Keeping .nz safe and secure

A blog post by Jordan Carter, Chief Executive, InternetNZ and Chair, Domain Name Commission 

Monday 24 February

In our first blog of 2020 we shared our predictions for the Internet this year with one common theme coming through loud and clearonline security. It’s an important topic on the agendas and minds of many organisations, including ours.

InternetNZ and the Domain Name Commission have an important role to play in keeping the .nz domain safe and secure. We know from our 2018 research that .nz is perceived by Internet users in New Zealand as the most trustworthy and secure web address. But when it comes to security, we can’t be complacent. It’s important we keep exploring ways to improve our security measures so .nz users can have peace of mind. 

In the past year, we’ve taken an active approach to identify and shut down fake webshops so Kiwi shoppers can be more confident in the online stores they’re buying from. Our research team developed a predictive model that finds and classifies fake .nz webshops, and after validating the registration data, the Domain Name Commission shuts them down.

From mid-2019, 710 fake webshops have been identified with 99% of these domain names being cancelled.

We’ve also spent time educating New Zealanders on how to spot a fake webshop through the Christmas shop safe campaign which shows consumers key things to look for before making an online purchase. 

This year we are committed to conducting a full assessment of the state of security of the .nz domain name space. This will develop a stronger understanding of the risks .nz faces and assess our readiness to respond to each of them. Not just our readiness, but that of registrars and all the other players in .nz. 

Once we have identified the most pertinent risks, we will develop a plan to make sure that security recommendations and updates happen across the .nz ecosystem.

We’re investing in security through this workand that means people joining our team to lead the work. Sam Sargeant joined as our first ever Chief Security Officer last year, and he is building his team. The DNS and .nz are vital infrastructure for New Zealand, and improving the security of the system overall is an investment we are proud to be making.

2020 is going to be a big one in the .nz safety and security space. Rest assured our team is always finding better ways to protect our registry, you, and your visitors.