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CENTR Jamboree 2020: Online transition completed successfully

The CENTR Jamboree 2020 online conference took place on May 25-27. The event was attended by about 300 experts and professionals representing registries of national top-level domains that are members of the Council of European National TLD Registries (CENTR). In addition to European registries, representatives from Canada, the United States, Japan, generic domain registries .COM, .NET, .ORG and companies offering domain name registration services and associated services to end users also shared their experiences.

During the three-day event, the participants presented their new ideas at sessions on security, technology, marketing and regulatory issues. Some of the topics discussed included implementing Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in national European domains, adopting GDPR, monitoring domain zones and exposing potential cyber threats during the coronavirus pandemic; abandoned and forgotten domain names as a security threat to companies, administrative systems, business owners and employees; registry marketing, including promoting national domains, assessing their value for users in specific regions, and increasing sales; supporting social projects aimed at increasing digital and domain literacy; and other issues.

As in recent years, experts from the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ also participated in CENTR Jamboree and spoke about the organization’s involvement in the development of Russian national domains .RU and .РФ.

Coordination Center’s Project Manager Olga Baskakova was a speaker during the administrative session. Her report covered the Coordination Center’s projects, reviewing the quality of data from .RU/.РФ registrants and the possibility of automating data exchange with Russia’s Integrated Identification and Authentication System; developing a new WHOIS-based service, an information campaign promoting the Methodology for Assessing the Value of Domain Names in .RU/.РФ , the results of a regular analysis of COVID-19 related registrations in Russian domains and subsequent cooperation with competent organizations to reduce the potential damage caused by such domain names. Speaking about projects that are planned for completion by the end of 2020, Olga mentioned developing a registry backup data base, fine-tuning the domain and trademark verification service, and a new service for communication between registrars and cybersecurity experts.

Coordination Center Press Secretary Viktoria Bunchuk, who took part in the marketing session, talked about the biggest event of the past few months, which was the 10th anniversary of the .РФ Russian-language domain. The date was marked by the launch of several unique projects. They include a Russian domain history website (10.кц.рф), a local Universal Acceptance project (Поддерживаю.рф) mainly in support of Cyrillic domains and emails, and the 10 Years of .РФ: Internet in Russia digital dictation that tests Russian-language domain knowledge and educates Runet users about the Russian domain space. Both participants also mentioned some future plans of the Coordination Center. In particular, the Russian Internet Governance Forum has been postponed to the fall and it is possible that TLDCON for registries and registrars in the CIS, Eastern and Central Europe will also move to this virtual space.

It is the first online conference for the European registries. Conference organizers had to change the format of the sessions. They cut down the number of reports and the timing, and expanded open discussions where participants could freely express their views or ask questions, including via a public chat.

According to General Manager of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD) Leonid Todorov, the conference did not lose much by moving online.

“Like the entire transition to operating remotely, this new format of events has not been a big challenge for the national domain registries in Europe. Moreover, they seem to be taking advantage of this down time to systematically re-arrange their resources, upgrade infrastructure and implement new technological solutions to optimize DNS management.” Leonid Todorov also noted that, despite some concerns, the new domain names associated with COVID-19 have not become a considerable security threat for the registries.

Indeed, according to the CENTR research on the pandemic and its impact on the DNS, the results of which were presented at a dedicated session, coronavirus-related registrations account for under one percent of the total number, with only 26 percent of these ‘corona domains’ actually being used for websites (with no assessment of potential threats). The research covered 12 national domains, including .RU. Although the number of top-level DNS server requests has been significantly higher, the DNS infrastructure of the European country-level domains has been loaded to only 10 percent of its capacity.

The registries participating in the session also shared their practices to support domain name registrars and registrants. Specifically, the cost of domain name support was reduced in several domain zones; the priority renewal and recovery terms for domain names subject to removal were extended in others. In general, the registries have recorded an increase in the number of registrations in their zones and a lack of unusual malicious activity.

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