Can bankers make the Internet less risky and more secure?

I've been going back and forth with my colleague Charles Kology on the issue of gTLDs and a recent proposal bankers to secure .bank and .insurance for exclusive industry use. This industry move is in part a response to ICANN's interest in...

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I've been going back and forth with my colleague Charles Kology on the issue of gTLDs and a recent proposal bankers to secure .bank and .insurance for exclusive industry use. 

This industry move is in part a response to ICANN's interest in expanding the number of TLDs in place today, and the interest in a higher degree of risk management and security for certain domains, particularly for internet properties used by the financial services community. Charles has provided some great perspectives on this, and I'd like to get your thoughts, too. Here's a quick backgrounder...

Earlier this year, fTLD Registry Services, LLC (FRS), submitted an application to ICANN on behalf of the global banking community proposing the creation of 2 new gTLDs (.bank and .insurance) to ensure that these would serve as a "trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive" namespace for this community, the businesses that are either supported or represented by the community and the customers it serves.  

The proposal goes on to say that all registrants within these domains would be vetted prior to registration to "ensure their identity and their commitment to industry best standards developed by FRS" and the financial services community.  

Also, the proposal states that active and passive safeguards will be used in the operation of the registry to make certain that registrants (banks) continue to abide by the terms and conditions set forth in registration agreements.  The presentation that's attached has the October 2012 status of the proposal.

Charles provided a great perspective on potential adoption challenges.  Excellent points, and certainly the adoption challenges will need to be met with incentives from the banks.  Without incentives, adoption will be slow and the initiative will most likely fail.  

However, incentives, including pricing incentives, could be designed into the network in a number of ways.  For example, banking services available over .bank would be less expensive than similar services (think B2B, B2C and C2C) available on .com because it will be easier to secure and operate a common .bank infrastructure.

So one basic question is - Using the technologies and processes defined by fTLD, can .bank become more secure than .com?  If so, how much more secure and against what threats?  And finally, if .bank is more secure, at what cost, and how do these costs compare to everything bankers do to protect their .com franchise today?

What do you think?  If you're interested in exploring this further, and digging into the fTLD business and security plans, let me know.  Maybe we can organise a round-table event or research meeting with clients to get share perspectives.

Posted by Michael Versace, Research Director, Global Risk, IDC Financial Insights

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