The provision of registry services for Puerto Rico's ccTLD, .pr, is now being outsourced with Afilias winning the contract to provide the services. According to an announcement from Afilias, the transition was completed on 7 January although no date was given for when the contract was signed.
Previously the back-end registry services were provided in-house by Gauss Research Laboratories, the .PR ccTLD manager, and is part of a growing trend for outsourcing the services as registrys seek to diversify income streams on the back of a slowdown in global registration growth.
The announcement comes just a couple of weeks after a reported security incident, involving a number of top level domains managed by Afilias. In an advice seen by Domain Pulse, there was an Unscheduled Registry System Maintenance, which is code for a serious security incident, that involved at least the following top level domains:
.ADULT .ASIA .BLACK .BLUE .BZ .GLOBAL .GREEN .INFO .KIM .LGBT .ME .MOBI .MOBILE IDN .移 动 / .XN–6FRZ82G .PINK .POKER .PORN .PRO .RED .SEX .SHIKSHA .VC .VEGAS .VOTE .VOTO .XXX .COM.BZ.
It doesn't appear to have involved all TLDs managed by Afilias as .org is one not listed.
In a response to a question on an auDA Member Forum, an auDA spokesperson confirmed the outage, saying “Afilias identified an attempt to penetrate their systems and took immediate steps to counter. Consistent with proper security practices, Afilias promptly announced a maintenance period to registrars and conducted the maintenance for the target registry complex in order to reset certain system elements related to this attempt. There was no interruption of DNS service and Afilias operations remained 100% compliant with all SLAs during this period.”
“Forensic analysis provided credible evidence that a single instance of unauthorised access to registrar credential information occurred in one of Afilias’ registry complexes.”
However questions have been raised given the Afilias response as there are concerns the security incident impacted more than the one Afilias registry complexes the company has admitted to.
In a response on the auDA member forum, supply class member and Director of Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd, Anthony Peake, said he was confused as to how a “'single instance of unauthorised access to registrar credential information occurred in one of Afilias’ registry complexes' yet this resulted in a reset of passwords in at least three complexes at least one of which was a ccTLD which I would expect to be isolated from the gTLD environments.”
On .pr, the Puerto Rican ccTLD is unrestricted and is being promoted as a natural address for public relations agencies and practitioners worldwide in addition to those doing business in Puerto Rico.
Oscar Moreno de Ayala, President of Puerto Rico Top Level Domain (PRTLD) explains: “The internet operating environment for ccTLDs is increasingly complex and hostile, prompting us to upgrade our technology to better protect our domain owners. A careful analysis led us to Afilias.”
Pablo Rodríguez, Executive Vice President of PRTLD added: “We are pleased to be working with Afilias, a recognized leader in registry technology. Afilias will help us both enhance the security and reliability of the registry and expand distribution and sales worldwide.”
“Afilias is proud to be selected to provide technical services in support of the .PR TLD. Our technology will strengthen .PR to make it less susceptible to natural disasters, more reliable and secure, and more broadly available across the thousand registrars serviced by Afilias. We are looking forward to working with Oscar, Pablo and the entire dotPR team to help .PR reach its full potential,” said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer of Afilias.
Afilias was approached for comment on the security incident, but 24 hours after the request was made had not responded.