Redirecting DNS requests can harm the Internet, says ICANN

Privacy and performance issues could arise when DNS operators substitute results for nonexistent domain requests

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) on Tuesday condemned the practice of redirecting Internet users to a third-party Web site or portal when they misspell a Web address and type a domain name that does not exist.

Rather than return an error message for DNS (Domain Name System) requests for nonexistent domains, some DNS operators send back the IP (Internet Protocol) address of another domain, a process known as NXDOMAIN substitution. The target address is often a Web portal or information site.

Handling DNS requests this way has a number drawbacks that could lead to the Internet not working properly, according to ICANN.

For example, users sending e-mail to a domain that does not exist should get an immediate error message. However, if the message is redirected to a site set up to handle Web traffic, it's likely to get queued and an error message won't arrive for days, ICANN said.

Also, users will get longer response times if the site to which they're supposed to be redirected goes down.

Redirection sites are prime targets for attacks by hackers that want to send users to their own servers.

There are also privacy issues, according to ICANN. If sensitive data is redirected via a country with a different jurisdiction and local law, there could be consequences for both users and registries, it said.

ICANN, which handles assigning domain names and IP addresses, published its opinions and findings in a draft memo before the introduction of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains).

The organization discourages the practice of redirecting requests for nonexistent domains, and suggested banning it in a draft of the agreement owners of the new gTLDs would have to sign. ICANN wants domain owners wishing to redirect DNS requests to first explain why doing so won't cause any problems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ICANNNXDOMAIN substitutionDNS redirectingDNS (Domain Name System)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?