In a recently published report, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) indicated that the global sum of DNS abuse dropped in "absolute terms and normalized rates" over the last four years, from October 2017 to January 2022. Globally, in January 2022, less than one percent of domain names were reported to pose potential threats to users.
ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a non-profit public benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.
ICANN's Office of the Chief Technology Officer provides subject-matter expertise and has developed special projects such as the Domain Name Security Threat Information Collection and Reporting (DNSTICR) and the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting System (DAAR) to monitor and report potential security threat domains. DAAR produces monthly reports that demonstrate concentrations of security threat domain names via visuals and aggregated statistics.
ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby commenting on the recent publication of the report, stated, "Part of our responsibility as a neutral technical operator of the Internet is to actively share facts and data so that policymakers can make informed policy decisions. These efforts are in line with our commitment to ensure that the Internet is safe, stable and resilient." He added that, "This is the only report of its kind to measure data over a four-year period. Most reports track rates of DNS abuse over several months. However, despite the downward trend depicted in the report, there is still much to do. The threats against Internet users are real and changing fast."
ICANN defines DNS abuse in five broad categories of harmful activity: botnets, malware, pharming, phishing, and spam (as it is used to propagate other DNS security threats). ICANN's Bylaws and mission do not permit ICANN to regulate the content of websites.
The report is the latest result of ICANN's broad-ranging efforts to assess, monitor and mitigate DNS security threats. For instance, ICANN's Contractual Compliance team enforces the contractual obligations set forth in ICANN's policies and agreements and publishes notices of breach, suspension, termination and non-renewal in relation to the registrar's compliance with DNS abuse obligations. They also regularly audit how registrars, the entities that offer domain name registration services, and registries, the entities that manage registrations in their top-level domains, are fulfilling their contractual obligations related to DNS abuse.
To learn more about DNS abuse and what ICANN is doing to help understand and mitigate it, visit the program webpage at icann.org.