ICANN New gTLD Application

New gTLD Application Submitted to ICANN by: dotversicherung-registry GmbH

String: versicherung

Originally Posted: 13 June 2012

Application ID: 1-891-92750

Applicant Information

1. Full legal name

dotversicherung-registry GmbH

2. Address of the principal place of business

Itzenbütteler Muehlenweg 35a
Bendestorf Lower Saxony 21227

3. Phone number

+49 4183 77489 10

4. Fax number

+49 4183 77489 19

5. If applicable, website or URL


Primary Contact

6(a). Name

Mr. Axel Schwiersch

6(b). Title

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

6(c). Address

6(d). Phone Number

+49 4183 77489 10

6(e). Fax Number

+49 4183 77489 19

6(f). Email Address


Secondary Contact

7(a). Name

Mr. Matthias Pfeifer

7(b). Title

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

7(c). Address

7(d). Phone Number

+49 172 43 7 40 11

7(e). Fax Number

+49 4183 77489 19

7(f). Email Address


Proof of Legal Establishment

8(a). Legal form of the Applicant

The dotversicherung-registry GmbH is a company with limited liability (EUR 25,000) which is operating under the legal company form of a GmbH.

8(b). State the specific national or other jursidiction that defines the type of entity identified in 8(a).

The German national company law (GmbH-Gesetz) defines the GmbH (legal form and type of entity) and has been issued by the German Ministry of Justice.  The dotversicherung-registry GmbH is a registered at the public company register (www.handelsregister.de) at the district court in Tostedt (Germany) with the registration number (business ID) HRB 202490.
The GmbH Law  can be found here: http:⁄⁄www.gesetze-im-internet.de⁄gmbhg⁄index.html

8(c). Attach evidence of the applicant's establishment.

Attachments are not displayed on this form.

9(a). If applying company is publicly traded, provide the exchange and symbol.

9(b). If the applying entity is a subsidiary, provide the parent company.

9(c). If the applying entity is a joint venture, list all joint venture partners.

Applicant Background

11(a). Name(s) and position(s) of all directors

Axel SchwierschChief Executive Officer (CEO)

11(b). Name(s) and position(s) of all officers and partners

Matthias PfeiferChief Technology Officer (CTO)

11(c). Name(s) and position(s) of all shareholders holding at least 15% of shares

Axel SchwierschChief Executive Officer (CEO)

11(d). For an applying entity that does not have directors, officers, partners, or shareholders: Name(s) and position(s) of all individuals having legal or executive responsibility

Applied-for gTLD string

13. Provide the applied-for gTLD string. If an IDN, provide the U-label.


14(a). If an IDN, provide the A-label (beginning with "xn--").

14(b). If an IDN, provide the meaning or restatement of the string in English, that is, a description of the literal meaning of the string in the opinion of the applicant.

14(c). If an IDN, provide the language of the label (in English).

14(c). If an IDN, provide the language of the label (as referenced by ISO-639-1).

14(d). If an IDN, provide the script of the label (in English).

14(d). If an IDN, provide the script of the label (as referenced by ISO 15924).

14(e). If an IDN, list all code points contained in the U-label according to Unicode form.

15(a). If an IDN, Attach IDN Tables for the proposed registry.

Attachments are not displayed on this form.

15(b). Describe the process used for development of the IDN tables submitted, including consultations and sources used.

15(c). List any variant strings to the applied-for gTLD string according to the relevant IDN tables.

16. Describe the applicant's efforts to ensure that there are no known operational or rendering problems concerning the applied-for gTLD string. If such issues are known, describe steps that will be taken to mitigate these issues in software and other applications.

We anticipate that the introduction of the .VERSICHERUNG TLD will cause no operational or rendering problems. Based on more than 10 years of experience with the operation of the .at TLD of nic.at, which is the parent company of our registry service provider TLD-BOX GmbH, we are confident that the launch and operation of the .VERSICHERUNG TLD presents no known challenges. The reason for this opinion includes that the string is not complex and is represented in standard ASCII characters and follows relevant technical, operational and policy standards for characters. The string length is within lengths currently supported in the root and by ubiquitous Internet programs such as web browsers and mail applications.

17. (OPTIONAL) Provide a representation of the label according to the International Phonetic Alphabet (http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/).


18(a). Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD is intended to serve the insurance community in the countries Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The .VERSICHERUNG TLD and its domains names shall support suppliers with memorable domain names and facilitate consumers to intuitively find insurance information on the Internet and shall contribute to more quality, reliability and consumer trust in insurance topics on the Internet.

The new domain names available with .VERSICHERUNG are concise and create a unique and individual identity for the community’s members. Those providing and looking for information, goods and services can thus intuitively come together. The .VERSICHERUNG domain names strengthen the identification amongst community members, improve communication and make interaction easier, thus providing a stimulus for innovation and development. For both the insurance community as well as consumer .VERSICHERUNG domain names will become an attractive address to visit.

The allocation of .VERSICHERUNG domain names shall incorporate, in a fair and transparent manner, the many and varied interests of the insurance community in the top-level domain .VERSICHERUNG. The .VERSICHERUNG policies shall ensure that all community members may benefit individually by a unique identity with a .VERSICHERUNG domain name.

The registration of .VERSICHERUNG domains is restricted to eligible insurance community members. These members are registered insurance companies, registered insurance agents and intermediaries as well as governmental agencies of the insurance community.

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD is not a “financial TLD” as defined by the HSTLD group since it is not intended to be used primarily to perform financial transactions offered by recognized financial institutions including banks, saving associations, investment houses, and insurance companies. This has been discussed as well with the respective GAC representatives (from Germany, Switzerland and Austria). German authorities are involved in this TLD: In March 2012 the dotversicherung-registry GmbH received an award of the “initiative medium-sized businesses” for innovation and a high value of benefit for medium-sized businesses in Germany. The patrons of this initiative are IBM and the appointee of the German Government for information technology (Bundesbeauftragte für Informationstechnik der Bundesregierung, BSI) in Germany. This certificate has been awarded for the concept of a .VERSICHERUNG TLD to dotversicherung-registry GmbH.

18(b). How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?

* A Niche TLD as Specialty *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD and its .VERSICHERUNG domain names are solely dedicated and thereby specialized to create content, facilitate communication and foster business in connection with insurance topics between all parties involved in the insurance business in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The highly regulated insurance community and its commercially oriented members are a clear defined niche.

* Registrant validation as Service Level *

The most important service level of the .VERSICHERUNG namespace is the validation of each registrant of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name if he is a valid member of the .VERSICHERUNG community. The validation will take place directly after registration of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name and the domain name will only become active if the validation was successful. Therefore .VERSICHERUNG domain names will only resolve in the DNS after a registrant is successfully validated.

* Reputation gained by Validation *

Due to its eligibility requirements and the validation procedures the .VERSICHERUNG TLD is a namespace with support of leading organizations and stakeholder from the insurance community in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It is our aim that such a secure namespace will gain quickly substantial reputation among the insurance community and also customers.

* Highly competitive domain names *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD will enhance competition in the global domain name business by introducing a dedicated namespace for the insurance community in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The new .VERSICHERUNG domain names are a valuable alternative to the established national ccTLDs such as .de or .ch and generic TLDs like .com and .net, especially for members of the insurance community. The most important and intuitive domain names in the TLDs (.de, .at, .ch, .com) which are relevant for the insurance business are already taken. Many of those domain names have been registered just to be sold for high prices on the secondary domain name market.

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD will create new business opportunities and foster the development of innovative services for the benefit of the insurance community. With .VERSICHERUNG domain names, the community will have the ability to enhance their search engine rankings by delivering more relevant search results for members and customers. This will lead to more active websites, benefit the whole namespace and increase the position of community members in the global online business. From a user perspective this will result in a quicker and easier way to find relevant information online.

* Differentiation by a unique string *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD and its .VERSICHERUNG domain names are clearly differentiated to existing TLDs, not only due to their descriptive nature which has a clear meaning and value to the targeted community but also due to its restrictions for eligible registrants.

* An innovative quality seal *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD and its .VERSICHERUNG domain names are innovative especially by the quality seal which is offered to all validated domain names (and its registrants). No other TLD so far has added such a high quality and validation seal which gives trust to consumers.

Since only authorized insurance companies, insurance agents and insurance intermediaries are able to register .VERSICHERUNG domain names, the successfully registration of a .VERSICHERUNG is therefore automatically a quality stamp for the registrant.

*Namespace fulfills user expectations*

Users searching for content related to Insurance topics have to decide whether the search results really offer content they are looking for. If users are in doubt, they have to click on each search result to check whether the website offers the expected content or not. With .VERSICHERUNG domain names users searching for content related to Insurance topics will experience domain names and related websites that fulfill their expectations.

*Trusted namespace*

Since non-eligible registrants won’t be able to register domain names under .VERSICHERUNG, users will get the certainty that only members of the community will be able to register and operate a .VERSICHERUNG domain name. They can trust .VERSICHERUNG domain names due to eligible registrants and their validated eligibility according to the restrictions of the insurance industry.

*Easy to find*

Furthermore the intuitive and descriptive domain names under a “speaking TLD” like .VERSICHERUNG will enable consumers to navigate and search more easily for insurance information on the Internet. It is also expected that search engines will give ranking preference to .VERSICHERUNG domain names compared to other TLDs. This will increase the visibility along with the marketing efforts for .VERSICHERUNG by insurance community members.

*Clear meaning*

The string VERSICHERUNG will clearly differentiate itself from many specialized existing and new niche TLDs because of its memorability. .VERSICHERUNG has a clear and unique meaning to German speaking registrants and Internet users worldwide.

Beyond the provisions of the New gTLD Agreement the following policies are imposed: The .VERSICHERUNG TLD has the mission to serve the insurance community in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

* Eligibility *

According to the .VERSICHERUNG registration policies, the following entities can register a second-level domain name under .VERSICHERUNG. The entity must be based in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein or Switzerland:

- Governmental organizations regulating the insurance industry
- Organizations and individuals (sole proprietors) that are recognized and registered members of the insurance industry community:
- - Primary insurers, reinsurers and social insurers with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries.
- - Insurance agents and intermediaries with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries.
- - At an official public register registered associations and educational institutions of the insurance industry.

The eligibility will be determined by a validation of the registrant of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name. It will be checked in the official and public registers of insurance intermediaries if the registrant is a member of the insurance community.

* Name selection *

The registration policies state that any types of second-level names may be registered in the .VERSICHERUNG name space. In detail the second-level domain names are defined as:
- Not being restricted on the second-level (no restrictions like .co.uk).
- A second-level domain consists of numbers (0-9), hyphens, Latin characters (a-z) or the extended European Latin character set.
- A second-level domain must not have a hyphen at the 3rd and 4th position at the same time.
- Large and small characters are not different.
- The length of a second-level domain varies between minimal 1 and maximal 63 characters.

Initially reserved and excluded from registration are all second-level domain names defined in Spec 5 of the Draft New gTLD Registry Agreement of the Applicant Guidebook (Version 11.1.2012).
The registrant agrees not to register domain names that violate ethical or criminal law principles (illegal, violent, racist, ethnically offensive, harmful to minors, indecent, offensive or domain names that violate morality and public order) or may hurt the reputation of the .VERSICHERUNG namespace. In addition, domain names are not permitted that use the words or parts of words that could generally perceived as offensive. These include insulting, abusive or agitational words or words or word elements, which could violate the ethical, religious or moral sensibilities of Internet users.

* Registration Agreement *

The contract for the registration of a .VERSICHERUNG domain is entered into between the registrant and a registrar who is accredited by ICANN. The registry has no contractual relationship with the registrant. With the completion of the registration agreement the registrant commits to the registrar for the recognition of all ICANN consensus policies and registration policies and ensures that they are complied with from then on.

* Content⁄Use *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD has both content and use restrictions:
- Content: .VERSICHERUNG domain names must only be used for purposes solely dedicated to insurance topics.
- Use: The registrant must use the .VERSICHERUNG domain name within six months after the initial registration, whereas use is defined in the .VERSICHERUNG registration policies.

* Transfer of Domain Names *

Domain Names can be transferred only to entities who are eligible to register .VERSICHERUNG domain names. As far as the allocation of .VERSICHERUNG domain names is not subject to the universal, but one of the special registration procedures, the initial registration and transfer may be subject to special conditions.

* Enforcement *

The dotversicherung-registry GmbH will have a team of legal personnel in place solely dedicated to the validation of the owners of registered .VERSICHERUNG domain names and the enforcement in the case that an owner validation fails. Our validation procedure has been developed in connection with ICANN accredited registrars and the dotversicherung-registry GmbH advisory board, whose members represents the community. The validation will take place directly after registration of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name. The domain name will only get an active status if the validation was successful (first level of enforcement). Further levels of enforcement include appeals under the .VERSICHERUNG Eligibility Requirement Dispute Resolution Policy (ERDRP) as well as court appeals under URDP, URS or PDDRP or national courts. Our anti-abuse policies are described in detail in our response to the technical questions.


The administrative contact of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name shown in the WHOIS database (Admin Contact) has to be a natural person who as an agent for the domain owner (Registrant Contact) has the right and obligation to make binding decisions on all matters concerning the domain. For each .VERSICHERUNG domain only one administrative contact can be named. Domain registrant and administrative contact can be one and the same natural person. The consent of the registrant to publish ICANN compliant registrant data in the WHOIS database will be granted with the approval of the registration policy.

* Start-up Schedule *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD will have a straight forward start-up schedule with the phases noted below:

Phase 1 – Reservation and blocking of names for defined interest groups of the insurance community including
- names of insurance companies in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland
- names for the representation of the interests of the insurance (associations, etc.)
- names for the TLD operation, namespace management, marketing and purpose of the TLD
- names according to ICANN specification 5 (2-letter, country names, others)
- premium names
- blocked names

Some categories of reserved names may be released for registration between entry of the TLD in the IANA root and the start of the Sunrise.

Phase 2 – Sunrise under the Trademark Clearinghouse rules, eligible are all registrants whose trademark was validated by the TMCH, eligibility restrictions to community members only, 30 days duration, First come – First serve allocation.

Phase 3 – Landrush, eligibility restrictions to community members only, First come – First serve allocation

Phase 4 – Auction of premium domain names at a later stage, eligibility restrictions to community members only.

Since .VERSICHERUNG domain names can only be registered by eligible members of the insurance community the .VERSICHERUNG TLD will not offer or allow privacy of confidential information of registrants to ensure that only eligible registrants hold a .VERSICHERUNG domain name. Due to the validation of each .VERSICHERUNG domain name it is essential that the WHOIS data of each registrant are visible to the public, although a captcha module prevents from automated inquiries. Bulk access to WHOIS data will not be allowed according to ICANN specifications. In addition dotversicherung-registry GmbH will establish an abuse point of contact.

* Outreach to the community *

The .VERSICHERUNG TLD is supported by a well-defined insurance community with a clear geographical reach in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Already around 2 years before the new TLD application window opened, we started the outreach to discuss our concept, with the goal to unite a reasonable part of the community for discussions and feedback on our project and supporting our application. As a result of our outreach the .VERSICHERUNG TLD has already gained relevant awareness within the insurance community including leading press publications, congresses and other communication events of the insurance branch. We will continue to communicate the benefits of .VERSICHERUNG domains names within the community. We believe that the broad outreach program, which is part of our marketing efforts, will help us to achieve the projected benefits of .VERSICHERUNG. (See also our press releases: http:⁄⁄www.dotversicherung.de⁄aktuelles⁄pressejournal)

* Management belongs to the community *

In addition the managers of the dotversicherung-registry GmbH belong to the community themselves. The CEO, Axel Schwiersch, started his career more than 25 years ago as an apprentice of an insurance agent and since then works in the insurance industry. He worked for different stakeholders like insurance companies, insurance agents and insurance brokers, and set-up his own business in the insurance community more than 10 years ago.

* Outreach via existing relations of registry backend provider *

Nic.at, the parent company of our registry back-end provider TLD-BOX GmbH, operates the ccTLD “.at” since more than 10 years. Nic.at has established contacts and relations to most registrars in the geographic region which relates to the .VERSICHERUNG community. According to nic.at, more than 400 registrars are connected to nic.at. They know the SRS, systems and staff of nic.at. Therefore we are confident that nic.at will support our outreach activities, especially to German-speaking registrars. Furthermore nic.at started already with outreach about .VERSICHERUNG as a potential new namespace through their own communication activities.

18(c). What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs?

The .VERSICHERUNG domain name allocation plan has several phases:
1. Reservation phase – Reservation of domain names for community members, ICANN and other Registry related purposes by dotversicherung-registry GmbH.

2. During the 30 days Trademark Clearinghouse Sunrise phase we are planning to allocate domain names on a first-come⁄first-serve basis.
For the Sunrise Phase we’ll incorporate the respective rules set forth by ICANN for use of the Trademark Clearinghouse. Trademark claims service according to ICANN specifications will be implemented to minimize costs and resources for trademark owners.

3. During the Landrush phase we are planning to allocate domain names on a first-come⁄first-serve basis to minimize social costs and time resources of registrants.

4. A defined list of premium domain names will be allocated in a later phase. A fixed-price allocation for premium names might be deployed to avoid speculation and enable a fair and transparent allocation of domain names.

Since registrants of .VERSICHERUNG domain names are exclusively businesses in the insurance community, we are not planning, at this stage, any cost benefit programs. End customers, who are not member of the .VERSICHERUNG community, are not allowed to register .VERSICHERUNG domain names. It is expected that the most efficient cost benefit of .VERSICHERUNG domain names for the intended commercially orientated .VERSICHERUNG community derives from the added value of short, descriptive and intuitive domain names and the expected ranking advantage in search engines.

.VERSICHERUNG domains will only be available through ICANN accredited registrars. The registry will provide non-discriminatory access to registry services to registrars which are accredited by ICANN.
Domain name registrations are offered for periods of one to ten years at the discretion of the registrar.
We will reserve the right to reduce pricing for promotional purposes in a manner available to all accredited registrars. Registry Operator reserves the right to work with ICANN to initiate an increase in the wholesale price of domains if required. Registry Operator will provide reasonable notice to the registrars of any approved price increase.

Community-based Designation

19. Is the application for a community-based TLD?


20(a). Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing to serve.

*** Community Delineation ***
The string has been mentioned in the medieval times (14th century) according to the GRIMM dictionary: http:⁄⁄woerterbuchnetz.de⁄DWB⁄?lemma=Versicherung. The string “versicherung” has a clear meaning, relating to the service offering of community members, according to Wikipedia “Vereinbarung, bei der eine Partei meist gegen ein Entgelt der anderen bei Eintritt bestimmter schädigender Ereignisse einen Ausgleich des Schadens zusagt” (Agreement, where one party offers compensation for an harmful event which has been previously defined and contracted, to another party).
The insurance community in the German speaking countries Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, which is the “Community” for our community-based application, exists for approximately 500 years. The setting of clearly defined community actors and members of the insurance community has not changed over that time and is expected not to change in the future.

The insurance community as defined above is regulated and clearly delineated, since the membership to the community is restricted by laws and oversight bodies under governmental influence or operation within the countries concerned. Members of the insurance community are registered by various measures, ranging from formal accreditation of insurance providers at a governmental agency, to registration of agents at an official public insurance agents register or a formal acknowledgement as registered entity in the interest of the insurance community. 

The insurance community is well organized with all kinds of measures, associations and organizations a very large branch is usually making up. Governmental regulatory bodies themselves are completing the insurance community.

** Community Organization **
The insurance community consists of the German speaking countries Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland (the respective countries) which make up the community for the .VERSICHERUNG community TLD and are eligible to register .VERSICHERUNG domain names:

* 3 layers of insurance community *
First layer:
Governmental organizations in the countries regulating the insurance industry make up the first layer of the community. These organizations are 
- FMA, Oesterreichische Finanzmarktaufsicht, Austria (www.fma.gv.at)
- BAFIN, Bundesamt fuer Finanzen, Germany (www.bafin.de)
- FMA-LI, Finanzmarktaufsicht Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein (www.fma-li.li)
- FINMA, Eidgenoessischen Finanzmarktaufsicht, Switzerland (www.finma.ch)
These organizations are members of the .VERSICHERUNG community and eligible to register .VERSICHERUNG domain names.

Second layer:
The following organizations (and sole proprietors) are recognized and officially registered members of the .VERSICHERUNG community: 
- Insurance companies with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries. 
- Insurance agents and insurance intermediaries with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries.

* Insurance companies *
An insurance company in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Liechtenstein usually has to exist in the form of a company (insurance company) or a public institution. The central directive of federal law is the law on the supervision of Insurance companies (Insurance Supervision Act).
The Insurance Supervision Act governs, among other things approval, business, legal forms, and investment oversight. 
In Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein there are about 800 licensed insurers.

* Insurance agents and salesmen *
The European Insurance Mediation Directive was published on 15 Jan. 2003 in the EU Official Journal (Directive 2002⁄92⁄EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 Dec. 2002 on insurance mediation).

Third layer:
Official public registers for insurance agents and salesmen and registered associations in the respective countries.

* Official public registers *
Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have successfully implemented the Insurance Mediation Directive into their national law. Each of these countries manages its own official register of insurance intermediaries which are online accessible:
-Germany: http:⁄⁄www.vermittlerregister.org, http:⁄⁄www.vermittlerregister.info
-Austria: http:⁄⁄versicherungsvermittler.brz.gv.at
-Switzerland: http:⁄⁄register.vermittleraufsicht.ch
-Liechtenstein: http:⁄⁄register.fma-li.li

* Community associations *
The Germany-based insurance companies are organized in the German Insurance Association (GDV).The Swiss Insurance Association (SVV) represents the interests of insurance companies in Switzerland. The insurance companies in Austria are organized in the Austrian Insurance Association (VVÖ). The insurance companies in Liechtenstein are organized in the Liechtenstein Insurance Association (LVV). Intermediaries and Insurance agents are represented, among others, by the Germany-based association BVK (Bundesverband Deutscher Versicherungskaufleute). Further associations represent the community members.

** Establishment of Community **
The idea and practice of insurances goes back to the 2nd and 3rd millennia BC and was invented in Chinese and Babylonian merchants. The modern insurance industry and by this the insurance community as we know has evolved in Europe during the 14th century. Therefore there is no date of formal organization of the community itself. Insurance companies first emerged in the mid-17th century. These companies were mostly specialized in the fire and (sea) transport insurance. The first professional insurance companies were founded in Germany because of an initiative of the state:  The Hamburg Fire Fund (1676) and the Berlin Fire Society (1718).
Today the insurance community is defined by a set of industry players (the community as defined before) and is essential for the effective operation of a modern economy, protecting people and companies against uncertainty associated with every day events. The community has more than 450.000 employees, and more than 450 million contracts only in Germany. It covers a wide range of business and consumer needs, from insuring a business or home, preparing for retirement, insuring major catastrophe risks such as earthquakes or managing flood risks as a result of climate change.

*Sales activities*
The direct sale of insurance products by the insurance companies itself adds up only to a small percentage of the whole market. The vast majority of insurance products are sold by insurance brokers and insurance agents.
These brokers and agents are divided into two groups of insurance intermediaries, the tied insurance intermediaries agents (representatives of a insurance company) and the Insurance Broker.
*Marketing activities*
The role of advertising, depending on the type of the insurance company, has a broad spectrum. Some large insurers using advertising mainly to increase awareness, brand value and company image. For insurance companies with direct contacts to customers, advertising is also often necessary to highlight specific product features, like cost-effective products and latest test results. But the greatest importance in the insurance industry is still the personal sales promotion.

*Activities of Associations*
The most important task of insurance associations in general is to represent the insurance companies, insurance agents and insurance intermediaries in relation to political and social institutions (Lobbying). They develop positions on political and social issues and represent the interests of their members. Since insurance associations have a high level of professional competence through their members, they advise stakeholders with regards to policies related to insurance topics (neo-corporatism).

20(b). Explain the applicant's relationship to the community identified in 20(a).

* Management are members of the community *
The executives and managers of the applicant dotversicherung-registry GmbH have been working for years in the German speaking insurance industry having business relations to all major insurance providers. The CEO of dotversicherung-registry GmbH, Axel Schwiersch, is a registered insurance agent at the official public insurance register.

* Relations to any community organizations *
The dotversicherung-registry GmbH is supported for its .VERSICHERUNG TLD application among others by the following organizations which are part of the insurance community:
- Bundesverband Deutscher Versicherungskaufleute e.V. (BVK) (the largest European association of insurance agent)
- Helvetia Versicherung (oldest Swiss based insurer, founded in 1858)
- DFV Deutsche Familienversicherung AG (German based insurer)
- Sueddeutsche Krankenversicherung (German based insurer)
- Provinzial Versicherung (German based insurer of the Sparkasse bank)
- Quantum Leben AG (Liechtenstein based insurer)
- Zurich Versicherung Deutschland (Major European Insurer)
- many other insurance agents and insurance intermediaries who give their support to the .VERSICHERUNG TLD through official statements or support-letter.(For statements online see: http:⁄⁄www.dotversicherung.de⁄was-ist-versicherung⁄wir-sind-fuer-dotversicherung⁄entries).

* Relations to the community and its constituent parts⁄groups *
 The management team of dotversicherung-registry GmbH is community members themselves. The dotversicherung-registry GmbH is working for its .VERSICHERUNG TLD application with the following organizations and individuals being part of the insurance community:
- Prof. Dr. Schwintowski, Humboldt University Berlin, Institute of business law and economic law (the leading academic for insurance law topics in Germany) (http:⁄⁄schwintowski.rewi.hu-berlin.de⁄). Prof. Dr. Schwintowski serves as the patron to the .VERSICHERUNG TLD.
- The Advisory Board consists of senior representatives from the german speaking part of the Insurance industry. The advisory board has advised the dotversicherung-registry GmbH in the process of policy making. In particular, the registrant eligibility requirements policies were developed in collaboration with the advisory board. 

* Award-winning concept*
In March 2012, the dotversicherung-registry GmbH received an award of the “initiative medium-sized businesses” for innovation and a high value of benefit for medium-sized businesses in Germany. The patrons of this initiative are IBM and the appointee of the German Government for information technology (Bundesbeauftragte für Informationstechnik der Bundesregierung, BSI) in Germany. This certificate has been awarded for the concept of a .VERSICHERUNG TLD to dotversicherung-registry GmbH. 

* Accountability mechanisms of the applicant to the community *
The dotversicherung-registry GmbH has already introduced or plans to establish mechanisms to be accountable to the insurance community. These include:
- A multi-stakeholder Advisory Board (already existing) 
- An ombudsman (already existing, Stephan Michaelis, professional lawyer specializing in insurance law, http:⁄⁄www.kanzleimichaelis.de)
- Distribution of annual reports of the company and the .VERSICHERUNG TLDs within the insurance community (planned)
- Educational papers, speeches and other public awareness on the .VERSICHERUNG TLD (already existing)

20(c). Provide a description of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.

*Eligible registrants*
Eligible registrants in the .VERSICHERUNG TLD are based in the countries of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland: 
- Organizations and sole proprietors that are recognized and officially registered members of the public insurance industry community: 
- - Primary insurers, reinsurers and social insurers with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries 
- - Insurance agents and insurance intermediaries with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries
- - At an official public register registered associations of the insurance industry

*Intended end-users* 
Intended end-users of the .VERSICHERUNG TLD are the registrants and consumers interested in insurance topics.

*Related activities*
The dotversicherung-registry GmbH has carried out and intends to carry out its activities in service of this purpose. The dotversicherung-registry GmbH has started already in early 2010 with an outreach program to inform the insurance industry about the upcoming .VERSICHERUNG TLD and will continue this approach by press releases, speeches, publications, an open dialogue with all stakeholder and events. A large campaign to reach consumers will start after approval of .VERSICHERUNG with beacon .VERSICHERUNG domain names operated by well-known registrants.  
(Press releases: http:⁄⁄www.dotversicherung.de⁄aktuelles⁄pressejournal )

*Explanation of how the purpose is of a lasting nature*
The .VERSICHERUNG TLD is intended to become an integral part of the insurance-based Internet content in the German speaking countries. The insurance industry is a long lasting community. This will not change at any time in the near future. Therefore any party representing this community has a long lasting nature. Since insurance industry members are deeply involved at .VERSICHERUNG, for instance by the Advisory Board, the long lasting nature of the .VERSICHERUNG TLD will be supported.

20(d). Explain the relationship between the applied-for gTLD string and the community identified in 20(a).

* Relationship to the established name, if any, of the community *
The string .VERSICHERUNG is solely connected and matches the name of the insurance industry in the German speaking countries. It has no other meaning – neither to the community and customers – nor to the general public beyond identifying the community and its products offered to the public described in the articulated community-based purpose of the TLD.

* Relationship to the identification of community members *
The string .VERSICHERUNG identifies the insurance community members in the German speaking countries since consumers and the public are aware of the highly regulated nature of the insurance industry and its members (the community).  

* Any connotations the string may have beyond the community *
The string .VERSICHERUNG has no other meaning to the community, consumers and the public beyond identifying the community described in with the articulated community-based purpose of the TLD.

20(e). Provide a description of the applicant's intended registration policies in support of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.

* Eligibility *
According to the .VERSICHERUNG registration policies eligible registrants to register a second-level name in .VERSICHERUNG TLD are based in the countries of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland and are in detail:
- Governments 
- Governmental organizations regulating the insurance industry 
- Organizations and individuals (sole proprietors) that are recognized and registered members of the insurance industry community:
- - Primary insurers, reinsurers and social insurers with an authorization within the legal frameworks for the insurance industry in the respective countries. 
- - Insurance agents and insurance intermediaries with an authorization within the legal framework for the insurance industry in the respective countries
- - At an official public register registered associations, educational institutions and service providers of the insurance industry

The eligibility will be determined by a validation of the owner of each registered domain name. It will be checked in the public registers of insurance intermediaries if the registrant is a member of the insurance community.

* Name selection *
The registration policies state that any types of second-level names may be registered in the .VERSICHERUNG name space. In detail the second-level domain names are defined as: 
- Not being restricted on the second-level (no restrictions like .co.uk).
- A second-level domain consists of numbers (0-9), hyphens, Latin characters (a-z) or the extended European Latin character set. 
- A second-level domain must not have a hyphen at the 3rd and 4th position at the same time.
- Large and small characters are not different. 
- The length of a second-level domain varies between minimal 1 and maximal 63 characters.
- Initially reserved and excluded from registration are all second-level names defined in Spec 5 of the Draft New gTLD Registry Agreement of the Applicant Guidebook (Version 11.1.2012).

* Content⁄Use *
The .VERSICHERUNG TLD has both, content and use restrictions: 
- Content: .VERSICHERUNG domain names must only be used for purposes solely dedicated to insurance topics.
- Use: The registrant must have started the use of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name within six months after the registration in respect to the content and use restrictions of a .VERSICHERUNG domain. 

* Enforcement *
The dotversicherung-registry GmbH will have a team of legal personnel in place solely dedicated on the validation of the owners of registered .VERSICHERUNG domain names and the enforcement in the case an owner validation fails. 
The validation of a registrant takes place in the following cases:
-	New registration of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name
-	Changes of the owner data (eg. Ownerchange) of a domain name
-	At least once a year even if nothing has changed in the owner data

The re-validation ensures that .VERSICHERUNG domain names are only owned by eligible community members. The re-validation is performed annually for each registrant.

Our validation procedure has been developed in connection with ICANN accredited registrars and the dotversicherung-registry GmbH advisory board.  The first validation will take place directly after the initial registration of a .VERSICHERUNG domain name and the domain name will only become active if the validation was successful (first level of enforcement). Further levels of enforcement include appeals under the .VERSICHERUNG Eligibility Requirement Dispute Resolution Policy (ERDRP) as well as court appeals under URDP or national courts.
Our anti-abuse policies are described in detail in our response to the technical questions.

20(f). Attach any written endorsements from institutions/groups representative of the community identified in 20(a).

Attachments are not displayed on this form.

Geographic Names

21(a). Is the application for a geographic name?


Protection of Geographic Names

22. Describe proposed measures for protection of geographic names at the second and other levels in the applied-for gTLD.

We will protect names as per the requirements in the New TLD Registry Agreement (Specification 5, paragraph 5) by reserving the country and territory names at the second level and at all other levels within the TLD operator make registrations. A list of those names will be compiled and published to relevant audiences before the TLD is introduced. These domains will be blocked following the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) advice “Principles regarding new gTLDs”, at no cost to the relevant organization, so that no parties may register them as a domain name. 
Furthermore the country names of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland in German language will be initially reserved (Oesterreich +IDN, Deutschland, Liechtenstein, Schweiz). The procedure to release the names will include the consultation with the respective GAC members as described in Specification 5.
Together with the respective governments and ccTLD managers as well as with ICANN we will comply with any procedures and set-up agreements by which the above reserved domain(s) may be released to the Registry Operator and may be made available for registration consecutively by eligible parties.

Registry Services

23. Provide name and full description of all the Registry Services to be provided.

Technical operations of the Registry will be outsourced to “TLD-Box Registrydienstleistungen GmbH”, and a signed contract for the provision of those services with TLD-Box exists. A more detailed description of that outsourcing relation is described in response to question 31.

The Registry operating the proposed gTLD will provide the following Registry Services (Services are numbered according to the Questions and Notes in ICANN’s application guidebook):

• (A), (i): “Receipt of data from registrars concerning registration of domain names and name servers”: The interface for receipt of such data (Shared Registry Service – SRS) is fully based on the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) and conforms to the relevant RFCs (see answer to Question 25). Beyond the standard EPP object mappings and commands, no proprietary EPP extensions are used (unless ICANN requirements necessitate the use of draft level specifications, i.e. for the Trademark Clearing House integration). This Registry Service is operated on a cluster of at least two physically independent servers as an active-active load-balanced group which interact with a clustered registry database backend (detailed in response to Question 33). Access to that interface is controlled by two-factor authentication mechanisms with one factor being the IP address of the registrar’s EPP client and the second factor being the registrar’s credentials (username⁄password). Traffic is encrypted with TLS. Access attempts from an IP addresses that is not registered with the Registry Operator are denied. A detailed specification of the EPP interface is contained in answer to Question 25, while the architecture of the EPP frontend is included in response to Question 32. The software used to provide the EPP service is readily available at the time of this writing. The software is based on the EPP software used to provide Registry services for the “.at”, “.no” and “.bh” ccTLDs with the domain lifecycle and periods adapted to the requirements for new gTLDs. The EPP service is available over both IPv4 and IPv6 transport.
• (ii): “Provision to registrars of status information relating to the zone servers for the TLD”: The registry operator will operate an announcement mailing list where updates regarding the operational status of the zone servers of the TLD will be posted. Additionally, registrars can query for the zone server status of an individual domain name under the TLD via the EPP or WHOIS interfaces – both interfaces will contain the relevant EPP status values (refer to the answer to Question 27 Registration Life Cycle which lists the domain’s zone server status depending on the domain status).
• (B), (iii): “Dissemination of TLD zone files”: Zone generation and the subsequent DNSSEC signing of that zone is performed in parallel on two physically separate zone generators based on the current data in the registry database. After performing offline checks for the integrity of the zone file, the TLD zone file is loaded onto two hidden master nameservers (the zone file of the second zone generator is only used in case of an emergency situation with the first zone generator). These hidden masters supply the public nameserver network with the current zone file. For zone dissemination the standard DNS mechanisms of NOTIFY and IXFR⁄AXFR, protected by TSIG, are used. Integrity checks are performed to detect errors such as incomplete zone generation, incorrect DNSSEC key usage, key signing keys not matching DS records in the parent zone or an NSEC⁄NSEC3 chain problem.

The DNS query based verification procedures include the following set of checks on the published KSK and ZSK:

** Check if the published KSK matches a published DS-Record in the parent zone
** Check if the signature of the SOA and the Zone-NS-Records are included and correct
** Query (with DO-bit set) for 20 predefined existing domain names, check the results and validate the received signatures
** Query (with DO-bit set) for 20 predefined non-existing zone names, check the results and validate the received signatures
** Query (with DO-bit set) for 20 new (or changed) domains since the last zone generation, check the result and validate the received signatures (the zone generator generates a diff-file with the changes made and the verification tools choose 20 records randomly)
** Query (with DO-bit set) for the predefined end-of-zone-record of the zone, check the results and validate the received signatures.

Only if these checks succeed is the zone file propagated to the hidden masters – otherwise the rollout of this zone file is stopped and operations staff are notified. Consistency checks of the loaded zonefile are also performed on the hidden masters. Zone file access as required by ICANN is also provided. These procedures are the result of practical experience and knowledge gained from operating the “.at” TLD for over 15 years.

• (iv) “Operation of the Registry Zone servers”: The TLD zone servers will consist of a mix of Anycast and Unicast servers in order to ensure high availability in accordance with ICANN SLA requirements and to achieve a high level of diversity in terms of software and IP connectivity. A stable high-performance DNS network with 100% availability is one of the major key components of a successful gTLD operation. As a result the DNS network is carefully designed to fulfil those requirements. Anycast-DNS with multiple geographic locations is utilized to minimize latency, distribute traffic and increase resilience against attacks. Unicast servers are used to increase diversity across the DNS network. The zone for the TLD will not contain any wildcards or other means to modify NXDOMAIN responses. More details about the DNS network structure is contained in response to Question 35.
• (C), (v) “Dissemination of contact and other information concerning domain name registrations” (WHOIS service): A port-43 WHOIS (and a lightweight alternative) as well as a web-based WHOIS will be provided. In accordance with Specification 4 of the Registry Agreement, the WHOIS service is fully compliant with RFC 3912, and provides information about domain names, registrars and nameservers. Free public access to that information is granted. Web based access is also supported. The service is based on a scalable and redundant architecture to meet the required SLAs. To address privacy considerations, rate limiting on a per-IP-address basis is employed on the WHOIS interfaces. In addition to the WHOIS service, the Registry will also offer a “Domain Availability Service” using the “Finger” protocol as defined in RFC 1288. This service can be used by registrars to check whether a domain name is available or not but does not provide any other information. The implementation is fully RFC compliant. Since finger is a very simple protocol with a minimum of overhead, requests can be processed quickly by the registry systems, which saves on computing resources for both the registry and registrar. The Finger service is a read-only interface and does not pose any security risks for the registry. Instead, providing such an interface (which is functionally identical to the IRIS dchk) offloads pure “availability” checks from the more heavyweight WHOIS and EPP interfaces which helps to improve the overall performance of those services.
• (D) “Internationalized Domain Names”: The registry will offer IDNs as detailed in the response to Question 44. IDN support in the proposed registry will strictly adhere to all relevant standards. Only labels with explicitly permitted code points will be allowed. The registry will be conservative in allowing additional code points and will only allow code points that do not carry risks such as user confusion or technical issues caused by lack of client support etc.
• (E) “DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC)”: The registry will perform zone signing activities in accordance with ICANN requirements and industry best practice. The respective Delegation Signer (DS) Records will be sent to IANA for inclusion in the root zone to establish a chain of Trust. The EPP interface of the Registry will also accept key material to extend that chain of trust down to individual domain name registrations. Further information about DNSSEC procedures is contained in response to question 43.

Regarding ICANN’s “Consensus Policies”, the Registry will provide the necessary services to comply with these policies (as well as any Temporary Policies as adopted by ICANN). This includes support for ICANN’s UDPR and URS processes. The Registry Operator will also restrict Registrar use of the “Add Grace Period” (AGP) as required by the “Add Grace Period Limits Policy”.

The registry system (software, documentation, test infrastructure) providing the above mentioned Registry Services is readily available at the time of this writing and most of the components are in production use by one or more TLDs.

All registry services are based on well-known industry standards and implement RFCs developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

The Registry will not operate any services that are specific or unique to the particular TLD. Hence, it is expected that potential registrars will require only minimal effort to connect to the Registry Systems to be able to perform registrations of domain names under the TLD.

Registrar Web: Registrars will be provided with a “Registrar Web”, a web site specifically targeted at registrars that will support registration procedures and allow registrars to change the configuration of their Registry account. This will include administration of their EPP login (particularly their client IP addresses) details, invoice downloads and financial functions such as topping up prepaid credit with the registry. Terms and conditions as well as registry policies are also available for download. Moreover the registrar web page provides statistics to registrars, gives them an overview of transactions requiring payment and shows available credit.

Registrar Helpdesk: A helpdesk will also be provided for registrars. This helpdesk will handle technical, legal and administrative inquiries from registrars. Helpdesk agents can be reached via email, telephone and fax. A professional ticketing system and qualified agents will ensure that all queries are handled within an appropriate turnaround time. Helpdesk services will be available during working hours on business days and an additional emergency contact will be available 24⁄7.

Security: The Registry Operator takes significant measures against (1) the unauthorized disclosure, alteration, insertion or destruction of Registry data and (2) the unauthorized access to or disclosure of information or resources on the internet. This includes a detailed security policy (contained in answer to Question 30), a secure architecture (see response to Question 32), a multi-layered backup strategy (details in response to Question 37) and a domain name lifecycle that makes it extremely unlikely that third parties can gain control over the registration record of a domain (see response to Question 27).

Stability: The operation of the TLD and the Registry Services offered do not involve any technology or business practice that has the potential to adversely affect the stability of the TLD’s services and⁄or the DNS as a whole. All protocols used are based on authoritative standards published by well-established and recognized standards organizations. For example, the DNS service provided for the TLD is in strict compliance with the relevant RFCs created by the Internet Engineering Task Force and as a result will be fully compatible with existing and deployed internet technology. Specifically, the TLD will not engage in any DNS “tricks” such as wildcard or NXDOMAIN redirection and will ensure that no conditions affecting the throughput, response time, consistency or coherence of responses to Internet servers or end systems arise.

In order to fulfill the functions described above, the Registry Backend Operator also performs operations of standard business components, such as:

• Permanent office location infrastructure in two cities (Vienna and Salzburg), including three meeting rooms, with additional emergency office space contracted.
• Rented datacenter space at various locations.
• Billing and Financial administration and infrastructure
• Technical office infrastructure such as IT systems (file storage, email⁄fax systems, document management), call-center enabled PBXes with integrated mobile devices, Teleconferencing equipment, fail-safe networking infrastructure between office locations themselves, and between office and datacenter locations.

These basic “business building blocks” are established since nearly 15 years, and are used for the day to day operations of the registry backend operations. Since some of the the elements listed above are assumed to be standard business commodities that are not specific to the operations of a gTLD registry, they are not described in further detail in subsequent answers (eg. enterprise PBX).

A number of the Registry Back-end Operator’s staff are actively engaged in numerous working groups within the Internet Engineering Task Force, particularly those focused on DNS, ENUM, emergency services and geographic location. In addition several of these employees are authors of published and draft IETF RFCs.

Demonstration of Technical & Operational Capability

24. Shared Registration System (SRS) Performance

1	High-level SRS systems description:

The Shared Registry System is based on the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) and employs a multi-tiered architecture with public facing interfaces completely segregated from backend functions (such as database and management interfaces). An overview of the functionality provided by the SRS is as follows:

• Registrars connect to and authenticate against the EPP frontend systems.
• Those frontends receive and parse all EPP commands to perform checks of business logic (including any policy requirements) and subsequently perform (or reject) the requested action against the back-end data storage.
• The back-end data storage is handled by a Relational Database Management System (described in detail in response to Question 33).

The server elements used for the SRS employ a number of technologies to ensure service availability and reliability. These include the use of multiple, virtualised Linux servers and several layers of high-availability functionality such as active-active load balancing, standby components and replication of full virtual machine images. A significant amount of design and implementation effort has focussed on removing any potential single point of failure in the SRS architecture. This architecture has also been fully tested and verified on a functionally identical prototype system, and is operational for the “.bh” migration. Some of that work included training and verification by independent third party system architecture experts, in particular the critical system availability functions such as cluster failover and real-time block device level replication.

The SRS software itself is readily available at the time of this submission. It is implemented and operated in accordance with the requirements of Specification 6 („Registry Interoperability and Continuity Specifications“) and the respective SLAs in Specification 10. The SRS uses EPP as its core provisioning protocol and supports, amongst other RFCs, the following provisioning RFCs as required in Section 1.2 of Specification 6:

• RFC 5730 (EPP Base Specification)
• RFC 5731 (EPP Domain Name Mapping)
• RFC 5732 (EPP Host Mapping)
• RFC 5733 (EPP Contact Mapping)
• RFC 5734 (EPP TCP Transport).
• RFC 3735 (EPP Extension Guidelines)
• RFC 5910 (DNSSEC Mapping)
• RFC 3915 (Grace Period Mapping)

For maximum interoperability, only EPP functionality that is documented in the above RFCs is implemented – i.e. there are no proprietary EPP extensions used in the SRS. Further details about the implementation of the EPP Registry Services are contained in response to Question 25 (“EPP”).

It is understood that SRS availability and 100% data integrity are absolute key requirements for the deployment of a successful TLD operation. As a result the SRS implementation was developed with a strong focus on those key factors.

The core software platform employed by the SRS, with its powerful modular policy functionality has been in production use for the „.at“ ccTLD (nic.at) since 2003, additionally the „.no“ ccTLD (norid) successfully migrated to the registry software over the course of 2010. Another installation of the software was recently rolled out to support the migration of the “.bh” ccTLD (Kingdom of Bahrain) from the incumbent operator to the Regulatory Authority of Bahrain. Furthermore, this core software is currently being used to provide SRS implementations for ENUM (Electronic Numbering) Registries in Austria (+43) and Ireland (+353). Finally, test instances of this customised software for ENUM are deployed in The Netherlands and Australia.

The modular and highly extensible structure of the SRS software allows for customized per-TLD policies that are implemented on top of an identical core registry system. This allows for code reuse between different TLD implementations, regardless of the policy framework required.

The implementation of this software, specifically for this new gTLD, has been customized to the needs of the registry operator and to meet or exceed ICANN’s policy and SLA requirements set out in the Applicant Guidebook for new gTLDs. A detailed description of the architecture supporting the SRS software is contained in answer to Question 32 (Architecture).

Details for the DNS elements of the TLD service, including zone file creation, signing, dissemination and testing procedures are contained in answers to Question 35 (DNS) and answers to Question 43 (DNSSEC).

Policy and additional documentation about Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) usage in the TLD is contained in answer to Question 44 (IDN).

The SRS is fully IPv6 compliant: It accepts IPv6 addresses as Glue Records for host objects and is reachable via native IPv6 transport. Additional details about IPv6 support are contained in answer to Question 36 (IPv6).

For reference, the Performance Specifications relevant to the SRS as required by Specification 10 (Registry Performance Specifications) are included in Table Q24-01. As indicated, the SRS performance meets or exceeds all SLA requirements and significant effort has been taken to verify these SLA requirements on a physical installation of the SRS architecture⁄software. Hence, the performance metrics included in Table Q24-01 are real measurements, rather than theoretical assumptions or estimations.

Note: The performance SLAs have been verified by setting up a prototype system that is functionally and architecturally identical to the registry system, but has limited hardware resources compared to the proposed production architecture. Hence, the performance of the actual production system is expected to exceed the measured performance values on the prototype system indicated in Table Q24-01. Details on the measurements are contained in the responses to Question 33.

Table Q24-01: see attachment

The measurements used to achieve the individual Service Levels are discussed in the following sections:

1.1 Performance – Shared Registry Service (EPP)

1.1.1 EPP service availability

The EPP interface of the SRS is provided by two front end server processes on two physically separate machines. Both front ends are accessible via a single IP address, and the load is dynamically shared between these two frontends. In the case that a single frontend system is unresponsive, it is automatically removed from the load balanced group. When a frontend returns to service, it is automatically added back into the load balanced group configuration. In addition, alerts to the NOC are triggered for all such events so that the operations team is notified of error conditions immediately.

For security reasons, access to all EPP interfaces is restricted and is only permitted from network ranges of authorized registrars.

Using this architecture, the SRS for the proposed TLD will exceed ICANN’s „EPP service availability“ requirement of 98%. A production implementation of the Registry System (for the “.at” TLD) with similar software & architecture has surpassed 99.6% monthly availability for each month during 2009, 2010 and 2011 (with most months above 99.9% availability).

1.1.2 EPP command performance notes

The performance of the SRS for EPP session, query and transform commands was extensively evaluated. Please refer to the response to question 33 for the measurements and figures indicating the performance under a realistic base load of the proposed registry system. These figures show that the EPP session, query and transform command RTTs clearly meet the 2000ms and 4000ms thresholds, respectively, for at least 90% of the commands.

1.1.3 Additional Performance figures

The response to Question 33 (Database) contains some additional performance figures for the SRS, again gathered on a prototype system.

2 Network Overview & Number of Servers

The SRS servers make use of the two data center locations “Vienna” and “Salzburg”, (distance approximately 300km⁄185miles). The data centers are equipped with multiple, independent upstream connections to the internet (from different service providers) and two Layer 2 crosslinks. The backend registry operator also operates a Local Internet Registry (LIR), allocates IP space from its own address pool, and operates its own Autonomous Systems (ASes). The high-level network structure is shown in Figure Q-24-02.

As shown, a significant focus of the network design work has been to remove any single point of failure. Also, each server is connected to two access routers, so that an outage of any single network component does not affect server and consequently service availability. More information about the network infrastructure at each individual location is contained in response to Question 35. A complete and detailed overview of machinery in place for this TLD is given in Table Q32-11 of the answer to Question 32.

The server infrastructure of the gTLD’s SRS consists of the following set of machines (this list does not include the actual DNS network):

• Two physically separate, dedicated servers running SRS frontend instances and the production database, clustered in active-active (Frontends) and active-standby (Database) configuration. Database as well as SRS frontends are segregated from each other via virtualization. In terms of scalability, should the TLD exceed 500,000 registered domains, provisions are in place to add further, dedicated machines as needed.
• A total of 6 physical machines provide the additional functions of the gTLD, including zone generation, DNSSEC signing, zone deployment (via Hidden Masters), backup, management, and a test instance of the SRS. The functions on those 6 “infrastructure” machines are shared among up to 4 gTLD installations, and adding more machines is planned depending on growth projections for each individual TLD. The existing infrastructure scales to at least 500,000 domain names per TLD without requiring additional servers. Services on those physical servers are again segregated from each other using virtualization.
• Additionally, several other servers are involved in supplementary functionality, such as monitoring, tape backup, logging & reporting services.

All servers used for the operation of the TLD are (and will be) rack mountable, data center grade machines with active maintenance contracts from the supplier.

2.1 Interconnectivity with other Registry Services

The SRS, as well as the infrastructure required to perform the other critical Registry Services are installed on servers located in the same data center (under emergency conditions, services may be moved to servers in the backup data center). Therefore, the services are inter-connected using either Local Area Networking (LAN) or redundant private layer 2 links (linking the “Vienna” and “Salzburg” locations). In addition to the redundant layer 2 links, infrastructure is in place to securely tunnel traffic between those two locations over the public internet in the unlikely case that both the private site cross-links fail. From a security perspective, multiple firewall layers are used to filter network traffic between the various network segments, i.e. between the public Internet, perimeter and internal networks.

Zone dissemination or transfer from the hidden primary to the public nameserver network is performed over the public internet however all such communications are cryptographically secured. Both locations have redundant upstream connectivity from independent providers with a minimum total bandwidth of 2x1 Gbit⁄s.

Both networks are also connected to the “Vienna Internet Exchange” (VIX), where peering relationships with many other organizations have been established. This provides an optimal routing path to the Registry Systems and services for those organisations.

In terms of data integrity and consistency the following provisions have been put in place to ensure correct synchronization of Registry systems:

• The active and standby database servers are synced in real-time using block device level replication functionality provided by the DRBD technology.
• DNS zone servers are synchronized every 15 minutes.
• For failover purposes, full machine images or snapshots of all virtual machines are copied to the standby data center once per day (please see the response to Question 37 for details)
• Synchronization between SRS and registry helpdesk systems occurs every few minutes.
• It is important to note that as WHOIS data is provided directly from the backend registry database there is no need to synchronize WHOIS data.

The synchronization strategy used differs from service to service. For the SRS frontends themselves, an active-active setup with OSPF-based load-balancing is employed. The registry database uses an active-standby setup with real-time synchronization and automatic failover.

2.2 Resourcing Plan

It should be noted that the architecture and basic development work for the SRS software has already been completed at the time of this submission (except policy adjustments for the TLD), which reduces the time and number of personnel required to perform the necessary development and maintenance work.

The Registry Backend Operator employs 4 developers (totalling to 3 FTEs) responsible for developing and maintaining the SRS software, for example implementing per-TLD policy customisations. Those developers also work on the development and maintenance of RDDS, and their work is shared amongst the operation of multiple TLDs.

Additionally, 2 system engineers (2 FTEs) are responsible for performing the actual deployment of the SRS for a new TLD including the subsequent hand over of the newly installed systems to the Network Operations team.

A minimum of 8 people are fully trained to perform day-to-day and ongoing maintenance operations of the SRS systems and software.

The required hardware for the SRS is described above and all related costs are bundled with the “Software as a Service” fees that the Registry Operator pays to the Registry Backend Operator. This also includes all resources that are required to operate the hardware for the SRS, such as data center or other infrastructure expenses, maintenance contracts and hardware replacement.

25. Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)


1 Overview

The SRS of this proposed gTLD will use EPP for communication with registrars. The EPP interface is and in full compliance with the following RFCs and, where possible, entirely based on common standards:

• RFC 5730 - Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
• RFC 5731 - Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Domain Name Mapping
• RFC 5732 - Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Host Mapping
• RFC 5733 - Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Contact Mapping
• RFC 5734 - Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) Transport over TCP
• RFC 5910 - Domain Name System (DNS) Security Extensions Mapping for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
• RFC 3915 - Domain Registry Grace Period Mapping for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
• RFC 3735 - Guidelines for Extending the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)

Note that the objective is to base the EPP interface entirely on published RFCs and it is hence not planned to use any proprietary EPP commands. However, it is understood that some functionality required by ICANN cannot be implemented by means of EPP extensions specified in published RFCs. This includes support for:

• Trademark Clearing House: integration in the domain registration process (sunrise and claiming phase)
• IDN: exposure of language tags in the EPP interface
• IDN: selection of variants to be included in the DNS zone

Currently the following documents related to the topics listed above are available:

• draft-tan-epp-launchphase
• draft-obispo-epp-idn
• draft-kong-epp-variants-mapping

The registry backend operator participates in the standardization process and understands that the community is currently working on the respective documents. It is expected that specifications are published and implementable before the registry goes operational, which allows the registry operator to stick to its strategy of using only IETF RFC specified EPP extensions.

However, if such specifications are not available in a timely manner before the registry intends to go operational, draft specifications that reflect industry and community consensus will be considered instead in order to cover ICANNs functional requirements.

Via EPP, the following objects can be managed by registrars:

• domain objects
• host objects
• contact objects

The following commands are supported by the EPP interface:

• Session Management
** Login
** Logout
** Poll
** Hello
• Domain Commands
** Check domain
** Info domain
** Create domain
** Delete domain
** Renew domain
** Transfer domain
** Update domain (including “restore”)
• Host commands
** Check host
** Info host
** Create host
** Delete host
** Update host
• Contact commands
** Check contact
** Info contact
** Create contact
** Delete contact
** Update contact

According to the definitions in RFC 5730, the registry operator will apply for an EPP repository identifier with the IANA registry (http:⁄⁄www.iana.org⁄assignments⁄epp-repository-ids) as follows:

ID: versicherung, #x0076 #x0065 #x0072 #x0073 #x0069 #x0063 #x0068 #x0065 #x0072 #x0075 #x006e #x0067

Registrant Contact: dotVersicherung-registry GmbH 〈info@dotversicherung.de〉

The only language supported for message elements in EPP is English.

2 Session Management

The transport layer between EPP clients and the SRS EPP interface is protected using TLS with X.509 certificates. The registry will only use strong ciphers such as those required by the EPP RFC and listed below, but reserves the right to modify the list of ciphers depending on cryptographic developments.


On top of the TLS based identity verification, login to the SRS’s EPP interface is protected using two additional authentication factors, with one factor being the IP address of the client and the other factor being the clients’ credentials. Failed login attempts are logged and reported. The administration of authorised IP address ranges can be performed by registrars via the Registrar’s web interface or by contacting the helpdesk. Passwords can be changed via the EPP login command as described in RFC 5730, Section

EPP sessions will be terminated by the server either after an idle timeout of 20 minutes or after the maximum session length of 24 hours. The registry operator reserves the right to restrict the number of concurrent EPP sessions per registrar (a limit of three sessions is currently defined but this may be amended depending on registry and TLD scaling requirements).

The EPP service also employs infrastructure elements and software measures to perform rate-limiting of EPP sessions (such measures may, for example, be required during landrush phases).

The SRS does not support EPP command pipelining.

3 Object Management

The registry supports the provisioning of contact, host and domain objects as defined in the respective RFCs and according to the lifecycle described in response to question 27.

Registration periods apply for domain objects only (in one year increments). The default initial registration and renewal period is 1 year. The client may choose another period of up to 10 years when issuing the respective request (total registration period of a domain must never exceed 10 years).

Since the registry uses grace periods, the grace period mapping of RFC 3915 is supported by the EPP interface. In particular, a restore command is issued as an extension to the update command, as described in this RFC. Furthermore, the restore report is also delivered to the registry via EPP.

The registry operator reserves the right to perform a garbage collection process on unlinked contact and unlinked external host objects. Internal hosts follow the lifecycle of their superordinate domain and are not subject to garbage collection (for details refer to responses to question 27, 28).

For contact objects, only internationalized postalInfo elements are supported. All child elements as listed in the RFC are supported. Note that since the registry does not support contact transfers, contact authInfo is not used.

For the provisioning of DNSSEC trust chains, the EPP interface supports the extension described in RFC 5910 for accepting DS data (key data interface is not supported). Details on DNSSEC support are contained in response to question 43.

4 Domain Transfer

The domain transfer command has several subcommands. Note that a transfer can only be requested on domain objects but that the registry system will automatically transfer subordinate host objects when the superordinate domain is transferred. Contact objects are never transferred.

The set of transfer commands consists of the following subcommands: “request”, “approve”, “reject”, “cancel” and “query”. To request a domain transfer, the requestor sends a transfer request with a valid authInfo. The losing registrar is subsequently notified and can either reject or approve this request. In the event that the losing registrar doesn’t explicitly reject or approve the request, the registry will auto-approve the request after 5 calendar days. Before the transfer is approved, auto-approved or rejected, (i.e., the domain is in pendingTransfer state) the requestor may cancel it. A detailed description of the domain transfer lifecycle is contained in response to question 27 (Figure Q27-02).

AuthInfo is required for all domain objects. This information is necessary in order to authenticate a domain transfer process. The registry system requires that the authInfo is at least 8 characters long with a maximum length of 32 characters. Furthermore, at least one alphanumeric character (‘A’ to ‘Z’; both lower and uppercase letters), and at least either one numeric character (‘0’ – ‘9’) or one special character are required for each authInfo.

5 Status values

The domain object supports the following status values (as described in Section 5 of RFC 5731):

• inactive (to indicate that no hosts are associated with the object). This status value is set automatically by the server.
• ok (default status) set automatically by the server. This status value is never combined with any other status values.
• pendingCreate is set by the server to indicated that the domain create command was processed but is subject to offline review.
• pendingTransfer is set by the server when the domain name is subject to a pending transfer
• pendingDelete is set by the server when the domain name is subject to deletion. Note that the registry also supports the RGP grace periods - redemption and pending delete as listed below.
• serverHold⁄clientHold set when the domain object should not appear in the zone.
• serverUpdateProhibited⁄clientUpdateProhibited set when the domain name cannot be updated due to server or client policy.
• serverTransferProhibited⁄clientTransferProhibited set when the domain name cannot be transferred due to server or client policy.
• serverDeleteProhibited⁄clientDeleteProhibited set when the domain name cannot be deleted due to server policy or client provisions.
• serverRenewProhibited⁄clientRenewProhibited set when the domain name is not eligible for renewal.

Each domain object will always have at least one associated status value.
Additionally, domain objects support the following status values related to the grace period mapping as per RFC 3915, Section 3.1:

• autoRenewPeriod
• renewPeriod
• transferPeriod
• redemptionPeriod
• pendingRestore
• pendingDelete

The contact object supports the following status values (as described in Section 2.2 of RFC 5733):

• linked (when the object is used in at least one domain name object)
• ok (default status)
• serverUpdateProhibited⁄clientUpdateProhibited (for server or client policy reasons, modifications to the object are not allowed)
• serverDeleteProhibited⁄clientDeleteProhibited (for server or client policy reasons removal of the object from the registry is not allowed)

Each contact object will always have at least one associated status value.

The host object supports the following status values (as described in Section 2.3 of RFC 5732):

• linked: Set by the registry when a host is referenced by at least one domain
• ok (default status)
• pendingTransfer: Set on internal host objects when the superordinate domain is pending transfer.
• serverDeleteProhibited⁄clientDeleteProhibited (for server or client policy reasons removal of the object from the registry is not allowed)
• serverUpdateProhibited⁄clientUpdateProhibited (for server or client policy reasons, modifications to the object are not allowed)

Each host object will always have at least one associated status value.

6 EPP Server Implementation

The EPP server implementation is based on the Apache HTTP server, with the HTTP protocol handler replaced with a custom, Perl-based EPP handler. This allows for the reuse of Apache’s session management, logging and resource allocation functionality. EPP systems based on this software have been deployed in production since 2004. The software has been continuously developed, in order to accommodate policy changes and scalability requirements.

The EPP software variant for the proposed TLD is already available and has already been deployed on prototype systems (with the exception of functionality where specifications are unclear at the time of this writing, i.e. Trademark Clearing House integration).

Since no proprietary extensions are planned, no EPP templates and no EPP extension schemas are provided in response to this question. Schemas and examples of the commands supported are included in the respective RFCs.

7 Resource Planning

The technical resources required for the operation of the EPP server (as part of the SRS) are described in response to questions 32 and 24. For EPP development and evaluation of related issues, the Registry Back-End Operator has a highly skilled research & development team of 5 persons, of which 3 people are intimately familiar with the details of the EPP protocol. They also monitor and contribute to the discussions within the IETF regarding future developments of EPP (“provreg” mailing list).

All technical staff are trained on the day-to-day operations of the EPP service. The helpdesk team is trained and experienced in troubleshooting EPP support problems with Registrars, and can escalate to the EPP experts or even core developers in case of more complex problems.

26. Whois



As detailed in Specification 4 “Specification for Registration Data Publication Services” (RDPS), the Registry Operator will operate a fully compliant “Registration Data Directory Service” (RDDS), will provide “Zone File Access” as required and will grant ICANN the required “Bulk Registration Data Access”. These services will fulfil the requirements stated in the respective specification, and will also meet or exceed the respective RDDS SLAs as required in Specification 10.

In addition to the requisite WHOIS service, a lightweight variant of the RDDS, a so-called “Domain Availability Interface”, based on the “finger” protocol, will be provided. This service will supplement the WHOIS service, and exposes a very limited subset of the information already available via the RDDS, namely, whether or not a certain domain name is available for registration.

1 Registration Data Directory Services

A WHOIS service will be available via port 43 in compliance with RFC 3912. Additionally a web-based directory service, to be made available at “whois.nic.versicherung”, will provide a free, publicly accessible, query-based interface which will provide information regarding “Domain Name”, “Registrar” and “Nameserver” objects. The data format used for those objects is specified below. It is understood that ICANN reserves the right to require alternative formats and protocols, and upon such specification, such changes will be implemented as soon as reasonably practicable.

Specifically, the WHOIS service fulfils the following requirements:

• The server is fully compliant with RFC 3912
• Free public query-based access is provided
• The services runs on “whois.nic.versicherung” on TCP port 43
• Data objects represented by key⁄value pairs, with multiple key⁄value pairs with the same key in case of fields with more than one value
• Additionally, web-based access on “whois.nic.versicherung” is provided
• In order to prevent abuse, highly configurable volume access limitations are deployed
• The architecture is robust, implements a number of failsafe mechanisms and is in compliance with the RDDS SLA’s outlined in Specification 10.

1.1 Architecture

The technical architecture of the WHOIS system (servers, switches, routers, etc.) is depicted in Figure Q26-02, and employs the following components:

• Connectivity to the internet is handled via the two redundant access routers of the registry system. Each server is connected to each of the two routers, with one connection serving as an active path, and the second path (to the other router) serving as a failover path in case of failure of the first.
• Two virtual machines on physically separate hardware run the frontend Whois⁄Finger⁄HTTP daemons.
• The WHOIS service on each server operates as part of an active-active cluster. Both servers announce their respective service addresses to the routers via OSPF with the routers distributing traffic between the two frontends by means of OSPF load sharing logic.
• Both active instances are connected to the active registry database using persistent database connections to reduce session handling overhead. The frontend servers switch automatically to the registry standby database in the event of a database failover.
• In the case where one of the frontend servers fails, the OSPF announcement for that server automatically ceases and traffic is redirected to the remaining active node within a few seconds.
• Access is restricted to TCP port 43 (for Whois), TCP port 79 (for Finger) and TCP port 80 (HTTP) using firewall access lists on the routers.
• The codebase for the WHOIS and Finger servers was developed in-house using the “C” programming language and is based on state-of-the art design concepts to ensure a robust and stable operation. This software has been actively developed for a number of years and is currently in production at the “.at” and “.no” TLD registries.
• The software is also highly configurable, allowing query limits to be set based on source IP address⁄blocks for both IPv6 and IPv4 addressing formats. It also allows for fine grained control of specific rate-limits on a per network block basis.
• The software actively generates access and service statistics for monitoring and management purposes.
• The RDDS uses the “live” registry database and as a result updates to the registry database are reflected in real-time to the WHOIS server. However, in the event that the WHOIS load starts to impact the performance of the Registry database, provisions are in place to move the WHOIS server to an alternate read-only replica of the “live” database if necessary.

1.2 Access Limitations and Access Restrictions

Access control lists (ACLs) protect the RDDS service hosts against unwanted access but grant public access to the defined services (WHOIS, finger, HTTP).

In addition to this general protection of the service infrastructure, the RDDS must also make provision to address the following scenarios:

• Bulk requests from public unknown sources (e.g. to grab data)
• High speed ⁄ high volume requests from known source addresses (e.g. from registrars)

In order to handle the above scenarios the WHOIS software supports the following configurable service policies:

• The number of allowed requests (within a specific time frame) on a per IP address (or per IP subnet) basis, for either IPv4 or IPv6 and with support for a “most specific” matching rule of those entries. This provides the ability to set different limitations for different user groups ⁄ network ranges. Violations of those limits are included in the daily WHOIS service reports sent to the operations team.

1.3 WHOIS Input Format

The data format complies with the requirements of Specification 4 of the “new gTLD agreement”. The definitions below apply to the command line WHOIS interface (port 43) as well as the web interface:

• Queries can be issued for domain name, registrar and nameserver objects
• Queries that include the argument “registrar” trigger a search for registrar data objects. If the argument is “nameserver”, a search for nameserver objects is actioned, while queries without any such prefix trigger a search for a domain or nameserver.
• Wildcard searches and substring searches are not supported.
• Using the option “-C” (“charset”) as part of the command line WHOIS query specifies a character encoding for the protocol. This setting applies to the both the input and output character encoding, and supports the following values: “US-ASCII”, “ISO-8859-1” and “UTF-8”. The default character set is “UTF-8”. On the web interface the character encoding will always be set to UTF-8 with modification of this option not available.
• In the case of IDNs, the search string must be in the A-Label format of the domain or nameserver. Searches based on the U-Label format are not supported.

Example queries (including the command line “whois” client itself):

• Domain name data: whois -h whois.nic.versicherung example.versicherung
• Domain name data (with character set parameter): whois -h whois.nic.versicherung -- -C us-ascii example.versicherung
• Registrar data: whois -h whois.nic.versicherung “registrar Example Company”
• Nameserver data by name: whois -h whois.nic.versicherung ns1.example.tld
• Nameserver data by IP address: whois -h whois.nic.versicherung “nameserver”

Note: In the case where a host is registered for the origin of a delegated domain, i.e. both domain “example.versicherung” and nameserver “example.versicherung” exist, the query will match and return both the domain name and nameserver data objects.

1.4 WHOIS Output Format

The output format of the WHOIS server follows that outlined in Specification 4 of the “new gTLD agreement”:

Domain Name Data:

Domain ID: D1234567-TLD
Domain Name: EXAMPLE.TLD
Updated Date: 2009-05-29T20:13:00Z
Creation Date: 2000-10-08T00:45:00Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2010-10-08T00:44:59Z
Sponsoring Registrar: EXAMPLE REGISTRAR LLC
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 5555555
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: serverUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID: 5372808-GTLD
Registrant Organization: EXAMPLE ORGANIZATION
Registrant Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Registrant City: ANYTOWN
Registrant State⁄Province: AP
Registrant Postal Code: A1A1A1
Registrant Country: EX
Registrant Phone: +1.5555551212
Registrant Phone Ext: 1234
Registrant Fax: +1.5555551213
Registrant Fax Ext: 4321
Registrant Email: EMAIL@EXAMPLE.TLD
Admin ID: 5372809-GTLD
Admin Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Admin City: ANYTOWN
Admin State⁄Province: AP
Admin Postal Code: A1A1A1
Admin Country: EX
Admin Phone: +1.5555551212
Admin Phone Ext: 1234
Admin Fax: +1.5555551213
Admin Fax Ext:
Tech ID: 5372811-GTLD
Tech Street: 123 EXAMPLE STREET
Tech City: ANYTOWN
Tech State⁄Province: AP
Tech Postal Code: A1A1A1
Tech Country: EX
Tech Phone: +1.1235551234
Tech Phone Ext: 1234
Tech Fax: +1.5555551213
Tech Fax Ext: 93
DNSSEC: Signed
DS Key Tag 1: 54135
Algorithm 1: 5
Digest Type 1: 1
Digest 1: 〈DIGEST〉
DS Key Tag 2: 54135
Algorithm 2: 5
Digest Type 2: 2
Digest 2: 〈DIGEST〉

% Copyright (c) 20XX by NIC.versicherung
% Restricted rights.
% Response generated on: 2011-10-13 11:11:25 UTC

Note that the “Domain Name” field will always contain the A-Label format of the domain. In cases where an IDN response is returned (and an appropriate character encoding was requested), the response will contain an additional field, the so-called “Domain U-Label”, containing the U-Label format of the respective Domain, for example:

Domain U-Label: exämple.versicherung

In the case where data for an unsigned domain is returned, the “DNSSEC” field will contain the value “unsigned” and the other DNSSEC-related fields will be excluded from the response.

Registrar Data:

Registrar Name: Example Registrar, Inc.
Street: 1234 Admiralty Way
City: Marina del Rey
State⁄Province: CA
Postal Code: 90292
Country: US
Phone Number: +1.3105551212
Fax Number: +1.3105551213
Email: registrar@example.tld
Registrar IANA ID: 55566677

% Copyright (c) 20XX by NIC.versicherung
% Restricted rights.
% Response generated on: 2011-10-13 11:11:25 UTC

Nameserver Data:

Server Name: NS1.EXAMPLE.TLD
IP Address:
IP Address: 2001:0DB8::1
Registrar: Example Registrar, Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 55566677

% Copyright (c) 20XX by NIC.versicherung
% Restricted rights.
% Response generated on: 2011-10-13 11:11:25 UTC

1.5 Web-based RDDS

In addition to the command line based WHOIS service described above, the Registry Operator will, in line with requirements, provide a web-based WHOIS interface. The web-based interface supports the following classes of users in accordance with stated policies:

• The general public (“anonymous access”): Anonymous users can retrieve a limited amount of responses from the web based interface. To avoid unwanted bulk access and to prevent users from data harvesting the following access restrictions are deployed: (1) Client limits per day to be set based on source IPv4 and IPv6 addresses or blocks. (2) CAPTCHAs as a challenge-response test to ensure that the response is generated by a human being.
• Registrars and other authenticated users: Registrars and other approved users are issued with an authentication token that allows them to retrieve a greater number of WHOIS records via the web interface. Users qualifying in principal could for example include ICANN staff, URS or UDRP providers, and will be approved case by case by the registry.

All transactions on the web-based WHOIS are also logged and daily usage reports are sent to operations staff. The web-based WHOIS supports the same object types and query formats as the command line interface above, with the exception of the „-C“ (character set) switch. The contents of a response from the web-based WHOIS service are also identical to the command line service, but may be reformatted and styled using HTML⁄CSS to aid presentation and display.

1.6 Searchable WHOIS

Searchable WHOIS functionality is not provided. This is to prevent bulk data harvesting and further data merging using extensive request combinations and Boolean search techniques. This is done intentionally to comply with data protection laws and privacy obligations.

Any request from legal institutions and law enforcement agencies for information outside of that supplied by any of the WHOIS services is dealt with directly by the legal department of the registry.

As a result there is no future intention to offer a broad search functionality, this applies to both the WHOIS protocol interface (port 43) and the web-based WHOIS interface

1.7 Lightweight RDDS Access (“Finger”)

In addition to the required WHOIS interface a lightweight domain availability interface is supported. This interface is based on the “Finger” protocol, specified in RFC 1288, and exposes a very limited subset of data (already available in WHOIS), namely whether or not a certain domain name is available for registration. It provides faster response times than the standard WHOIS interface and places less load on the registry systems. The service will be operated accordingly:

• Lightweight access based on the “finger” protocol according to RFC 1288
• Lightweight access runs on finger.nic.versicherung on port 79
• No exposure of any information additional to that already available via the WHOIS RDDS
• Query format (command line example): “finger example.versicherung@finger.nic.versicherung”
• Response format (example): “example.versicherung IS NOT available”

1.8 IPv6 Support

All RDDS services (WHOIS, web-based WHOIS, Finger and bulk data access) fully support IPv6. In summary there is no difference in service quality levels or service responses between IPv4 and IPv6 for these services.

A detailed description of IPv6 support can be found in response to Question 36.

1.9 Service Level Compliance

The RDDS service complies with the SLA requirements (as defined in Specification 10) as follows:
Table Q26-01: please see attachment

1.1.1 RDDS Availability

The redundant and resilient architecture of the WHOIS system is described above, and is served by architecture as outlined in response to question 32. It is designed, at a minimum, to meet the required availability levels of 98%. It is understood that a reliable RDDS system is vitally important for TLD operations.

1.1.2 RDDS query RTT

The internal response time of the WHOIS system is significantly below the RDDS query RTT limit of 2000 ms so that it can be expected that for 95% of the queries this SLA requirement will be met. On test installations of the service, the query RTT is less than 500 ms, even in the event of a significant number of concurrent connections.

1.1.3 RDDS update time

Since the WHOIS system queries the “live” registry database, there is no update delay and hence the RDDS update time of 60 minutes for 95% of the updates can be assured.

2 Zone File Access

In accordance with Section 2 of Specification 4 of the Agreement („Zone File Access“), the Registry Operator will enter into an agreement with any internet user to provide access to download the zone file data and will cooperate as required with Centralized Zone Data Access (CZDA) Providers. This will be facilitated as follows:

• A dedicated FTP server will be set up for access to the zone file data. The name of that server will be: versicherung.zda.icann.org (pending allocation of that hostname by ICANN zone administrators). The zone file and associated checksum files will be available for download for the previous 3 days. Files will be generated once a day and named according to Section 2.1.3 of the Agreement.
• The file format follows exactly the specification which is based on the Master Zone File format defined in RFC 1035, according to Section 2.1.4 of the agreement.
• A specific user ID and password has to be assigned for each user to restrict access to accredited users and to prevent unauthorized access. This user has to access the server with this specific user ID to be able to transfer data.
• Access will be free of charge but limited to one download per day.
• All logins and data transfers are logged, monitored and reported. Access statistics will be available to the registry operator as well as to others if required.

The Registry Operator will also cooperate with ICANN and CZDA Providers as required in Section 2.2 of the agreement. Additional access is granted to ICANN itself (or its designee) and any designated Emergency Operator if required.

3 Bulk Registration Data Access

As an operator of a Thick Registry, the Registry Operator will operate in compliance with Section 3.2 of Specification 4 of the „new gTLD Agreement“ („Exceptional Access to Thick Registration Data“) as well as in compliance with Section 3.1 of Specification 4 („Periodic Access to Thin Registration Data“), and will provide ICANN with the required data in the required format.

The data will be provided in conformance with Specification 2 („Escrow“) of the Agreement, as required.

4 Resources

Regarding development of the RDDS interfaces, it shall be noted that most of the work is already complete at the time of this writing (eg. WHOIS and finger daemon are fully deployed and operational for other TLDs). Therefore, only minimal development work is required, and hence within TLD-Box’s development team, only a half FTE is necessary (and planned for) for the continuous adaption and maintenance of the RDDS software itself.

For the actual operation of the RDDS interfaces, all technical operations staff members are trained on the various infrastructure and software components of the system, and manpower resources are accounted for in the general Network Operations Center budget.

The research & development team of the Registry Backend Operator is aware of ICANN’s SSAC work regarding WHOIS (eg. http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄committees⁄security⁄sac051.pdf), and also participates in the IETF’s proposed “WEIRDS” working group, in order to stay up-to-date with developments in the fields of domain data related publication services.

The RDDS makes use of virtual machines on the hardware provisioned for the TLD (and described in responses to Question 32 and 24). Therefore, no additional hardware resources are needed, however, the required bandwith in order to provide the RDDS services are accounted for in the general network topology of the Registry System.

27. Registration Life Cycle

Response to Question 27 (Registration Life Cycle)

1 Introduction

The domain registration lifecycle of .versicherung follows ICANNs “Life Cycle of a Typical gTLD Domain Name” (http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄registrars⁄gtld-lifecycle.htm) and adds a PENDING CREATE state (pendingCreate state as described in RFC 5731) to allow for manual review of the application. By following this standard model lifecycle, Registrars have only minimal effort in order to become familiar with the registration procedures under the proposed TLD. Figure Q27-01 shows the lifecycle of a domain with the various states. The description below lists EPP status values, DNS status, and typical allowed transactions for each of the domain states. It also describes whether Whois information is available and what information is provided in a finger request (note: for reasons of clarity the transfer process is shown in a separate figure).

Since the registry system supports the Redemption Grace Period (RGP) extensions as specified in RFC 3915, the domain states ‘REDEMPTION’ and ‘PENDING DELETE’ refer to the respective RGP states.

2 Typical Lifecycle of a Registration

A typical domain lifecycle is initiated by a create domain EPP command for an AVAILABLE name. The domain is now in a ‘PENDING CREATE’ state allowing for manual review of the application. Response to question 20e contains information about Eligibility, Name Selection, Content⁄Use and Enforcement of the community policies. Whilst in this ‘PENDING CREATE’ state, domain information cannot be updated. When the application is rejected during manual review, the domain enters the ‘PENDING DELETE’ state. In case the application is approved, the domain enters the ‘REGISTERED’ state. Whilst in this state the information associated with a domain may be updated by the respective registrar (using the update domain EPP command). A domain may also be transferred to another registrar (domain transfer, see detailed state diagram below). A domain is always registered for a specific period (maximum 10 years). At any time Registrars can manually renew domains (given that the maximum registration period is not exceeded). The registry system is also supporting an auto-renew option. The auto-renew option can be deactivated on the request of a Registrar (on a per-Registrar basis), but is enabled by default to ensure that domains do not expire unintentionally.

When a domain is deleted by either the ‘delete domain’ command, or alternatively expires (not manually renewed and auto-renew is disabled for the registrar), the domain first enters the ‘REDEMPTION’ state. Whilst in this state, a registrar is allowed to restore domains for the respective domain holder in case the non-renewal was unintentional. When the domain is successfully restored while in the REDEMPTION state (a restore report via EPP is required), the domain enters the ‘REGISTERED’ state again. Domains which are not restored after 30 days in the ‘REDEMPTION’ state enter the ‘PENDING DELETE’ state. Whilst in this state, a domain cannot be restored and will become AVAILABLE for re-registration after a period of 5 days.

Furthermore, additional EPP status values set on a domain may affect the allowed transactions (operations), e.g. status values of serverUpdateProhibited or clientUpdateProhibited, serverTransferProhibited or clientTransferProhibited, serverDeleteProhibited or clientDeleteProhibited and serverRenewProhibited or clientRenewProhibited will prohibit the respective transaction. Such server states are for example used when a domain is LOCKED.

To discourage and to address problems with abusive registrations, the proposed registry will follow policies described in response to question 28.

For domains under dispute, the registry will use the LOCKED status, and will also set appropriate status values on the associated host and contact objects, as required by the specific dispute scenario (e.g. URS). Note that the LOCKED status may also be used to enforce the community policies, as outlined in response to question 20e.

3 Domain States and Properties

This section describes the individual Domain States, as outlined in figure Q27-01. For each of these states, it is described what the trigger points to reach the status are, whether the domain is included in DNS, which transactions are allowed on the object, whether WHOIS information is available, and what the boolean response for the lightweight RDDS interface (finger) is. Furthermore the EPP (base and RGP) status values set on the domain are listed.

Note that in addition to the commands listed below “check domain” is always possible and the commands “info domain” and “transfer query” are always allowed on existing domain objects, regardless of their status.

Also note that in addition to the EPP status values listed below, the value “inactive” is set for domains without associated host objects.


Trigger points: Initial status of “new” domains, final release of a “PENDING DELETE” domain
in DNS: No
Allowed Transactions: create domain
in WHOIS: No
Finger results: “available”
EPP status values: n⁄a


Trigger points: “create domain” command
in DNS: No
Allowed Transactions: None
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger results: “unavailable”
EPP status values: pendingCreate, serverTransferProhibited, serverUpdateProhibited, serverRenewProhibited, serverDeleteProhibited, serverHold


Trigger points: Approval of domain, Restore Report received, disputes resolved
in DNS: Yes*
Allowed Transactions: update domain, transfer domain (request), delete domain, renew domain
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger results: “unavailable”
EPP status values: serverTransferProhibited (during first 60 days), ok (after the first 60 days if not inactive and no other status value is set)


Trigger points: “delete domain” command, domain expiration, disputes resolved, restore report not received.
in DNS: No
Allowed transactions: restore domain
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger result: “unavailable”
EPP Status values: pendingDelete, serverUpdateProhibited, serverHold, serverTransferProhibited, serverRenewProhibited, rgp:redemptionPeriod


Trigger points: domain not restored, delete locked domain, reject domain
in DNS: no
Allowed Transactions: none
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger result: “unavailable”
EPP Status values: pendingDelete, serverUpdateProhibited, serverHold, serverTransferProhibited, serverRenewProhibited, rgp:pendingDelete


Trigger points: “restore domain” command, dispute resolved
in DNS: Yes*
Allowed transactions: update domain (including delivery of the restore report), delete domain, renew domain.
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger result: “unavailable”
EPP status values: pendingDelete, serverTransferProhibited, rgp:pendingRestore


Trigger points: Opening of a dispute over the domain name
in DNS: Yes**
Allowed transactions: renew domain
in WHOIS: Yes
Finger result: “unavailable”
EPP status values: serverUpdateProhibited, serverDeleteProhibited, serverTransferProhibited, (serverHold**)

*Note: Domain is only included in the DNS if the domain object is linked to host object(s), and neither serverHold nor clientHold are set on the domain object.

**Note: Depending on the individual dispute case, the Registry may be instructed to set the serverHold flag on the domain, and subsequently, the name would be excluded from the DNS.

The EPP status values pendingRenew and pendingUpdate are never set on domain objects since there is no human review or third-party action necessary to complete these actions. Furthermore, the RGP status addPeriod is never set for domains since the add grace period does not apply for the proposed TLD.

4 Transfers

The transfer lifecycle of the proposed gTLDs complies with ICANNs “Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars” (http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄transfers⁄policy-12jul04.htm), specifically to its Section 6 (Registry Requirements). The lifecycle is illustrated in Figure Q27-02.

A transfer request must have valid ‘authInfo’ in order to be successful. Note that only one transfer request for a domain can be pending at any one time. Transfer requests for a domain name object that is already in the “pending Transfer” state are hence rejected.

Additionally, only domains that have been registered for more than 60 days (counted from the date of the initial registration) can be transferred.

Pending transfers can be either approved or rejected by the currently sponsoring Registrar. After a period of 5 days, any un-actioned requests are auto-approved by the Registry. Pending transfers may also be cancelled by the requesting registrar.

In the “pending Transfer” state, the following transactions on a domain name are not allowed:

• transfer (op=request)
• delete

(update, renew, and all other transfer sub-commands are allowed). All EPP commands are specified in RFC 5731.

A successful transfer extends the validity period of the transferred domain. The default validity period extension is 1 year but clients may request longer periods in the “transfer op=request” command), between one and 10 years (whole years only; as always, the maximum registration period is capped at 10 years).

5 Host Objects

The lifecycle of host objects is contained in the response to this question because internal host objects can be affected by transactions on their respective superordinate domain (parent domain). They “follow” the status of their parent domain in order to avoid issues with stale glue records.

Figure Q27-03 shows the lifecycle of internal host objects (comprised of a domain name in the .TLD namespace), and Figure Q27-04 shows the simpler lifecycle of an external host object (comprised of a domain name outside the of .TLD namespace). In Figure Q27-03, bold solid lines indicate states and transactions created by transactions on the host object itself, while dotted lines indicate effects on the internal host object that are created indirectly by transactions⁄states on the superordinate domain of the host object.

Internal host objects can only be created when the superordinate domain exists.

The description of the individual states of the Host objects is as follows:

• AVAILABLE: The host object does not exist in the Registry, and can be created using the “create host” EPP command.
• REGISTERED: The host object exists, and can be used in domain names in order to refer to the domain name’s nameserver.

Internal hosts additionally follow the states of their respective superordinate domain as follows (Status values in the list below refer to the status of that domain):

• REGISTERED (PENDING TRANSFER): The host object will be transferred together with the superordinate domain (in case the transfer is completed successfully).
• REDEMPTION: For the redemption period of the superordinate domain, the host object glue will continue to be included in the TLD, even if the superordinate domain is not included in the zone anymore.
• PENDING DELETE: The glue record will not be included in the DNS anymore. On final deletion of the host object, all references to this host object will be removed too.

More information regarding this process in order to avoid stale glue records is included in response to Question 28 (Abuse Prevention and Mitigation).

6 Grace Periods
The following grace periods are supported for domains:

• transfer grace period: the transfer grace period is currently 5 calendar days following a successfully completed domain transfer. If a domain is deleted in this timeframe, the sponsoring registrar is credited for the amount billed during the domain transfer. The transfer grace period is terminated when a restore, renew or subsequent domain transfer is performed.
• renew grace period: after each renew command, a 5 calendar day long renew grace period starts. When the domain is deleted in this timeframe, the registrar is credited for the corresponding fee and the domain enters REDEMPTION. A deletion, restoration or approved transfer of a domain immediately ends the renew grace period.
• auto-renew grace period: every auto-renew is followed by an auto-renew grace period (45 calendar days). If a domain is deleted or transferred within this period the fee for the renewal is refunded to the registrar. However, when a renew command is performed there is no grace period credit any more.

The registry system supports the following pending periods in which certain operations are not allowed:
• Redemption Grace Period: consisting of
** Redemption Period: Whilst in this 30 day period, a domain can be restored after a deletion action.
** Pending Restore: in order to successfully restore a domain in the redemption period, a restore report is required. This report has to be submitted within 7 days of this pending restore period. If no restore report is submitted, a new 30 day long redemption period begins.
** Pending Delete: If a domain is deleted and not restored, it is placed into the pending delete period following the redemption period. After 5 days in this period, the domain is finally available for re-registration.
• Pending Transfer Period: lasts for a maximum of 5 days after the initial transfer request command. The losing registrar has 5 days to approve or reject the request. The requestor may also cancel the transfer within this period. If no action is taken by the losing or gaining registrar, the registry auto-approves the transfer.
• Pending Create: The create domain command was received and the domain is going to be reviewed offline. The Registrar is notified about the outcome (either approved, then the domain enters the ‘REGISTERED’ sate or rejected, then the domains enters ‘PENDING DELETE’ state) by queuing a service message.

This registration lifecycle matches the business model of the proposed gTLD. The proposed registry software fully supports this lifecycle and the technical resources needed to run a registry based on the lifecycle as described are readily available.

7 Resourcing

Three staff members of TLD-Box (the Registry Back-End Operator of the proposed gTLD) are experts in domain name life cycle, and have designed life cycles for the “.at”, “.bh” TLD, as well as consulted some other TLDs on their domain life cycle.

All other technical staff members as well as support staff are trained on the operational aspects of the Domain Name Lifecycle.

There are only minor staff and⁄or infrastructure resources needed for the day to day operations in relation to the domain lifecycle itself (since once developed, the resources to run the lifecycle come from resources operating the EPP servers). In terms of ongoing maintenance, it is expected that about 5 person days per year are required in order to clarify details, corner cases and relations to other business processes of the registry. Those 5 person days are budgeted for in the general maintenance time & resource budget of the registry.

28. Abuse Prevention and Mitigation

1	Overview

Abusive activities during the operation of a gTLD registry system can be categorized as follows:

• Abusive registrations of names under a gTLD.
• Abusive use of a domain name under that TLD („Malicious Use“)
• Abuse of the registration processes, the technical interfaces, infrastructure of the Registry systems and the DNS network itself.

With respect to the first (and also parts of the second) category, ICANN’s “RAP” WG (Registration Abuse Policies Working Group) has produced an illustrative categorization of known abuses in their “Registration Abuse Policies Working Group Final Report” (http:⁄⁄gnso.icann.org⁄issues⁄rap⁄rap-wg-final-report-29may10-en.pdf, dated 29 May 2010). The anti-abuse measures of the proposed gTLD registry largely follow the RAPWG’s recommendations for the individual abuse scenarios. More details on the individual countermeasures are included below.

Furthermore, the proposed registry also takes into consideration the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee’s document “SAC 048” (“SSAC Comment on Orphan Glue Records in the Draft Applicant Guidebook”) as well as “SAC 023” (“Is the WHOIS Service a Source for email Addresses for Spammers?”).

2 General Provisions against Abuse under gTLD
2.1 Legal Safeguards

To meet the requirements of ICANN to a community-based designation of the application, the registrant must use the gTLD domain in connection to the .versicherung community.

This designation of gTLD to the gTLD Community will be enforced by specific language in the Registry-Registrar-Agreement that holds gTLD registrars responsible to include the restrictions as outlined above in respective agreements with their gTLD registrants.

The gTLD Registry will, from time to time in its sole discretion or upon evidence or advice manually conduct continuing or recurring audits of domain names registered to ensure continued compliance with these requirements. Failure to comply will result in a notice providing 20-days to comply. Non-compliance following such a notice period may result in take-down of the relevant domain name, at the discretion of the Registry.

2.2 WHOIS Accuracy Measures

In parallel to auditing domain names for compliance with the eligibility requirements as outlined in 2.1, any such domain names will simultaneously also be checked for the accuracy of their WHOIS data.

3 Abuse Contact and Abuse Handling Provisions
The .versicherung registry operator will establish and publish a single abuse point of contact on its website. This contact is responsible for addressing matters requiring expedited attention and for providing a timely response to abuse complaints concerning all names registered in the .versicherung, through all registrars of record, including those involving a reseller.

The contact information for the abuse contact will consist of:

• an email address
• a phone number
• the postal address of the abuse contact (offices of the registry operator)

Communication submitted to the abuse contact will be handled as follows:

• review inbound communication for new abuse requests and⁄or ongoing cases
• treat remaining communication such as spam or non-applicable requests (e.g. for domains in other TLDs) appropriately, e.g. by discarding or rejecting it
• identify registrar of respective domain
• provide a preliminary response to the request’s originator
• approach registrar of record with the abuse case
• track abuse handling measures of registrar
• respond to originator with the outcome

Confirming receipt of communication and forwarding third-party communication is regularly handled during business hours, but after 24 hours at the latest. The initial time frame for the registrar of record to complete its abuse handling measures is 72 hours. Exceptionally and only at a registrar’s request this can be extended by another 24 hours. Details will be specified in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

4 Potential Registration Abuse Categories and Countermeasures
As outlined above ICANN’s RAPWG has identified a number of potential abuse categories (see chapter 5 of their document). These correspond to the first bullet point of the potential abuses of a Registry as listed in section 1 above (“Abusive Registrations”). The proposed registry system addresses these individual categories as follows:

4.1 Cybersquatting
Abuses from cybersquatting cases in the proposed .versicherung will be addressed by using ICANN’s existing and well know Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (“UDRP”). However, registry staff will also closely follow developments regarding Rights Protection Mechanisms within ICANN and will investigate potential paths towards adoption of such processes once they are clearly defined for the .versicherung registry space.

4.2 Front-Running
Even though the RAPWG does not recommend any specific action regarding this issue, the proposed registry will a) treat all logfiles and any other information that reflects user interests in a particular domain name as confidential. Such data and log information will only be available to staff with actual operational requirements to access those files, and b) will include a respective provision in the gTLD’s registrar accreditation agreement.

4.3 Gripe Sites; Deceptive and Offensive Domain Names
In line with the RAP WG recommendation, the proposed .versicherung registry will not develop best practices to restrict the registration of offensive strings. Additionally, it is believed that the existing UDRP, in addition to court decisions (which the registry will obviously be bound by) provides sufficient, independent action against such potentially abusive names.

4.4 Fake Renewal Notices
The registry will not, in line with the RAPWG’s recommendations, implement any specific countermeasure within its registry systems and services. As the registry is required to provide accurate and complete WHOIS information for all domain names (which is believed to be the information source for such notices) it is not feasible to implement such measures at this level. It is understood that ICANN continually monitors this issue and will take necessary countermeasures against registrars associated with such practices.

The registry will, however, post warnings on their website about any clearly fraudulent (and clearly illegal) renewal and expiration notices of which its staff becomes aware and will take legal measures against registrars performing such illegal, fraudulent acts.

4.5 Name Spinning
This is considered to be a practice employed mainly by registrars in a legitimate way to offer users more choice and⁄or alternatives should their desired name already be taken. As such, it is believed that it is within the registrar’s responsibility to use those techniques in a considered manner. In reality it is not possible for the registry to differentiate between a legitimate domain name request, say one manually entered by a user, and a domain name request that was “spun” by the registrar.

In the event that such name spinning practices could lead to trademark infringements on a domain name, the UDRP allows for appropriate action to be taken against the holder of such a name.
This follows the RAPWG’s recommendation.

4.6 Pay-Per-Click
In agreement with the RAPWG’s position, this is considered to be an indirect and purely web related issue that does not have a direct relationship to the registration of domain names. In most cases, pay-per-click is a legitimate revenue source for domain name owners and web site operators. Any potential misuse of such practices must be out of scope for the Registry and again any trademark cases are expected to be brought using the UDRP.

4.7 Traffic Diversion
In accordance with the RAPWG’s position, this is again a web related issue and no specific countermeasures have been implemented within the registry’s operations.

4.8 Domain Kiting ⁄ Tasting
In order to prevent mass domain kiting ⁄ tasting (as it was observable in gTLD and ccTLD registries), the Registry will implement the “Add Grace Period Limits Policy” (http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄tlds⁄agp-policy-17dec08-en.htm), which efficiently removes the financial advantage of domain kiting ⁄ tasting and hence significantly reduces the volume of such registrations. All registrars will obviously be treated identically in this respect with no exemptions from that policy.

5 Abusive Use of a Domain Name
Corresponding to the second bullet in the list above (“Abusive Use”), the RAPWG has also provided an analysis in their Final Report. The Registry will apply a policy as outlined below:

5.1 Abuse Policy for .versicherung

The intention of the Abuse Policy of .versicherung is to take action against the use of a domain name in conjunction with illegal, malicious, fraudulent or otherwise harmful activities on the Internet. Such activities comprise:

• Spam: Spam is generally defined as bulk unsolicited e-mail, but can also occur in instant messaging or mobile environments. Spam may be sent from domains, and spam is used to advertise Web sites.
• Phishing: Phishing is a website fraudulently presenting itself as a trusted site – often as a bank website – in order to deceive Internet users into divulging sensitive information (e.g. online banking credentials, email passwords).
• Pharming: Pharming is a redirection of Internet users to fraudulent websites, predominantly achieved by techniques like DNS hijacking or poisoning.
• Deliberate distribution of Malware: Malware is a piece of software that without the users’ consent infiltrates their system to harm it or e.g. use it for bot net activities. Examples are viruses, worms, Trojans or key logger.
• Malicious Fast-Flux hosting: Malicious Fast-Flux hosting is a DNS-based component of bot net activities in particular, to e.g. disguise the location on the Internet of these activities and to harden them against discovery and defense.

Any incoming communication about a potential abuse will be handled according to section 3 of the response to this question. Experts at the Registry Operator will then asses whether there is indeed an abuse at hand in conjunction with a .versicherung domain name and of what kind it is. Subsequently the best method to tackle the issue will be derived from the initial assessment.

The main differences are a) whether the domain name has specifically been registered to commit the malicious activity or if this activity exploits a legitimate use of the domain name and its registrant is fully unaware of it, i.e. its website has been hacked – and b) whether there is a need for immediate action (domain is locked and removed from the delegation) or not (domain is locked only).

5.2 Handling of URS Requests

The registry Operator’s handling of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) requests is specified in detail in section 1.3 of the response to question #29.

6 Registry Interfaces Abuse
The registry will employ the following countermeasures to protect against abuses of the registry systems and the DNS network itself:

6.1 WHOIS data harvesting
WHOIS access is a critical and vital service provided by any gTLD registry and the Registry will obviously comply with ICANN’s requirements for WHOIS access.

However, as indicated in the SSAC’s document “Is the WHOIS Service a Source for email Addresses for Spammers?”, WHOIS abuse can be considered to be one of the primary means to generate email address lists for the purposes of sending unsolicited email, in particular the practice of mass harvesting information from the WHOIS. It is also believed that the WHOIS is the main source of data for generating fake renewal notices. To protect against harvesting of registration data (and particularly, email addresses), the registry will employ the following countermeasures:

• WHOIS query rate limits: All access to whois data will be query rate limited on a per-IP-address basis (for IPv4) and a per-prefix basis (for IPv6), with a daily limit of 25 WHOIS queries per IP address⁄prefix. Once this limit is reached, the WHOIS server responds with a relevant notification message instead of the standard WHOIS answer (The query limits may be reviewed and adapted by the Registry operator from time to time). IP-Ranges of accredited registrars (and other IP-ranges, eg. ICANN itself, UDRP and URS service providers etc) will be excluded from those rate limiting measures. This will allow legitimate usage of the service while at the same time make it very difficult to harvest data on a large scale.

• Email⁄Phone⁄Fax privacy: The EPP implementation of the “contact” object provides a mechanism that allows a registrar to define whether or not the “email”, “phone”, and “fax” fields of the contact object shall be publicly disclosed (i.e. “contact:disclose” element). The registry will set these fields to “do not disclose” by default, however, registrars can modify this setting via the normal EPP command stream. When a flag for a certain field is set to “do not disclose”, the respective field will be omitted from anonymous WHOIS outputs, providing a minimum level of privacy to registrants. To allow for various business processes, IP Ranges of accredited registrars (and other IP-ranges as needed, eg. ICANN itself, UDRP and URS service providers) will still need to see the full data set, including those fields marked as “do not disclose”.

• WHOIS monitoring: The WHOIS service will be monitored in order to identify unusual activity on the interface
The countermeasures above provide a well-balanced compromise between the requirements to provide access to WHOIS data and the basic data protection rights of registrants. More information about the WHOIS service provided by the registry is contained in response to Question 26.

6.2 EPP Interface Abuse
As described in the answers to the SRS, EPP and security questions (Question 24, 25 and 30, respectively), the EPP interfaces of the Registry are heavily firewalled, are only accessible from IP-ranges of accredited registrars and are protected by EPP authentication mechanisms. As such, abuse of those interfaces (such as DDoS, brute-force attacks against username⁄password combinations etc) can only be performed from networks of parties with which the Registry Operator has a legal agreement. Additionally, EPP interfaces are rate-limited at the network layer.

On top of the outlined technical means, usage figures beyond any regular and meaningful traffic patterns that are ongoing or recurring will be investigated by the Registry Operator. A lack of a decent explanation for such non-regular registrar behavior on the EPP interface might lead to sanctions such as service degradation, interruption or even termination to the extend possible it is provided for in the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

6.3 DNS Interface Abuse

Public nameservers, hidden masters and the signing infrastructure is configured and firewalled so that they allow NOTIFYs and UPDATEs from the required addresses only. In order to prevent zone walking and load peaks, zone transfers from the DNS infrastructure are disabled.

7 Management and removal of orphan glue records

It is understood, that inline with the SSAC’s comments in http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄committees⁄security⁄sac048.pdf, glue records have a vital function in the correct and normal operation of the DNS but that they can also be used for malicious purposes.

In order to prevent such malicious usage, the registry performs glue record management in accordance with the following policy:

• Provisioning of host objects with glue: In line with the EPP RFCs, glue record (“internal”) host objects can only be provisioned when the superordinate (parent) domain name exists in the registry. Host objects that are not under the TLD managed by the registry (“external hosts”) can never have A or AAAA records
• Deletion of domain with subordinate glue record hosts: When a domain name transitions from a “REGISTERED” to a “REDEMPTION” status (for example, via the EPP “delete domain” command, or via expiration), the domain name itself is removed from the DNS, however any glue records under the deleted domain are kept in the zone temporarily. Other registrars who are affected by a potential impact on DNS service due to the upcoming removal of the host from their domains are notified via the EPP message queue.
• Subsequently, when the domain name transitions from a “REDEMPTION” to a “PENDING DELETE” status, the glue records under the affected domain name are revoked from the DNS, but still exist in the SRS database.
• In the last step of the deletion process (transition from “PENDING DELETE” to “AVAILABLE”), the glue record host objects are deleted together with the domain and are also removed from any other domain name in the registry that still uses those hosts.
This policy effectively prevents misuse of orphan glue records in the registry since the status of a host object always follows the status of the superordinate domain. As a result glue records can never exist for domains that are not in the registry database. Additionally, keeping the glue records in the zone during the redemption period together with notification to Registrars significantly reduces the risk of other domains being impacted and reduces the effort required by a registrar in the event that the domain is subsequently restored.

However, in addition to this procedural policy outlined above, the registry operator will also act on documented evidence that glue records are present and used in connection with malicious activity by subsequently removing such glue records manually.

8 Ressourcing Plan

The Registry operator expects a domain name volume in the first three years of operations of .versicherung as listed in response #46. It will plan staffing needs based on these figures and install abuse response functions which will likely consist of internal and outsourced staff. The planned functions for .versicherung are based on nic.at’s experience with the management of abuse complaints. The abuse response staff will be able to swiftly investigate abuse complaints and to react accordingly.

8.1 CERT.at is a department of the backend provider

It is important to note that the Austrian CERT (Computer Security Emergency Response Team, see http:⁄⁄www.cert.at⁄), staffed with 5 full-time-equivalents is a department within nic.at and shares offices with the registry operations team. Hence, world class security and anti-abuse expertise is committed to be available literally „next door“ to the registry operations centre.

29. Rights Protection Mechanisms

1	Overview

As required by specification 7 of the new gTLD Agreement, the Registry Operator will implement and strictly adhere to any rights protection mechanisms („RPMs“) that are mandated by ICANN. All mandated and independently developed RPMs will be included in the Registry-Registrar Agreement for .versicherung. The Registry Operator will implement all required RPMs described in the Trademark Clearinghouse („TMCH“) function (once adopted by ICANN) and understands that ICANN may revise such requirements from time to time.
But as the detailed implementation of the TMCH function is still unspecified to a greater extent, the Registry Operator is only able to outline its intentions for the Sunrise phase for the .versicherung Community. Implementation details, e.g. as to what extent it possibly could be intertwined with the TMCH Sunrise phase instead of being held separately afterwards, need to be developed and if necessary adjusted as the circumstances with the TMCH functions proceed.
The Registry Operator will not mandate that owners of applicable intellectual property rights have to use any other trademark information aggregation, notification or validation service in addition to or instead of the ICANN-designated TMCH.
The Registry Operator will comply with PDDRP, RRDRP and URS procedures, and will implement and adhere to the remedies ICANN imposes via those processes.
The Registry Operator will also take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to any reports from law enforcement, governmental and quasi-governmental agencies of illegal conduct under the TLD, and understands that the Registry Operator will not be required to take any action that contradicts applicable law.
Details about the implementation of the various rights protection mechanisms are included below.

1.1 Safeguard Against Violation of the TLDs Eligibility Restrictions

To meet the requirements of ICANN to a community-based designation of the application, the registrant must use the .versicherung domain in connection to the Insurance community.
Restrictions may include, but are not limited to a requirement that each registered domain name is also being used beyond pure DNS resolution itself.
The .versicherung Registry will, from time to time, in its sole discretion or upon evidence or advice conduct continuing or recurring manual audits of domain names registered to ensure continued compliance with these requirements. Failure to comply will result in a notice providing 20-days to comply. Non-compliance following such a notice period may result in take-down of the relevant domain name, at the discretion of the Registry.
The Registry is entitled to lock, cancel, initiate the gTLD-deletion cycle or transfer domain names that do not meet the registration criteria. It will set up a process for any questions and challenges that may arise from registrations. Complainants will be provided a single point of contact via the Registry’s website to submit any questions and complaints regarding alleged abuse. The Registry also follows the standard dispute policies as defined in Q 28 and Q 39.

In detail the following measures will be carried out by the Registry to enforce the policies:
- Policies against domain name abuse and an Eligibility Requirements Dispute Resolution Policy (ERDRP)
- Dispute Policy based on local law
- Anti-Abuse Policies
By these policies the Registry is allowed to block, delete or transfer domain names.

1.2 UDRP Support

It is understood that ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) is largely concerned with registrars. Hence, the Registry Operator does not need to implement any specific process in order to support the UDRP specifically. However, the Registry Operator will support registrars in UDRP cases involving domain names under the TLD and will cooperate with approved Dispute Resolution Service Providers in order to assist in their work.

1.3 URS Support

The Registry Operator will comply with ICANN’s requirements regarding the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process and understands that the following services are required (and will be provided) during the operation of .versicherung:
• Contact information: the Registry Operator will provide email and other contact information to accredited URS-DRPs (Dispute Resolution Provider) so that notices and other communication regarding URS cases can be communicated efficiently.
• Notice and locking of a domain: Upon receipt of a respective Notice from an accredited URS provider, the Registry Operator will “lock” the affected domain name within 24 hours by means of putting it into the LOCKED status. This means that modifications (including transfers) on the domain name and registration data will be rejected but the name will still resolve in the DNS. The Registry Operator will immediately notify the URS-DRP upon locking the domain.
• Remedies: In order for the URS-DRP to implement the Remedy, the Registry Operator will subsequently modify the registration (for example, by changing nameservers to the URS-DRP’s own hosts) or remove the LOCKED status on the domain or implement other such measures as instructed by the URS-DRP.
• Extend Registration: the Registry Operator will support successful Complainants if they wish to extend the registration period for one year at commercial rates.

The Registry Operator wishes to note that authentication of URS-DRP is a critical issue since Notices and other instructions may be sent via email to the Registry Operator and email itself does not provide any means of authentication. Hence, additional measures such as cryptographically signing such emails will be deemed necessary in order to identify a Notice as authentic and subsequently authorize requests to the Registry Operator.


The Registry Operator agrees to participate in the procedures required by the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) and be bound to all determinations that are the result of said procedures. The process implemented by the Registry Operator for actual complaints will be as follows:

• Once a Complaint is received electronically or in paper notice form from the Provider, the Registry Operator will verify the content requirements of the Complaint, according to section 7.2 of the current PDDRP specification (dated Sep 19 2011). The Complaint will be reviewed by legal staff of the Registry Operator.
• The Registry Operator will notify the Provider about the receipt of a complaint.
• If deemed necessary, the Registry Operator will submit papers within 10 days of receipt of the Complaint.
• Registry Operator will subsequently follow the process regarding implementation of the remedies, as described in the PDDRP specification.


The Registry Operator agrees to participate in the procedures required by the Registration Restriction Dispute Resolution Policy (RRDRP) and be bound to the determinations that are the result of said procedures, in accordance to Section 2a of Specification 7 of the New gTLD Agreement. The actual administrative steps for handling Complaints based on the RRDRP will be identical, process-wise, to the PDDRP process described above.

1.6 Trademark Claims (Clearinghouse)

It is understood that – according to the Trademark Clearinghouse („TMCH“) definition dated Jan 12 2012 – ICANN is going to define a TMCH provider who will in turn supply two primary functions (see Section 1.2 of the document), of which function (ii) (“serving as a database to provide information to new gTLDs”) will be directly relevant to the operation of this TLD.
It is also understood that ICANN’s work towards the establishment of such a TMCH is still in progress. Therefore, it is not yet possible to describe the actual process and technical interfaces by which the Registry will support the TMCH requirements.
The Registry Operator will, however, implement any reasonable measures and processes that are required by the TMCH function.

1.7 Sunrise Services

Registration of the .versicherung Sunrise is defined accordingly:
As part of its intended service for the Community of .versicherung, the Registry Operator intends to implement a Sunrise period, where applicants will be validated using the Trademark Clearinghouse services. Eligible are all registrants who meet the eligibility criteria of .versicherung described in Question 20 and whose trademarks were validated by the Trademark Clearinghouse. The Sunrise period has a 30-days duration; allocation follows the first-come, first-served principle.
The current draft Sunrise Policy will be completed and ⁄ or in parts be replaced by the mandatory rules of the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse as soon as they become available.

1.7.1 - Timing of the phased registration

D -180 - information on the registration phase
3-6 months before the expected approval of the .versicherung, the Registry informs the public, administration, media and associations and chambers of the planned Sunrise and other procurement phases.
D0 - Approval of the .versicherung top-level domain by ICANN
D30 to D60 - Implementation of the Trademark Clearinghouse Sunrise period
During a period of 30 days, the Registry will receive requests for domain registrations via ICANN accredited registrars and conduct a review of the applications received.
D 90 - Start of the general registration period (Landrush)

1.7.2 Requirements and Restrictions

Those wishing to register their marks in the .versicherung domain during the TMCH Sunrise Phase must own a current trademark or service mark listed in the TMCH. Eligible are all registrants who meet the eligibility criteria of .versicherung described in Question 20.
Notice will be provided to all trademark holders in the TMCH if someone is seeking a Sunrise registration. This notice will be provided to holders of marks in the TMCH that are an Identical Match (as defined in the TMCH) to the name to be registered during Sunrise.
Sunrise registration will require a minimum term of one year.
An application is only considered complete when the applicant provides the Registry, via a registrar, with at least the following information:
a) the full name of the applicant; where no name of a company or organisation is specified, the individual requesting registration of the domain name is considered the Applicant; if the name of the company or the organisation is specified, then the company or organisation is considered the applicant;
- Address and country of the registered office, central administration or principal place of business of the applicants organization, or
b) the full name, address, and the land of an administrative contact person (natural person);
c) the e-mail addresses of the applicant or his representative and the administrative contact;
d) telephone and fax number by which the applicant or his representative and the administrative contact can be reached;
e) the requested domain;
f) the complete name for which a Prior Right is claimed;
g) the type of Prior Right claimed by the applicant;
h) the country in which the Prior Right claimed is protected.
The information referred to (f) and (h) above is deemed to constitute the legal basis in national or Community law for the claimed Prior Right to the name.
The Domain Name applied must consist of the complete name for which a Prior Right is claimed.
The Registry is entitled to exchange the above information with the Validation Agent(s) (including their agents and subcontractors) in order to effect validation of the rights claimed.

1.8 Other Reports

The following will be memorialized and be made binding via the Registry-Registrar and Registrar-Registrant Agreements:
- The registry may reject a registration request or a reservation request, or may delete, revoke, suspend, cancel, or transfer a registration or reservation under the following criteria:
a. to enforce registry policies and ICANN requirements; each as amended from time to time;
b. that is not accompanied by complete and accurate information as required by ICANN requirements and⁄or registry policies or where required information is not updated and⁄or corrected as required by ICANN requirements and⁄or registry policies;
c. to protect the integrity and stability of the registry, its operations, and the TLD system;
d. to comply with any applicable law, regulation, holding, order, or decision issued by a court, administrative authority, or dispute resolution service provider with jurisdiction over the registry;
e. to establish, assert, or defend the legal rights of the registry or a third party or to avoid any civil or criminal liability on the part of the registry and⁄or its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, representatives, employees, contractors, and stockholders;
f. to correct mistakes made by the registry or any accredited registrar in connection with a registration; or
g. as otherwise provided in the Registry-Registrar Agreement and⁄or the Registrar-Registrant Agreement.

1.9 Dispute-related Technical Functionality in the Registry System

In order to handle any disputes concerning a domain in the .versicherung zone according to the RPMs defined, the Registry Administration Panel (a web-based interface to the SRS to query and manipulate registry data) includes functionality to manually put domains into the “LOCKED” status (see Answer to question 27 – Registration Lifecycle). The dispute related functions are based on more than 12 years of experience in managing disputes under the “.at” TLD and provide the following functionality:
• Search for domain names and display WHOIS as well as registrar data
• For each domain, the following tasks can be performed:
** Delete the domain immediately (domain immediately enters PENDING DELETE state and thus cannot be restored by a registrar)
** Put the domain into the LOCKED state (which prevents modifications and transfers on the domain name, and also prohibits modifications on the associated registrant contact)
** Add the “serverHold” status to domain names under LOCKED (so that the name is excluded from the DNS, and hence technically disabled)
** Remove the “serverHold” status from a LOCKED domain
** Put domain names in LOCKED state back to their previous state (most commonly, REGISTERED).
** For each action, the system allows users to select one of several “reasons” to be recorded with the action.
** An additional free-form text box allows users to record additional information, such as pointers to external documents, or case numbers.
• List all domain names in LOCKED status
• Display data, reasons, and additional information of domains in LOCKED state
• Display historical data about such cases

1.10 Resourcing Plan for Implementation and Ongoing Maintainance

Basic functionality regarding rights protections mechanisms (domain locking, tracking of requests) is already implemented in the registry core system, hence no further resources are needed for this initial implementation.
However, it is understood that resources are necessary to implement further measures that require technical interaction with the registry system, as soon as they are clearly defined (especially the TMCH process and sunrise). The implementation effort cannot be foreseen at the time of writing, hence the concrete resourcing plan for the technical part of the implementation and ongoing maintenance cannot be provided. However, the Registry Operator is aware of the fact that during landrush and sunrise more resources will be allocated to handle the increased load on the day to day operations as well performing necessary changes on the system after completion of sunrise and landrush if instructed by ICANN rules to do so.
Still, the Registry Operator will implement any reasonable measures and processes that are required by ICANN in respect to rights protection and resources will be allocated accordingly to have the functionality available for the operation of the registry.

30(a). Security Policy: Summary of the security policy for the proposed registry

Registry Policy Framework

The Information Security Management System was developed in accordance with the international standard ISO 27001 and the registry backend operator is currently on the ISO 27001 certification path for the Information Security Management System (ISMS) to be completed before launching the registry. For the secondary datacenter in Salzburg the certification will be completed in 2012 and the primary datacenter in Vienna is already certified – please find ISO 27001 certification document in attachment 30a-06.

Registry Back-end Operator Security Organization

The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is defined in the organization operating the registry back-end, and is staffed with an FTE. This person is responsible for the setup, operation and continuous improvement of the Information Security Management System and Business Continuity Management System.

In the organization chart the CISO is located directly below senior management. This role is independent of operational management and directly reports to the upper management of the registry backend operator who in turn reports to the registry operator’s management. The CISO advises the management on all security related issues.

Information Security Management System (ISMS):

The ISO 27001 based ISMS supports and facilitates management in achieving the goals defined in the Corporate Security Policy and Security Standard. The ISMS as shown in diagram Q30a-1 provides the Deming - cycle (plan-do-check-act) in security concerns as referred to in ISO 27001.

The Security Policy Framework and Security Standard have a review cycle of a maximum of 1 year. The CISO is responsible for adhering to this review cycle.

Business Continuity Management System (BCMS)

Please find further details on BCMS in response to question 39.

1 Corporate Security Policy

The Corporate Security Policy is understood as the commitment by upper management to support and maintain information and IT security.

The main items are:

• The overall goal of these activities is to prevent security incidents and to minimize their impact.
• Prevention before damage reduction; personal responsibility and awareness before surveillance of employees.
• Information security and IT security are important quality metrics for the registry.
• Information security and IT security are core competences of the registry.
• Safeguarding the integrity and availability of the gTLDs Domain Name System
• In the event of a Security incident to minimize any potential damage.

2 Corporate Security Standard

The Corporate Security Standard, based on ISO 27001, defines the areas of responsibility for information – and IT security:

• IT Risk Management
• Continuous Improvement Process
• Audit Management
• IT Asset Management
• Information Classification and Processing
• IT Change Management
• Identity and Access Management
• Personal Management
• Security Incident Management
• IT Project Management
• IT Patch and Update Management
• Backup and Recovery
• Logging and Monitoring
• Spam and Antivirus
• Mobile Devices
• Media Disposal
• Network Security
• Physical Security
• External Suppliers

These areas will be discussed in more detail in the following sections.

2.1 IT Risk Management

Diagram Q30a-2 describes the risk management process in use at the registry.

The evaluation of risks is performed according to 4 different category types:

• Finance: assesses any potential financial impact on the registry.
• Operating Tasks: assesses the influence on the main business processes or tasks of the registry.
• Corporate Image: assesses the effects of reputational damage or loss of trust in the registry.
• Compliance: assesses impact of contractual or legal damages.

The risks are evaluated and categorized into the following severity levels:

• Critical
• High
• Medium
• Low

The risks are further measured by their estimated frequency of occurrence:

• Very high probability: 1 per month or more frequently
• High probability: 1 per year
• Possible: every 10 years
• Highly unlikely: every 100 years
• Impossible: risk is not relevant (for example avalanches in Vienna)

The risk assessment is performed using the Delphi technique and involves management, the CISO and the head of IT. Within each category the worst cases are rated as the most important ones.

Aspects of risk management are also used for the vulnerability management.

Domain Name
6 Organization of information security
6.1 Internal organization
6.2 External parties
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.6 Technical vulnerability management

2.2 Continuous Improvement Process

The continuous improvement process is risk-management oriented, and shown in Figure Q30a - 3: Continuous Improvement process.

Regular organizational meetings are set up to trigger the process:

• IT security update:
** Participants: Head of IT, CISO
** Topics: Operational tasks
** Frequency: At least every 2 weeks
• Security jour fixe:
** Participants: CTO, CISO, optional head of IT
** Topics: Planning, monitoring of projects, tasks, countermeasures
** Frequency: At least every month
• Management security jour fixe:
** Participants: CEO, CTO, CISO, optional head of IT
** Topics: Risk management, large scale management decisions

The management review has to take place at least once per year or as needed in the event that a potential risk arises.

2.3 Audit Management

The planning of all audit work including technical audits such as penetration tests and vulnerability scans is managed by the CISO.

Different kinds of technical security audits are accomplished:

• Regular basis
** Vulnerability scans on systems at operating system level to identify problems in patch management or configuration processes
** Penetration tests are executed by third party security consultants to identify design issues, organizational deficits or other security issues. The focus of the penetration tests is varied every year.
** Web vulnerability scans (OWASP Top 10) are performed against all internal and external websites
• Prior to the launch of a new system:
** Penetration testing of all business critical system elements
** Vulnerability scans on the system at an operating system level
** Web vulnerability scan (if the system is web-based)

Domain Name
6 Organization of information security
6.1 Internal organization
6.2 External parties
15 Compliance
15.1 Compliance with legal requirements
15.2 Compliance with security policies and standards, and technical compliance
15.3 Information systems audit considerations

2.4 IT Asset Management

All assets and their lifecycles are fully documented. Assets are categorized as follows:

• Physical assets
• Software assets
• Information assets

Domain Name
7 Asset Management
7.1 Responsibility for assets
7.2 Information classification
8 Human resource security
8.3 Termination or change of employment

2.5 Information Classification

All information is classified into the following categories:

• Public: For example data on public websites
• Internal: For example general company information
• Confidential: For example annual business reports before publication
• Highly confidential: For example person specific data, penetration testing reports

The data classification policy defines how to store, transmit and share these different kinds of information.

Domain Name
7 Asset management
7.1 Responsibility of assets
7.2 Information classification
10 Communications and operations management
10.7 Media handling
10.8 Exchange of information
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.3 Cryptographic controls
15 Compliance
15.1 Compliance with legal requirements

2.6 IT Change Management

IT change management ensures that all modifications to IT systems can be reproduced, fulfill the organizational needs and are documented. Changes are categorized into following groups:

• Changes without approval
** Below low risk
** Implemented within 1 week
• Standard change
** Low risk
** Implemented within 1 month
• Emergency change
** If availability of a service is dependent on a specific change
** Has to be done as soon as possible
** Can’t be scheduled any more
** Escalation to management is required

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.1 Operational procedures and responsibilities
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.6 Security in development and support processes

2.7 Identity and Access Management

All user rights are based on the “least privilege” and “need to know” principle. Roles are used to group the relevant user permissions where appropriate.

User accounts are personal accounts meaning that they identify one specific person. Group or role accounts are non-standard and have to be approved in writing by the CISO.

Administrative accounts have to be approved by the head of IT in writing. There are stronger policies, for example password policies.

External accounts (for third parties) also need written approval by the CISO. These types of accounts are deactivated after 30 days.

External administrative accounts need written approval by the head of IT and the CISO. Such accounts are subject to increased monitoring and logging. These types of accounts are also deactivated after 30 days by default.

If an employee leaves the company, his⁄her account is deactivated immediately.

Inactive accounts are deleted after 60 days.

At least once a year there is a review of the accounts structure and user rights permissions performed by analyzing a sample of accounts.

Domain Name
11 Access controls
11.1 Business requirement for access control
11.2 User access management
11.3 User responsibility
11.5 Operating system access control
11.6 Application and information access control

2.8 Personnel Management

Checklists exist for employee entry and exit activities. Every new employee is added to these lists and registered. All new employees have to prove that they have not been previously prosecuted and do not have a criminal record which means that there are no relevant records in the police records (Strafregisterauszug). Every employee must attend a security awareness course.

Background checks for security personnel

All Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) members and the CISO are background security checked by the Federal Ministry of Interior (§55 Sicherheitspolizeigesetz).

Domain Name
8 Human resource security
8.1 Prior to employment
8.2 During employment
8.3 Termination or change of employment

2.9 Security Incident Management

A sister company of the registry backend operator also operates a CERT. This team consists of one Junior Security Analyst and a minimum of five Senior Security Analysts with at least 5 years and up to 15 years of experience in IT Security.

This team also operates the national CERT for the Republic of Austria (CERT.at) and together with the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria, the Austrian Government CERT (GovCERT Austria). It is internationally accredited as a Forum of Incident Response Member (FIRST) and a Trusted Introducer. By achieving these memberships the registry has built an excellent formal and informal information network. As a result the registry is well prepared for the prevention of and response to security incidents.

Figure Q30a – 4 the Security Incident Management Process is described.

Classification for the triage of security incidents


• Immediate: Reaction within 1h, invoke crisis organization if necessary
• Soon: Reaction within 8h or on the next business day
• Normal: Equivalent to a systems change, defined by change management procedures


• Critical
• High
• Middle
• Low

Domain Name
13 Information security incident management
13.1 Reporting information security events and weaknesses
13.2 Management of information security incidents and improvements

2.10 IT Project Management

A specific project management methodology has been defined.

Domain Name
6 Organization of information security
6.2 Internal organization
10 Communications and operations management
10.1 Operational procedures and responsibilities
10.3 System planning and acceptance
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.1 Security requirements of information systems
12.5 Security in development and support processes

2.11 IT Patch and Update Management

A formal vulnerability and patch management process has been defined (shown in Figure Q30a - 5: Vulnerability Management).

Patches are classified as:

• Critical (remediation within hours)
• Non critical (remediation by the next patch day)

All patches are fully tested prior to being deployed.

The effectiveness of the patching process is audited by vulnerability scans and by matching the actual software inventory with vulnerability databases.

Reports are discussed on a regular basis by management in order to guarantee continuous improvement.

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.1 Operational procedures and responsibilities
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.5 Security in development and support processes
12.6 Technical Vulnerability Management

2.12 Backup and Recovery

A full backup and recovery framework is in place. For details see the answer to question 37.

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.5 Back Up
15 Compliance
15.1 Compliance with legal requirements

2.13 Logging and Monitoring

A logging and monitoring solution is in operation to identify malicious activities and unauthorized access. All authorized access is also logged.

All servers and systems are time synced using the Network Time Protocol (NTP).

The level of detail of logging:

• Varies with expected risks
• Requirements of business processes
• Requirements of data integrity and confidentiality

Minimum details are

• User ID
• Date and time
• Type of access
• Software
• Non authorized access
** Not working action
• Administrator actions
** System start and stop
** Change of system configuration
** Activation and de-activation of security components
• Security components alarms
• Error protocol
• Security protocol, for example antivirus software

All relevant systems of the gTLD registry are controlled by a host-based intrusion detections system (HIDS). All events are logged on a central device.

The HIDS allows to:

• Check of host integrity.
• Check of file integrity.
• Port monitoring
• Programs using specific ports
• Process checks
• Login⁄logoff

The HIDS and the other log sources are integrated into a central monitoring tool. This tool can trigger certain events.

Analysis of logging and monitoring information is performed continuously to detect security incidents and performed as needed in the event of a security incident.

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.2 Third party service delivery management
10.10 Monitoring
15 Compliance
15.1 Compliance with legal requirements

2.14 Spam and Antivirus

All office systems are protected by antimalware software. Servers are checked on a regular basis, if real time protection is not possible.

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.4 Protection against malicious and mobile code
10.6 Network security management
13 Information security incident management
13.1 Reporting information security events and weaknesses

2.15 Mobile Devices

All smartphones and mobile devices (for example notebooks) must use full hard disk encryption if technically possible. If possible it should be combined with remote wipe functionality.

The actual standard for smartphones are to use Blackberry devices with a corporate policy.

Every loss of a device has to be reported to the IT department as soon as possible.

Domain Name
7 Asset management
7.1 Responsibility for assets
11 Access control
11.7 Mobile computing and teleworking

2.16 Media Disposal

Information in paper form must be shredded if it is classified as confidential or higher.

Hard disk drives (HDD) and other storage media are deleted or destroyed in conformance with policy requirements.

For example:

• Overwrite HDDs multiple times with random data
• Shredder CDs

Media disposal policies apply to all relevant devices, e.g. also HDDs in printer or other media devices.

Domain Name
9 Physical and environmental security
9.2 Equipment security
10 Communications and operations management
10.7 Media handling

2.17 Network Security

The aspects of integrity, confidentiality and availability are considered as essential aspects in our network design.

Integrity, confidentiality:

• Encryption on network layers between:
** Data centers
** Offices and data centers


• Redundant physical paths via multiple carriers

Access to the network itself is restricted by means of security zone definitions, for example no direct connection is available to the corporate network from visitor meeting rooms etc.

All controls are audited on a regular basis, for example by penetration tests.

Domain Name
10 Communications and operations management
10.6 Network security management
11 Access control
11.4 Network Access Control
12 Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
12.3 Cryptographic controls

2.18 Physical Security

The physical security risks are again evaluated on an annual basis.

The gTLD systems themselves are operated in two different data centers with state-of the art security provisions in place, e.g. heavily restricted access to data center and locked racks.

For details see answer to question 39.

Domain Name
9 Physical and environmental security
9.1 Secure areas
9.2 Equipment security

2.19 External Suppliers

For external suppliers either the same restrictions as those for internal personnel or further restrictions are applied.

Domain Name
6 Organization of information security
6.2 External parties
10 Communications and operations management
10.2 Third party service delivery management

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