An FBI agent who works to better link the government and Internet registrars offered suggestions at Fordham about how those registrars can help fight cyber crime.

Bobby Flaime, supervisory special agent in the FBI’s technical liaison unit, operational technology division, offered three guidelines issued by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They include:

• When registrars assign domain names, they should make sure they are assigned to legitimate companies and that those companies are very transparent.
• Registrars should confirm that information they received about domain names and registrations are correct.
• The government should take steps to ensure that registrars and those with whom they work are who they say they are.

ICANN coordinates domain names, IP addresses and autonomous system numbers for the Internet. It was created in 1998 by the United States government but works in conjunction with international law enforcement to help keep the Internet safe and crime-free.

Flaime encourages law enforcement agencies from the U.S. and other countries to attend each of ICANN’s three annual meetings.

“ICANN is trying to be very inclusive and very international,” Flaime said. “I wanted to emphasize that law enforcement should participate is because what happens at these ICANN meetings affects our daily jobs and investigations.”

Two former ICANN board members attended Flaime’s lecture on Aug. 5 as part of Fordham’s second International Conference on Cyber Security, which it co-sponsored with the FBI.

ICANN issued the guidelines at its most recent meeting in Brussels. Groups involved in drafting the six-page document include the FBI, New Zealand police and Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) from the United Kingdom. ICANN also had support from Interpol, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group and the Council of Europe.

About 20 law enforcement agencies from 11 countries attended the meeting.

ICANN is currently figuring out how to implement their recommendations. To that end, they will hold a meeting next month for law enforcement, registrars and registrees in Washington, D.C.

In addition, ICANN is preparing for hundreds of new top-level generic domain names to go online. “They are already out there in Russian, Arabic, and Chinese. So that’s something else that people need to be aware of,” Flaime said.

Flaime also discussed Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), which allocate IP addresses and autonomous system numbers (ASN). There are five RIRs in the world.

They hold public meetings twice a year. Flaime also urges law enforcement entities to attend these meetings because “what happens with IP addresses affects what we do as investigators. We have to know who has those IP addresses and how to trace and locate criminals when they are using those IP addresses,” he said.

RIRs have formed working groups to discuss various issues, including:

• Switching from a reactive to a proactive approach to criminal activity on the Internet;
• Developing good intelligence and policies for crime fighting; and
• Engaging private industry in best intelligence property policies.

By keeping the RIRs involved in what goes on the Internet, if one RIR bans someone from the Internet due to criminal activity, it will prevent that person from trying to get a new IP address through a different RIR.

“That kind of international involvement is key to keeping the Internet free from criminal activity,” Flaime said.