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Does VeriSign put the network in danger ?

24 novembre 2006 17:24

If you use Internet this week, for sure, you can see that from September, Tuesday 16, if you type a wrong domain name into .com or .net, the usual error message was changed into a true Web site : the Site Finder service managed by VeriSign. This is, for sure, for making easier the Websurfeur life. Why is the reason that this decision will shock the majority “Internet Community” members ?

If you want to understand this in a better way it is necessary to go back to the basic standard of DNS or “Domain Name System”. When you type www.French-Connexion.com] into your navigator, in fact you make a search to your access purveyor on DNS servers, who, at the same time, asks to the Registry ones. The Registry is : AFNIC for .Fr, NueStar for .Biz and VeriSign for .COM and .Net. In order to make this easier for you, we can say that the Registry is the one that shelters the table of correspondence between the IP address ( and domain Name (French-connexion.com). Until September 15th, if the domain name had a typing mistake (French-coNexion.com, for example), the DNS server of its Purveyor received a mistake from VeriSign, and the consequence was simply a message that said “there is no server into the address [http://www.french-connexion.com/”.

The “Site Finder” service of “VeriSign” this is the way that someone starts calling this society inside debate forums- obeyed the same logic, but it adds an additional stage : the error into the “French-Conexion.com” typing, is intercepted, and a page shows up and puts forward to you the registering of this “new domain name” or to go to an existent centre with a similar orthography and on the other hand, “French-Conexion.com” appears into possible options.

At first sight, the service is a way- less elegant of VeriSign- for inciting the consumption : the registering of the domain name that goes with its typing error gets a supplementary domain name creation into.com (or .net) and therefore it fills a little more the American giant boxes. But it isn’t only that !

The “Net” part is the more visible one into DNS, but this protocol is used by all stools in the Internet connection, starting by the e-mails. At first, when you send an e-mail to info@french-connexion.com, your access purveyor resends you an error e-mail, in order to prevent simply, that the domain name doesn’t exist. But from September 15, we saw at least that all the DNS requests into .com and .net end into the Site Finder servers. It is the same for the e-mails to incorrect addresses and for the contents. Nowadays, the SiteFinder server takes into account the two first lines of the e-mail : “HELO”- the “Hello” that allows the servers know each other- and the address to the one who sends the e-mail. This means that, in the beginning, the server doesn’t keep the e-mail content ; but without to give in to paranoia, we can ask about the using that VeriSign can do with the e-mail addresses collected in this way. The most disturbing thing is the “contract” giving to the SiteFinder users by VeriSign- in spite of it : it points out that “ the user who doesn’t want to adjust to the Regulation, has the freedom about not to use the service”. You will have to avoid typing errors and not use addresses into .com anymore..

However, the resistance is organized. The BIND makers- informatics program using by the majority of DNS servers into the world- work on a “patch” which would discard SiteFinder of the DNS searches. At the same time, an American access purveyor made a charge against VeriSign for abusive procedures and asks for 100 million dollars because of damages and interests about breaking anti-monopoly laws. For that reason, the matter has to be followed. Besides, finally the ICANN said on the last weekend “to recommend to VeriSign to stop the service waiting for a very deep study”. Until now, September, Sunday 19- SiteFinder is working, at the same time that Internet Architecture Board talked against the “Wild Cards” using – the main principle on which SiteFinder is based – without the users expressed consent. We are still very far !


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