[UA-discuss] Another difficulty to overcome ...

Jim DeLaHunt jfrom.uasg at jdlh.com
Tue Feb 20 08:54:40 UTC 2018

Multiple people have made the argument that having a browser show 
A-labels ("punycode") instead of U-labels ("regular IDN") is desirable 
as a way of fighting phishing.

My rebuttal has three parts:

 1. The underlying problem is that the registry (here, .com) permitted
    registration of a domain name which was confusable with another one.
    The right place to fight this kind of phishing with confusable
    characters is at the domain registry level.
 2. Even if you could magically prevent all confusable 2nd-level domain
    name registrations, phishing would still be a problem. Fraudsters
    have many tools, confusable 2nd-level names is only one of them.
    There are also confusable names at the 4th or 5th levels (e.g.
    microsoft.com.innocuous.deceptive.com), and misleading links in
    message bodies, and so on.
 3. The people for whom A-labels instead of U-labels are a privileged
    set of latin-script reading Internet users. The second billion
    internet users will predominantly be people who read a different
    script than latin. U-labels are a requirement for them to have
    legible domain names for legitimate sites. A-labels mean they don't
    get domain names which they can read. And they deserve to be able to
    read their domain names and email addresses.

This is an excellent audience for me to test my rebuttal. Is it solid?  
Can I improve it?

      —Jim DeLaHunt, Vancouver, Canada

On 2018-02-19 23:36, Ronald Geens wrote:
> All,
>    I am aware of the good work going on in the UASG to get IDN at all 
> levels natively supported in web-adresses and email and I fully 
> support that.
> On the other hand there is darker side of the web that people want to 
> be protected from.
> I just read this blog about some people that may actually find it 
> better to see puny-code in stead of regular IDN in order to detect 
> spam and phishing.
> https://ma.ttias.be/show-idn-punycode-firefox-avoid-phishing-urls/ which 
> is an opposite view of what UASG is trying to achieve.
>    Does/Will the UASG have a standpoint in this matter ? Is this in 
> scope of UASG or will we rely on the anti-virus industry or even 
> registrars/registries to protect the world from abuses like this ?
> Best regards,
> Ron Geens
> DNS Belgium

     --Jim DeLaHunt, jdlh at jdlh.com     http://blog.jdlh.com/ (http://jdlh.com/)
       multilingual websites consultant

       355-1027 Davie St, Vancouver BC V6E 4L2, Canada
          Canada mobile +1-604-376-8953

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