Tag Archives: Neustar

DDoS Attacks Increase by 151% in First Half of 2020 : Neustar

[news release] Neustar, Inc., a global information services and technology company and leader in identity resolution, Wednesday released its latest cyberthreats and trends report which identifies significant shifts in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack patterns in the first half of 2020. Neustar’s Security Operations Center (SOC) saw a 151% increase in the number of DDoS attacks compared to the same period in 2019.

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Neustar, PIR and Verisign Participate in U.S. Government Pilot To Prevent Illegal Online Sale Of Unapproved Opioids

Neustar (.us), Public Interest Registry (.org) and Verisign (.com/.net) are participating in a three month trial with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Food and Drug Administration to curb illegal online sales of unapproved opioids.

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.BRANDS Grow 20% In 2019: Neustar Report

It’s arguable that .brands are the success story of new gTLDs and there are now 550 .brand new gTLDs in use around the world, with, according to the latest .brands Industry Report from Neustar, growth of 20% in 2019.

The big statistics in the report for the 2019 calendar year are there were 18,722 domain names in these 550 .brand new gTLDs, of which 12,509 (19% growth) were in use as of 31 December and 25 .brands were used for the first time in 2019.

There were also 9,426 redirecting domain names, a growth of 22% and almost two-thirds (64%) of all .brands are now in use, 3,083 resolving, up 15%.

Looking at how many domains each .brand had, 3 had more than 1,000, 7 had more than 500 and 8 had more than 250. The 3 with more than 1,000 domain names were .dvag with 3,575, .mma (1,859) and .audi (1,603). Neustar’s own .neustar had 655 domain names, making it the seventh largest.

The top .brands with resolving domain names were a different list with .audi being the largest, then .seat and .bmw while there were 5 sectors with more than 1,000 domain names – banking and financial with 5,633, automotive (3,661), insurance (2,370), information technology (1,702) and industrial (1,036).

Want to know what’s going on in the world of .brands? Our .brands Industry Report is now live and contains all the stats you need AND key articles like my interview with KMPG on their success and lessons learned since they dropped .com and moved to home.kpmg

The sixth edition of the Report goes in depth looking KPMG “who bravely chose to drop their .com and move their global footprint to the home.kpmg web address. This was a significant undertaking and it’s significance on the global .brand stage should not be underestimated. Nearly a year after their transition, we check back in with KPMG to learn more about their journey; specifically – the benefits, the challenges, and the impact to their SEO ranking.”

The report also explores “cost reduction and portfolio management efficiency opportunities” which they say “should be of particular interest to brand portfolio managers.”

To download and read the report in full, see: https://www.home.neustar/lp/brand-report/index.html

Neustar Says Hello.vu As It’s Appointed Registry For Vanuatu’s ccTLD

Neustar has been appointed as registry operator for Vanuatu’s ccTLD, .vu, by the Office of the Vanuatu Telecommunications, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator (TRBR) following a competitive tender process. Adding .vu to Neustar’s growing stable of TLDs follows their appointment to run India’s ccTLD earlier this year.

The process of awarding the registry contract started in 2016 when the Vanuatu government passed legislation relating to .vu that would lead to deregulation as well as an upgraded IANA process for redelegation that previously took many years to complete. There had also been deregulation of Vanuatu’s telecommunications space which had seen costs go down by around 80%, so the government was keenly away deregulation could bring benefits. Vanuatu has a population of around 276,000 for the Pacific island east of the northern part of Australia.

“In seeking a new Registry Operator for the .vu namespace, we sought an organisation that would act as a true partner to TRBR in managing and administering .vu in the interests of the Vanuatu Internet Community, as well as the Internet-using community globally,” said TRBR Regulator, Mr Brian Winji.

“Neustar’s credentials in TLD operations and marketing, DNS security and performance, policy development and more, uniquely position it to support TRBR in increasing .vu domain name registrations through enhanced promotions, technical innovation and security.”

“We look forward to working with Neustar in this next stage of .vu’s evolution, and benefiting from Neustar’s demonstrated experience in ccTLD management and strong reputation in the industry as an organisation of integrity and professionalism.”

Vanuatu’s ccTLD, with around 1,500 to 2,000 registrations, nobody seems to know for sure, has been notable in recent years for a less than stellar service for registrants and it was something the government was keen to improve. The less than stellar service meant the registry wasn’t reliable saw local businesses and others look abroad when registering their domain names. So a consultation process began with various internet groups who were supportive of change and to allow Vanuatu companies and organisations to sell domain names.

Now, with Neustar Vanuatu Limited, a subsidiary of Neustar, Inc, as a reliable registry operator .vu is looking to expand and will continue to be available to registrants around the world. But now it will be able to add security and stability to having a visually appealing top-level domain to appeal to registrants.

While the addition of .vu will add little to domains under management, it is undoubtedly of strategic value and will demonstrate that despite their size, Neustar is capable and willing to operate TLDs of any size. Today Neustar operates the back-end technology and marketing for several ccTLDs around the world, including .co (Colombia), .us (United States) and .in (India). In addition, they operate and support a large portfolio of generic TLDs, including the fastest-growing city TLD .nyc, and other high-profile domains like .biz. In total, they support almost 240 TLDs and 15 million domain names around the world.

.CO Celebrates 9th Birthday

Colombia’s ccTLD has been around a lot longer than 9 years, but 9 years ago when there were only 28,000 .co domain names, all of them registered within Colombia, there was a big change. Eligibility rules were liberalised and .co today is treated as a gTLD rather than a ccTLD and there are now more than 2.3 million domain names registered.

In a post on the go.co blog, thanks is given “to the great vision and forward-thinking of Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MINTIC), and a liberalised set of registration policies, on July 20th 2010, the registration restrictions were lifted on second-level .CO domains, effectively opening up the namespace to the entire world. This happened to coincide with Colombia’s Independence Day, so celebration was in the air among the .CO team.”

Prior to July 2010 the only way to register a .co domain name was by being a resident of Colombia.

Today those 2.3 million .co domain names for Colombia’s country code top level domain are registered in nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide. And over the years, a lot of the seeds that started out with us have grown into mighty oaks, including Angel List (angel.co), 500 Startups (500.co), Twitter (t.co), Common Bond (commonbond.co), WeWork (we.co), Rebel Girls (rebelgirls.co), Mirror (mirror.co), Fitpal (fitpal.co), and, well, millions more!

Neustar’s Nicolai Bezsonoff Discusses The “Vote of Confidence” In Being Awarded 10 More Years of .US

Last week Neustar was awarded a contract to continue operating the .us registry until 2029, which Neustar views as a “vote of confidence” in their “work thus far with .US, as well as the expertise and capabilities of our team and our infrastructure.” Domain Pulse spoke to Nicolai Bezsonoff, Vice President and General Manager of Registry Solutions at Neustar about what the announcement means to Neustar, the importance of security not just with .us but with all their TLDs, combatting abuse, reaching target audiences and how to combat .com in the US.

Domain Pulse: This contract will take Neustar’s operation as the .us registry past 20 years and in many ways it’s been a silent success. What are Neustar’s plans to continue .us’ growth during the next many years?

Nicolai Bezsonoff: We’re really proud of the long-standing relationship and productive partnership we have built with the NTIA, and we’re thrilled to have received this vote of confidence in our work thus far with .US, as well as the expertise and capabilities of our team and our infrastructure.
That said, we’re certainly not resting on our laurels. As we have done for many years, the next phase of .US will involve a continual cycle of innovating and investment to expand our markets, refine our messaging, implement creative marketing campaigns, engage more deeply with our community, stay abreast of the latest opportunities in marketing and digital, and form meaningful, productive partnerships with organizations that can help us spread awareness and inspire use of the .US domain.

More broadly, over the last few years Neustar Registry has been investing heavily in its DNS and DDoS mitigation capabilities as well as policies and procedures to tackle domain abuse and other cybersecurity concerns, in collaboration with experts and authorities around the world. Our emphasis on security is in turn helping us build a more resilient, robust and trustworthy Registry offering for all our TLDs, .US included, and I suspect is a big part of the reason why other ccTLDs such as .IN and .CO also trust Neustar to protect their critical infrastructure.

This innovation in how we operate and market .US, as well as continually securing and improving performance of our Registry and our TLDs, will ensure the continued value of .US domains for our Registrants – ultimately encouraging loyalty and driving new registrations.

DP: .us has had to compete for awareness against generic top-level domains, particularly .com but also .net and many of the new gTLDs – how have you made .us stand out and be noticed when .com in particular is all many Americans think of?

NB: That’s a really fair question – and to be honest, it’s something that all Registries face in some way or another. Particularly with the increased competition created by new TLDs but even outside this; when there is a choice for consumers to make, then you have to offer something the others don’t. And in truth, that is one of the biggest challenges for our industry.

Firstly, to address .com – it is the dominant industry player for many reasons – most obviously that it had a massive first mover advantage. The .com domain had already been successfully deployed in the United States for many years before the .US country code TLD ever launched.
What we’ve always aimed to do with .US, and will continue to be a key focus moving forward, is to give American consumers an alternative that ticks a few additional boxes. The same logic applies to new TLDs – one of the main goals of the new TLD program was to provide greater consumer choice, and that simply means we need to build a strategy that makes .US a strong and convincing choice for our target market. Choice is ultimately a good thing for our industry, benefiting our customers and keeping us as Registry Operators accountable while also driving creativity and innovation.

Getting a certain domain at a certain price is only one part of the picture, and while some customers will only want to look at this, for those wanting to explore their options then we’re proud to offer a namespace that is stable and authoritative. We’ve worked hard (and will continue to do so) to make sure .US is one of the safest, most secure and trusted domains in the world. This includes everything from our leading and continually-evolving DNS and DDoS capabilities, to our proactive work regarding domain name and DNS abuse. We believe this kind of development and innovation provides additional layers of service to .US domain registrants that perhaps you won’t get from other namespaces that charge a dollar a domain.

Beyond this, while it’s not a “new” TLD, .US still has drastically fewer domains registered than .com which means greater availability of meaningful names. And even though .com is fairly synonymous with U.S. websites, .US has the branding advantage of actually having “US” in the domain itself, which is a primary selling point for many of our Registrants.
The last point I’ll make, but a very important one, is that we also have a fantastic marketing team that works very hard to spread awareness, growth and use of the .US domain, and we’re continually developing new, creative campaigns to broaden our market and reach new customers.

DP: Many ccTLDs around the world are struggling for growth – maintaining registrations but finding the market somewhat saturated. How has Neustar found the market for .us?

NB: Finding a target market for a ccTLD like .US is both a blessing and a curse – technically the entire United States is our potential audience, but realistically we need to be strategic about who we’re speaking to and what message they want to hear.

Over many years we’ve developed a ‘micro-targeting’ approach, focusing on specific, targetable audience groups and crafting dedicated messaging for each, then reaching them through really pinpointed channels and platforms.

The ‘.US market’ contains everything from small business (really our bread-and-butter), to political candidates and activists, to community organizations and causes.

That said, we have to remain innovative and nimble to keep up. One approach we developed to grow new markets was to lean into using .US in reference to the word “us” rather than just an acronym for the United States. From this, we’ve found a new and engaged audience in both families registering domains for family websites or email addresses, and engaged couples finding a creative address for their wedding website.

My colleague, Lori Anne Wardi, recently wrote an article in Domain Name Wire that shares more of the specifics about .US marketing [which is available here].

Building a strong product that is differentiated from our competitors is one thing, but ensuring we’re deliberate and targeted in the way we promote .US is another key part of the equation if we want to ensure the continued success of .US.

DP: Over the last 18 years Neustar has managed .us, what have been some of the highlights?

NB: When it comes to the internet, 18 is a lot of years! I think of internet years a lot like dog years, every 1 year is really equal to more like 7 years of change and evolution. Some of my favorite highlights during this (very long) time have been:

  • Being given the honor 18 years ago to work side by side with the U.S. Government to run this unique public resource and critical piece of internet infrastructure representing the United States of America;
  • Hitting the 1 million – then the 2 million — domain names under management milestones – and knowing that we were able to achieve these numbers by safely and responsibly growing the namespace;
  • Despite operating in a far more competitive and complex market since the launch of the new gTLD program, continuing to grow the number of .us domain names under management by tapping into new and creative markets;
  • The effective launch of the .US Stakeholder Council in 2014, and today, effectively operating the .US domain as a multi-stakeholder endeavor, with the support and engagement of both internal and external stakeholders (including domain name organizations, consumer groups, industry organizations, registrars, the U.S. Government, law enforcement agencies and global internet users, etc.);
  • Very recently, partnering with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the DOC to build proactive measures to address the sale of illegal opioids in the .US namespace, and in other TLDs too;
  • Our many creative marketing campaigns we’ve run for the .US domain – I’ve loved so many of them, but last year we launched my absolute favorite, The Story of .US video campaign. You can watch it on the about.us website here: www.about.us/whos-on-us;
  • And of course, I must confess that a highlight of our time managing the .US domain was getting the great news that our contract would be renewed!

DP: Looking ahead, what changes and initiatives are you planning for .us?

NB: Fundamentally, the success of .US so far has taught us some valuable lessons in what works, and what doesn’t, and we’re lucky to have an established reputation, strong industry partnerships and an engaged customer base – so we’re certainly not in favor of ‘change for the sake of change’.

That said, as I’ve mentioned, we are always open to innovation and experimentation to remain secure, fresh and relevant. Specifically for the .US domain, we have a number of upcoming campaigns for new ‘micro-target’ audiences (can’t give away too many details just yet!). As part of this we’re implementing a really broad range of marketing activities – everything from podcasts to eBooks to video to event sponsorships to make sure we’re reaching our audiences on the platforms and channels they actually use.

Ultimately, our overarching goals are to drive meaningful increases in consumer awareness of the .US Top-Level Domain, to generate new registrations, and to inspire development and usage through our end-to-end marketing campaign strategies.

We’re excited to continue driving .US brand affinity and awareness for everyone with a dream, idea or business made for the USA.

New TLD applications: what’s the status of the next round? by Tony Kirsch, Neustar

For many industry participants, the timing around opening the next round of new Top-Level Domain applications has been frustrating to say the least.

However, with the recent ICANN Marrakech meeting now complete, we thought it timely to provide an update for those who may be interested to apply in the next round or for those simply following the journey.

Put simply, here is what needs to occur at a very high level.

1. The community needs to finish its review from the 2012 round and develop a report that includes guidelines for the next round – commonly referred to as Subsequent Procedures Process – expected in Q4, 2019
2. This report needs to be approved by the ICANN Board – expected in Q2, 2020
3. An application process (including rules, questions and contracts) is made public and an application window set
4. The application window is held and applicants submit their applications

Now, this is a deliberately simple, public-facing view of the situation.


“It seems like there may be some renewed vigor around the opening of this long-anticipated application window.”

Behind the scenes, ICANN staff must consider and prepare for many other factors – just for a start, think about the systems, processes, skills, people and third-party reviewers that were part of the 2012 round that must also be in place for any subsequent round. This is heavy work and the process cannot kick off without it.

When I asked a question of this nature to the ICANN Board in October last year, the Chair stated that the Board ‘were ready’ and suggested that the Board had instructed staff to see what could be done simultaneously to prepare the background systems and processes to improve the timelines.

I must admit to being a little cautiously optimistic at this response – specifically because we understood that many of the pieces of the puzzle were not reliant on the Subsequent Procedures Report – and we were buoyed by the idea that this work could occur and shorten the overall timeline.

Was it too good to be true? Well despite my skepticism, apparently not.

With the industry-led Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group rapidly approaching its Q4 2019 delivery date for the report, and positive noise emanating from the Morocco meeting, there is much to be excited about here.

But with equal positivity – and yes, I admit it, some kudos to ICANN – and the publication of a short but important paper outlining the work that ICANN was doing to prepare for the next application window, it seems like there may be some renewed vigor around the opening of this long-anticipated application window.

The document, entitled “ICANN Org’s Readiness to Support Future Rounds of New gTLDs”, describes ICANN’s working assumptions for “policy implementation and operational readiness for a subsequent round of new gTLDs” and does a solid job of outlining the org’s baseline considerations for the upcoming projects.

That said, it’s important to avoid getting ahead of ourselves here.

To begin with, the report must be published on time, without further delay. And of course, there is still much work to do to prepare for actually opening the application window.

But for now, it’s clear that there is:

1. some progress, consistency, and reliability from ICANN in terms of confirming solid assumptions, discussing budgets and isolating requirements that will make this a reality in a few years’ time;
2. great progress from the Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group including the controversial and highly important Work Track 5 revolving around geographic names; and
3. a desire from the ICANN Board to make this happen as soon as possible.

For future applicants, sit tight. The time to start preparing your applications and preliminary research materials may be coming in the not-too-distant future.

This article by Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar, was sourced with permission from: https://www.makeway.world/latest-news/new-tld-applications-whats-status-next-round/

DDoS Attacks Inflicting Serious Damage To Brands: Neustar

DDoS attacks continue to be an effective means to distract and confuse security teams while inflicting serious damage to brands, according to a report released last week by Neustar, Inc.

The first quarter 2019 Cyber Threats and Trends report highlights new areas of growth in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks over the past year. One issue the report highlights is that while volumetric attacks over 50Gbps remain a relatively small segment of the overall threat picture at only 12% of attacks, their frequency has grown enormously when compared to the same period in 2018. The latest attacks morph over the course of the attack using a variety of ports and protocols to locate and exploit vulnerabilities. In Q1, 2019, over 77% of attacks used two or more vectors.

In particular, the trend of targeting subnets and classless inter-domain routing (CIDR) blocks to slow or stop network traffic across the internet is a disruptive DDoS threat, identified in the report. By using DDoS methods aimed completely at subnets, rather than specific IP addresses, an attack is often more difficult to detect and mitigate. These attacks often feature multiple vectors, and will switch between them as they migrate from subnet to subnet.

Neustar handled a mitigation for just such an attack in an around-the-clock collaboration between SOC engineers and a new customer who was quickly onboarded by Neustar after being dropped [during the attack] by their Tier 1 Internet Service Provider (ISP).

“Today’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies enable us to identify anomalous traffic and patterns, correlate data across systems, and perform behavioral analytics on users and entities,” said Rodney Joffe, Neustar Senior Vice President, Technologist and Fellow. “But none of these systems function without professionals who know how to deploy them, interpret their data, identify the existence and location of problems, and mitigate them.”

Such immediate personal involvement with expert engineers is a significant benefit in working with an estab-lished firm such as Neustar, particularly when under attack. “Neustar’s 10+Tbps of scrubbing capacity and variety of offerings are world class, and we have more power than ever to defend against the range of DDoS attacks,” said Michael Kaczmarek, Neustar Vice President of Security Products. “But it’s important to remember our most powerful defense: people.”

Neustar provides its customers with the resources and assurance that are needed to ensure data and infra-structure is continually protected against any type or size of DDoS attack. Neustar’s DDoS Mitigation Solutions offer the largest dedicated global network with over 10Tbps + of scrubbing capacity in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia and India.

A free copy of The Neustar Q1’19 Cyber Threats and Trends Report is available here.

.IN Registry Transition to Neustar Registry Platform Complete

In a short statement Friday on the TransitionSupport.in website, it was announced the transition of .in to its new Neustar-backed Registry platform was complete, with the transition completed at 00:01 (UTC) 1 March 2019.

As a result of the transition, .in and the 7 existing Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) are now being served by over 30 global DNS locations, provided by six anycast global networks, split across multiple redundant and high-capacity network providers. All DNS traffic is protected by Neustar SiteProtect DDoS protection, providing over 10Tbps scrubbing capacity globally.

In the near future, all 22 official languages of India will be supported, once the Centre for Development and Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and NIXI complete the remaining 7 language tables (Kannada, Oriya, Assamese, Sanskrit, Santali, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Malayalam), which will be launched in the .Bharat IDN TLDs selected by NIXI.