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NCC Group's new '.trust' domain promises Internet security overhaul

John E Dunn | June 25, 2014
With a flood of new general top-level domains (gTLDs) reaching Internet users in 2014, security UK firm NCC Group and a clutch of large Internet brands have announced a new secure domain they hope will turn out to be the most significant of them all.

"We thought it was a good opportunity to start afresh," said Vlissidis of ICANN's gTLD roll-out.

The advantage of .trust was not only that it would help gain consumer confidence but could also be used to secure supply chains, cutting the incidence of phishing that continues to plague the Internet.

He mentions DMARC as one industry standard that will be an essential component of .trust when it comes to securing email from spoofing and arguably it is the anti-phishing rather than web security that could be its most interesting contribution. This does require that the downstream email providers are onboard but all the large ones already use it.

The one missing part of the .trust story is why with so many large enterprises involved - about 50 according to Vlissidis - only NCC Group is actually making any noise about it. This could be down to politics or simply because NCC Group is the firm that has made the considerable investment needed to buy the .trust gTLD itself.

Techworld understands that a range of large firms were involved with .trust's development from banks and ISPs to well-known e-commerce sites.

The idea of a secure domain space isn't new. A couple of years back, UK Internet registry Nominet pushed the idea of .uk as a securable space for British business. That imposed checks on firms and individuals registering local domains to stop the widespread abuse that had resulted from the free-for-all. The idea ended up being delayed.

It has never been clear how much more secure .uk is compared to the alternatives but Nominet recently removed domain anonymity from sites registered using the suffix.

Interested organisations should contact NCC Group from now onwards but expect a one-month assessment period before they are admitted to the .trust circle of trust. The .trust domain should, ICANN willing, go live on the Internet in October.


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