The ICANN77 Policy Forum held in Washington, DC brought together key stakeholders from the internet governance community to discuss policy and technical issues surrounding Internet names and numbers. With several NetActuate customers actively participating in the ICANN community, our own Mark Price, VP of Infrastructure, enjoyed the opportunity to learn and connect.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) plays a vital role in governing internet names (domain names) and numbers (IP addresses), which form the bedrock of the internet’s infrastructure. 

Security Takes the Stage at ICANN77

One of the main topics of discussion at ICANN77 was DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions). DNSSEC provides a layer of security for DNS, verifying the authenticity of DNS answers. Despite its potential to enhance security, DNSSEC adoption has been relatively low. 

During ICANN77, ICANN’s ITHI (Identifier Technologies Health Indicators) team presented insightful statistics about the top one million domains. Notably, Cloudflare emerged as the leading provider of DNS services for over 20% of these domains. Moreover, the top-level domain (TLD) with the highest DNSSEC adoption rate was .gov, with 69% of its domains utilizing DNSSEC. However, the adoption rate among the top 10,000 domains remained less than 10%.

A workshop organized by the SSAC (Security and Stability Advisory Committee) focused on automating DNSSEC implementation steps. Their goal is to facilitate wider adoption of DNSSEC by domain registries and registrars, by making implementation simpler and more streamlined. Beyond just implementation challenges, DNSSEC faces a “marketing” challenge in terms of awareness and visibility among internet users.

A Close Look at PHP Obfuscation

While the conference primarily revolved around policy discussions, one session on PHP obfuscation was particularly captivating. This session shed light on the various techniques employed by malicious actors to hide malicious PHP code. The presentation provided eye-opening insights into the techniques employed by “bad guys” and highlighted the importance of maintaining robust security measures.  

We were reminded that the “bad guys” are now taking advantage of AI as a force multiplier. For example, here’s an example of hiding the text “create_function” and running an attacker’s code:

In recent years, rapid advancements in AI have given malicious agents a toolkit that grows more powerful every day. With its ability to process vast amounts of data, adapt to changing scenarios, and even generate code, today’s threat landscape presents a daunting set of network security challenges.

ICANN77 provided a platform for industry experts, policy-makers, and technical professionals to gather and discuss critical issues surrounding internet infrastructure. The discussions on DNSSEC and cybersecurity emphasized the need for increased awareness, automation, and collaboration to enhance the security and stability of the internet. NetActuate remains committed to supporting the ICANN community and contributing to a safer and more secure internet for everyone.