dissemination of pornographic materials depicting individuals under the age of majority in the relevant jurisdiction.
Illegal Profit-Oriented Behaviors: any act with profit of malicious intention.
.htc Registry reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any administrative and operational actions necessary, including the use of computer forensics and information security technological services, among other things, in order to implement the Acceptable Use Policy. In addition, the Registry reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on registry lock, hold or similar status, that it deems necessary, in its discretion; (1) to protect the integrity and stability of the registry; (2) to comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, or any dispute resolution process; (3) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Registry as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees; (4) per the terms of the registration agreement or (5) to correct mistakes made by the Registry or any Registrar in connection with a domain name registration. Registry also reserves the right to place upon registry lock, hold or similar status a domain name during resolution of a dispute.
Monitoring for Malicious Activity
If any malicious activity happen, “domain takedown” policy will be implemented. .htc registry targets domain names which are verified to be abusive and removes them within 12 hours.
.htc registry active prevention policies stem from the notion that registrants in the TLD have a reasonable expectation that they are in control of the data associated with their domains, especially its presence in the DNS zone. Because domain names are sometimes used as a mechanism to enable various illegitimate activities on the internet, including malware, bot command and control, pharming, and phishing, the best preventative measure to thwart these attacks is often to remove the names completely from the DNS before they can impart harm, not only to the domain name registrant, but also to millions of unsuspecting internet users.
Rapid Takedown Process
Since implementing the program, there are developed two basic variations of the process. The more common process variation is a light-weight process that is triggered by “typical” notices. The less-common variation is the full process that is triggered by unusual notices. These notices tend to involve the need for accelerated action by .htc registry in the event that a complaint is received by registry which alleges that a domain name is being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or is part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement or security researchers. These processes are described below:
Lightweight Process
Once a complaint is received from a trusted source, third-party, or detected by .htc registry, information about the abusive practice is forwarded to an internal mail distribution list that includes members of processing team.
Once the complaint has been reviewed and the alleged abusive domain name activity is verified to the best of the ability of .htc registry, it should investigate the activity within 12 hours and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the registry to keep the name in the zone.
If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 12hours (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), .htc registry places the domain on “ServerHold”. Although this action removes the domain name from the TLD zone, the domain name record still appears in the TLD WHOIS database so that the name and entities can be investigated by law enforcement should they desire to get involved.
Full Process
In the event when receive a complaint which claims that a domain name is being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD or is a part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement or security researchers, .htc registry follows a slightly different course of action.
Upon initiation of this process, members of .htc registry are paged and a teleconference bridge is immediately opened up .htc registry to assess whether the activity warrants immediate action. If determines the incident is not an immediate threat to the security and the stability of critical internet infrastructure, it will refers the incident to the Lightweight process set forth above. If no abusive practice is discovered, the incident is closed.
However, if determines there is a reasonable likelihood that the incident warrants immediate action as described above, a determination is made to immediately remove the domain from the zone.
28.3 Measures for Removal of Orphan Glue Records
As the Security and Stability Advisory Committee of ICANN (SSAC) rightly acknowledges, although orphaned glue records may be used for abusive or malicious purposes, the “dominant use of orphaned glue supports the correct and ordinary operation of the DNS.” See http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄committees⁄security⁄sac048.pdf.
While orphan glue often support correct and ordinary operation of the DNS, we understand that such glue records can be used maliciously to point to name servers that host domains used in illegal phishing, bot-nets, malware, and other abusive behaviors. Problems occur when the parent domain of the glue record is deleted but its children glue records still remain in DNS. Therefore, when the Registry has written evidence of actual abuse of orphaned glue, the Registry will take action to remove those records from the zone to mitigate such malicious conduct.
Neustar runs a daily audit of entries in its DNS systems and compares those with its provisioning system. This serves as an umbrella protection to make sure that items in the DNS zone are valid. Any DNS record that shows up in the DNS zone but not in the provisioning system will be flagged for investigation and removed if necessary. This daily DNS audit serves to not only prevent orphaned hosts but also other records that should not be in the zone.
In addition, if either .htc registry or Neustar become aware of actual abuse on orphaned glue after receiving written notification by a third party through its Abuse Contact or through its customer support, such glue records will be removed from the zone.
28.4 Measures to Promote WHOIS Accuracy
.htc registry acknowledges that ICANN has developed a number of mechanisms over the past decades that are intended to address the issue of inaccurate WHOIS information. Such measures alone have not proven to be sufficient and .htc registry will offer a mechanism whereby third parties can submit complaints directly to the Applicant (as opposed to ICANN or the sponsoring Registrar) about inaccurate or incomplete WHOIS data, and shall be required to address those complaints with their registrants. the process is as below:
1. When .htc registry or any of its registrar partners receive a domain name compliant by third-party, a mail will send to registrant, inform the domain’s WHOIS information has been complained by others.
2. Registrant need to update its WHOIS data within a period and then .htc registry or any of its registrar partners will examine the WHOIS data to check whether the information is correct.
3. If registrant failed to take any action or the WHOIS data is still inaccuracy. Domain name will probably be suspend or deleted.
In addition, .htc registry shall be on its own initiative; perform a manual review of a random sampling of .htc domain names to test the accuracy of the WHOIS information. Although this will not include verifying the actual information in the WHOIS record, but will be examining the WHOIS data for prima facie evidence of inaccuracies. In the event that such evidence exists, it shall be process follow the steps above, and shall be required to address those complaints with their registrants.
.htc registry will include a thick WHOIS database as required in Specification 4 of the Registry agreement. A thick WHOIS provides numerous advantages including a centralized location of registrant information, the ability to more easily manage and control the accuracy of data, and a consistent user experience.
28.4.1Authentication of registrant information
The service of HTC Corporation is unique and very high quality. Every type of HTC Corporation’s products or services have valid ID number. In order to provide better service to HTC Corporation’s customers, .htc registry depends on valid ID number to proceed verification process.
A. Registrant should be the customer of HTC Corporation
When customers buy any products or services of HTC Corporation (The definition of HTC Corporation is including the HTC Corporation parent company, any branch of HTC Corporation, any subsidiary of HTC Corporation, and any holding company of HTC Corporation.), they will get a valid ID number follow the product, it should be provided when proceeding domain registration.
B.E-MAIL confirmation process:
After providing valid ID number, .htc registry will check the valid ID number is correct or not, if correct, .htc registry will send a conformation e-mail to registrant.
Registrant should check the WHOIS data and confirm all the information is correct. After examination, registrant has to click the link in this mail to identity verification. The application will be successful if all the processes above have been completed.
28.4.2 HTC Corporation Will Monitor Registration Data
.htc registry will regularly monitor the registration data for accuracy and completeness, employing authentication methods, and establishing policies and procedures to address domain names with inaccurate or incomplete WHOIS data.
Domain name need to renew every year, when domain renewal, registrant will receive verification mail to confirm the WHOIS data.
Registrant should confirm the information is correct and need to provide accurate and reliable contact detail.
When data changed, registrant should update it immediately.
Domain update process
.htc registry provide multi-factor authentication to ensure proper access to domain functions.
When a domain name is proceeding any update, such as renewal, transfer, deletion action, it requires multi-factor authentication. Registrant should login to account that with the HTC Corporation’s service first. Then address the request on the interface such as update registrant information, renewal, transfer, and delete domain name. After update domain’s status, the system will send a confirmation e-mail, and registrant needs to click the link in this mail to identity verification to complete the process.
28.5Resourcing Plans
Responsibility for abuse mitigation rests with a variety of functional groups. The Abuse Monitoring team is primarily responsible for providing analysis and conducting investigations of reports of abuse. The customer service team also plays an important role in assisting with the investigations and responding customers, and notifying registrars of abusive domains. Finally, the Policy⁄Legal team is responsible for developing the relevant policies and procedures.
The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:
Customer Support 12 employees
Policy⁄Legal 2 employees
The resources are more than adequate to support the abuse mitigation procedures of .htc registry.

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