CloudFlare recently announced that the company will be launching its own domain registrar this Wednesday. The main goal of CloudFlare’s registrar is to prevent the hijack of domains, either by external hackers or disgruntled employees within a company.
According to CloudFlare, there has been an increase in domain hijacks in recent years. CloudFlare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, recounts one specific example that involved the New York Times. “Two and a half years ago, we got a frantic call from the CTO of the New York Times, after a hacking group – attributed to be the Syrian Electronic Army – hacked its registrar, Melbourne IT, and were able to take over the domain of NYTimes.com,” Prince explained. In addition to vandalizing the website, the hackers were able to intercept all the emails that were sent to that domain.
The major issue is that anyone with access to a registrar account has complete control over the domain. Once logged in, an individual can alter the site’s content, redirect traffic, and intercept emails. The solution devised by CloudFlare is to allow customers to decide their own change control process. “If an organization requires six different individuals from six different departments to all email in their changes, and then verify by faxing,” CloudFlare will allow them to do that. The company stressed that the were not trying to create a change control process that is designed to be as streamlined as possible, because it comes at the cost of security.
Unlike most registrars who cheaply sell domains in high volume, CloudFlare will be targeting wealthier customers, offering superior services in exchange for a higher price tag. Prince said, “this isn’t for the ten-dollars-a-year crowd,” but indicated it was more like an add-on for those already spending $5000 a month with CloudFlare. “Intentionally, we’re not going after the mass-market,” Prince stated, “but for the largest customers that really care about keeping control of their domain. The domain is a critical part for organizations that really care about security.”
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