September 16th, 2003


Verisign adds wildcard DNS records

Oh, MY. This is going to be messy/interesting/ugly/whatever.

Verisign began adding wildcard DNS records to all .com and .net domains yesterday, which redirect lost surfers to Sitefinder, a Verisign company.

Basically, this means if you typo a domain address, are directed to a nonexistent domain, or just put in a bogus .com or .net address, you'll be redirected to Sitefinder.

(Try, for instance, as a bogus address to see what I mean.)

Besides the obvious ethical dilemmas of creating unfair competition with existing registrars, breaching public trust and turning a 404 into an advertising opportunity that "may be supplied by VeriSign's commericial licensors, advertisers or others" (according to Sitefinder's Terms of Use), this causes technical problems as well.

For instance, certain software (ftp, traceroute, ping, mailserver software, etc.) usually return a "hostname unknown" when they fail to resolve an address. Now they will encounter a "wildcard," likely returning a "false positive" of sorts.

Colour me a little concerned.

Story in The Register can be found here:

Slashdot's story is here:

Kuro5hin's story is here:
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