TU Delft and SIDN Labs kickoff new study for ICANN

We're very excited to announce that we kicked off a new project together with Delft University of Technology to investigate the abuse of domain names in new and legacy gTLDs. The goal is to carry out a statistical analysis, for instance in terms of the number of domains in gTLDs that are being misused for phishing and malware. The study will include an analysis of the parameters that influence domain name abuse, such as the use of DNSSEC.

The results of the work form an important input for the evaluation of the New gTLD Program, which led to an expansion of the domain name space with over 1,200 new extensions since October of 2013. Examples of such extensions are .beer, .ninja, and .amsterdam. The evaluation is taking place at the request of the Competition, Consumer Choice and Consumer Trust Review Team (CCT Review Team), which has been convened by ICANN to independently assess the effects of the Program on these three areas.

We will be building on the expertise and tools we developed in the past two years in the REMEDI3S-TLD project, which was a joint effort of SIDN Labs and TU Delft as well. TU Delft recently wrote a scientific paper about this work together with us at SIDN Labs, which was accepted for publication in the IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy. REMEDI3S-TLD was part of the larger REMEDI3S project, in which the Netherlands National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) participated as well. REMEDI3S was co-funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

The new project started on December 5 and will finish early July 2017. The SIDN Labs folk on the study team are Maarten Wullink and Giovane Moura. From TU Delft it will be dr. Maciej Korczyński and prof. Michel van Eeten, who are members of the university's Economics of Cybersecurity Group. Maarten and Maciej are the principal investigators, with Maarten also being responsible for project management.

We were selected by ICANN based on our joint response to a public Request for Proposals back in August. This is not our first ICANN-commissioned project though. We previously won the Root Stability Study in collaboration with TNO and NLnet Labs, which we are currently carrying out and the results of which are another input for the evaluation of the New gTLD Program.

Since we love acronyms at SIDN Labs, we named the project 'SADAG', which is short for 'Statistical Analysis of DNS Abuse in gTLDs'. Please check the SADAG site for more information or contact Maarten Wullink.



Cristian Hesselman

Director SIDN Labs

+31 6 25 07 87 33


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