After exploring in previous publications the security issues related to the DNS protocol and the risks of hijacking domain names, Afnic has addressed a thorny question: is it possible to break the Internet? Can its operation be interrupted for a longer or shorter period, following a deliberate attack, or an accidental breakdown?
This issue paper attempts to answer the vast question, in particular by redefining what the Internet is, what are its most crucial elements, those potentially subject to attacks via the routers and the DNS protocol. It also reviews recent examples of spectacular incidents and their consequences.
Lastly, rather than categorically answering a purely theoretical question, this issue paper proposes pointers for consideration and action to improve the resistance (to cope with an attack) and the resilience (to restart after an attack) of the Internet.
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.