David Goldstein - Working to Make New Zealand's Domain Names Safer


    Domain name security is a never-ending battle. In fact, security for anything that’s connected to the internet in any way is a never-ending battle. So to help with New Zealand’s security, that is domain name security, a new collaboration between their Domain Name Commissioner and CERT NZ has been announced. Under the collaboration, they will share some domain registration information to help enhance New Zealand’s cyber security.

    “We and InternetNZ are the stewards of the .nz domain space. We’re conscious of the role we play to help keep New Zealanders and their domains safe,” says Brent Carey, Domain Name Commissioner. “We’re pleased to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CERT NZ, who will use their access to international cyber threat and vulnerability information together with withheld domain name registration information to alert domain owners in the .nz space to cyber security issues.”

    CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team, in New Zealand is a government agency that works with businesses, organisations and individuals who are affected (or may be affected) by cyber security incidents by providing trusted and authoritative information and advice, while also collating a profile of the threat landscape in New Zealand. They also receive cyber incident reports and track cyber security incidents or attacks. Their collaborators are the Domain Name Commission, who was appointed by InternetNZ to develop and monitor a competitive registrar market, as well as create a fair environment for the registration and management of .nz domain names.

    The MoU sets out how CERT NZ will be able to access withheld domain name registration information from the Domain Name Commission when cyber security threats are identified.

    “Where individuals have validly chosen our privacy option, it’s paramount we protect their privacy. Security of our domain name space critical infrastructure is equally as important. Putting this agreement in place means that we can protect that privacy while also giving CERT NZ access to some information that they need to help keep New Zealand safe,” said Carey.

    “As part of the newly signed agreement, the Domain Name Commission will share regular transparency reporting which will include high-level information on the withheld data accessed by CERT NZ. “Cyber security has to be a team sport,” said Rob Pope, Director, CERT NZ. “CERT NZ works alongside partners both in New Zealand and globally to help keep Kiwis safe online.”

    “We use our privileged access to information, such as the information we’ll be able to access under this new Memorandum of Understanding to help keep New Zealanders safe online,” says Mr Pope. “When we’re alerted to issues that may affect New Zealand domain owners, this agreement means we can access the right information at the right time.”