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June 15, 2012

Dot Whoops!

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

The organization set out to rival “.com” can’t seem to get it together, as evidenced by last night’s debacle. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had to temporarily restrict user access last night after compromising the security of its bidders – again. Because proposals cost $185,000 and because ICANN already has enough critics who see flaws in this new system, ICANN could be “.over” before anybody else.

Yesterday, ICANN was proud to present a list of nearly 2,000 proposals for alternate domains such as “.pizza” or “.joy”. (Naturally Apple - known for brand vigilance- is among the companies interested in every company-related suffix.) Things seemed to be going well, as indicated by the number of bidders and comments relating to the recent proposals, but there was a problem. A little too much information was published about individual bidders, including their home addresses. Contact information is typically restricted to phone number and/or email address. The AssociatedPress reports that ICANN shut down during the three hours it took to resolve the problem.

ICANN issued this statement: "We temporarily disabled viewing of the application details. We removed the unintended information and restored this functionality. We apologize for this oversight. Applicants should contact the Customer Service Center with any questions or concerns."

A member of People for Internet Responsibility described ICANN as “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” but added that ICANN’s series of mishaps is no laughing matter. A couple of months ago, a "technical glitch" resulted in a separate compromise of user privacy. ICANN was not as quick at resolving that issue which only perpetuated technical complications that took a month to amend. ICANN most recently published content in Arabic backwards. What makes ICANN truly unique is that more companies are concerned over maintaining network security from outside forces. 

Last week, almost 1.5 million passwords were stolen as a result of a security breech in eHarmony and Linkedin accounts. Both companies endured criticism, and LinkedIn (News - Alert) was attacked for not implementing password security techniques such as “salting.” Security analysts suggested that if the companies did a more efficient job at obscuring passwords, the hacked accounts might have been avoided. Unlike LinkedIn and eHarmony, though, ICANN was behind their own mishap. 

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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