On August 14, over 50 representatives of internet organizations met at the headquarters of DENIC, the German top-level domain registry, to attend the first ID4me summit. ID4me is the current name of the project, which was started last year under the name DomainID — I mentioned it briefly in my presentation at our last year’s conference IT 17.2. It was initiated by the .DE domain administrator, together with the major German registrar 1&1, and Open-Xchange, the operator of online collaboration tools. However, there are many other companies that are willing to support it, including the UK domain registry Nominet. The goals set by the project are quite familiar to us — reducing the number of passwords and registrations that people need while using the Internet. Like CZ.NIC with its mojeID project, the authors of ID4me have come to the conclusion that the domain world is just the place for an attempt to achieve these goals.
The history of introducing the DNSSEC technology in the CZ domain goes back more than a decade, and there have been several important changes during its course. For example, let’s look at the year 2010, which was literally packed with events related to the introduction of DNSSEC. First of all, the root zone was signed in July and right afterwards, the first KSK rotation with the change of algorithm among the top-level domains took place in the CZ domain in August. After eight years, we are going to repeat this “combo”, only in reverse order. There is a delayed first rotation of the root zone KSK (without altering the algorithm) scheduled in October. And in June we will perform the already announced KSK key rotation in the CZ domain, again with the change of the algorithm. This time, however, we will use the ECDSA algorithm based on elliptic curves — as the first top-level domain administrator.
Last year, our open source FRED registration system experienced a success in Togo, Argentina and Malawi. In particular, Argentina, as the eighth largest country of the world, made us very happy. Argentina is now the largest domain register that uses FRED apart from us. Since we have information from countries that have been testing our system for a long time, we were quite surprised to hear from Macau at the beginning of this year that they managed to complete the installation and transition and are planning to run production soon. The .MO domain registry is the first Asian destination of our product. Shortly thereafter, we learned of another registry in Africa that managed the transition to FRED. It is a small land of Lesotho using the .LS domain. Let’s look at these new additions to the FRED user community in more detail.
It has been almost half a year since we presented the intention to change the DNSSEC algorithm for .cz zone DNSSEC key at our IT 16.2 conference. In his presentation, our colleague Zdeněk Brůna described in detail the advantages of algorithms based on elliptic curves, especially the ECDSA algorithm. However, due to the situation where this step cannot be done because of the lack of support for this algorithm in the root zone, our activities have shifted to mainly educate and monitor the impact of this education on the state of support for this new technology. At a seminar with registrars that we held at the end of February, we noticed a positive response to some ECDSA properties, such as smaller zone file size or smaller DNS response size. Some registrars have already declared interest in switching to ECDSA. At the same time, the registrars have suggested that we publish statistics on our site showing how different DNSSEC algorithms are used in the .cz zone. We liked this idea and we are now publishing these statistics.
One of the important features of the mojeID service launched by CZ.NIC seven years ago is its integration with the domain registration system. Multi-step verification of the provided data serves as a method of increasing the accuracy of contact details in the .CZ domain registry. As a bonus, the contacts verified this way can use the mechanism of a single sign-on using authentication protocols on websites that offer such an option. As might be expected, among such websites there are also portals of some of our registrars, two of which have lately even ranked among the 10 services with highest login count. The concept of linking a domain registry to a digital identity (eID) has long been the subject of many questions from foreign domain registries and numerous presentations at international conferences. Now it seems that other foreign registries decided to implement this concept.
Since its establishment in 2010, the mojeID service was closely connected with the OpenID 2.0 authentication protocol. This protocol was the best choice for us at the time, as it combined the implementation simplicity with availability of libraries for various programming languages. However, OpenID 2.0 is not the only authentication protocol. I wrote in our blog (only in Czech) about several others, like the SAML protocol or OpenID Connect. Especially for the latter one, OpenID Connect, standardization of which was finished at the beginning of last year, analysts forecast a promising future. The good news is that mojeID is no longer “monolingual”, it is now able to communicate with service providers via the mentioned protocols.