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RFC 3663 - Domain Administrative Data in Lightweight Directory A


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Network Working Group                                          A. Newton
Request for Comments: 3663                                VeriSign, Inc.
Category: Experimental                                     December 2003

                       Domain Administrative Data
            in Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

Status of this Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
   Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   Domain registration data has typically been exposed to the general
   public via Nicname/Whois for administrative purposes.  This document
   describes the Referral Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
   Service, an experimental service using LDAP and well-known LDAP types
   to make domain administrative data available.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       1.1.  Historical Directory Services for Domain Registration
             Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       1.2.  Motivations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
       1.3.  Abbreviations Used . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   2.  Service Description. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3.  Registry LDAP Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.1.  TLD DIT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
             3.1.1.  DIT Structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
             3.1.2.  Allowed Searches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
             3.1.3.  Access Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
       3.2.  Name Server DIT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
             3.2.1.  DIT Structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
             3.2.2.  Allowed Searches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       3.3.  Registrar Referral DIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
             3.3.1.  DIT Structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   4.  Registrar LDAP Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       4.1.  TLD DIT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
             4.1.1.  DIT Structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
             4.1.2.  Allowed Searches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
             4.1.3.  Access Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
       4.2.  Name Server and Contact DIT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
             4.2.1.  DIT Structure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
             4.2.2.  Allowed Searches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   5.  Clients. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   6.  Lessons Learned. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       6.1.  Intra-Server Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       6.2.  Inter-Server Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       6.3.  Common DIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       6.4.  Universal Client . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
       6.5.  Targeting Searches by Tier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
       6.6.  Data Mining. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   7.  IANA Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   8.  Internationalization Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   9.  Security Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   10. Intellectual Property Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
   11. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
   Appendix A.  Other Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
   Appendix B.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
   Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

1.  Introduction

   This document describes the Referral Lightweight Directory Access
   Protocol (LDAP) Service, an experimental project launched by
   VeriSign, Inc., to explore the use of LDAP and LDAP-related
   technologies for use as a directory service of administrative domain
   registration information.

1.1.  Historical Directory Services for Domain Registration Data

   The original National Science Foundation contract for the InterNIC
   called for the creation of an X.500 directory service for the
   administrative needs of the domain registration data and information.
   Due to problems with implementations of X.500 server software, a
   server based on the Nicname/Whois [1] protocol was temporarily
   erected.

   In 1994, the Rwhois [3] protocol was introduced to enhance the
   Nicname/Whois protocol.  This directory service never gained wide
   acceptance for use with domain data.

   Presently, ICANN requires the operation of Nicname/Whois servers by
   registries and registrars of generic Top-Level Domains (TLD's).

1.2.  Motivations

   With the recent split in functional responsibilities between
   registries and registrars, the constant misuse and data-mining of
   domain registration data, and the difficulties with machine-
   readability of Nicname/Whois output, the creation of the Referral
   LDAP Service had the following motivations:

   o  Use a mechanism native to the directory protocol to refer clients
      from inquiries about specific domains made at a registry to the
      appropriate domain within the appropriate directory service at a
      registrar.

   o  Limit access to domain data based on authentication of the client.

   o  Provide structured queries and well-known and structured results.

   o  Use a directory service technology already in general use.

   Given these general criteria, LDAP [5] was selected as the protocol
   for this directory service.  The decision was also made to restrict
   the use of LDAP to features most readily available in common
   implementations.  Therefore, a goal was set to not define any new
   object classes, syntaxes, or matching rules.

   The experiment was successful in exploring how LDAP might be used in
   this context and demonstrating the level of customization required
   for an operational service.  Conclusions and observations about this
   experiment are outlined in Section 6.

1.3.  Abbreviations Used

   The following abbreviations are used to describe the nature of this
   experiment:

      TLD: Top-Level Domain.  Refers to the domain names just beneath
      the root in the Domain Name System.  This experiment used the
      TLD's .com, .net, .org, and .edu.

      SLD: Second-Level Domain.  Refers to the domain names just beneath
      a TLD in the Domain Name System.  An example of such a domain name
      would be "example.com".

      DIT: Directory Information Tree.  One of many hierarchies of data
      entries in an LDAP server.

      DN: Distinguished Name.  The unique name of an entry in a DIT.

      cn: common name.  See RFC 2256 [7].

      dc: domain component.  See RFC 2247 [4].

      uid: user id.  See RFC 2798 [9].

2.  Service Description

   The service is composed of three distinct server types: a registry
   LDAP server, registrar LDAP servers, and registrant LDAP servers.

   The registry LDAP server contains three Directory Information Trees
   (DIT's).

   o  The Top-Level Domain DIT's follow the DNS hierarchy for domains
      (e.g., dc=foo,dc=com).

   o  The name server DIT allows a view of the name servers, many of
      which serve multiple domains.

   o  The registrar-referral DIT provides referrals from the registry
      into the respective TLD DIT of the registrars (on a TLD basis).

   The registrar LDAP server contains two types of DIT's.

   o  The TLD DIT follows the DNS hierarchy for domains (e.g.,
      dc=foo,dc=com) and parallels the TLD DIT of the registry.

   o  The name server and contact DIT allow a view of the name servers
      and contacts, many of which are associated and serve multiple
      domains.

   There is no specification on the DIT or schema for the registrant
   LDAP server.  Referrals from the registrar server to the registrant
   server are provided solely for the purpose of allowing the registrant
   direct control over extra administrative information as it relates to
   a particular domain.

   Access control for this service is merely a demonstration of using a
   Distinguished Name (DN) and password.  Should registries and
   registrars uniformly adopt LDAP as a means to disseminate domain
   registration data, standardization of these DN's would need to be
   undertaken based on each type of user base.

3.  Registry LDAP Service

3.1.  TLD DIT

3.1.1.  DIT Structure

   The registry TLD DIT has the following structural hierarchy:

                          TLD (e.g., dc=net)
                                  |
                                  |
               -------------------------------------
               |                                   |
      SLD (e.g., dc=foo,dc=net)           SLD (e.g., dc=bar,dc=net)
               |                                   |
       ---------------------            ---------------------
       |           |       |            |           |       |
   name server     |       |        name server     |       |
   (e.g.,          |       |        (e.g.,          |       |
   cn=nameserver1, |       |        cn=nameserver1, |       |
   dc=foo,dc=net ) |       |        dc=bar,dc=net ) |       |
                   |       |                        |       |
          name server      |               name server      |
          (e.g.,           |               (e.g.,           |
          cn=nameserver2,  |               cn=nameserver2,  |
          dc=foo,dc=net )  |               dc=bar,dc=net )  |
                           |                                |
                registrar referral               registrar referral
                (e.g.,                           (e.g.,
                cn=registrar,                    cn=registrar,
                dc=foo,dc=net )                  dc=bar,dc=net )

                    Figure 1: Registry DIT Overview

   The root of a TLD DIT is an entry of objectclass domain as specified
   by RFC 2247 [4] and represents a top-level domain.

   The second tier of the DIT represents second-level domains.  Each of
   these entries is of objectclass domain as specified by RFC 2247 [4].
   The description attribute on these entries often contains descriptive
   text giving the name of the registrar through which these domains
   have been registered.

   The third tier contains entries specific to each second-level domain.
   Name server entries are of objectclass ipHost as specified by RFC
   2307 [8].  The distinguished names of these name server entries are
   algorithmically calculated, where the first component is the word

   "nameserver" concatenated with an index number of the name server
   entry and the remaining components are the appropriate domain names.
   There is no specification relating the value of the name server entry
   to the index it may be assigned other than it is unique and
   consistent with respect to the client session.  This tier also
   contains the referral from the registry to the registrar.  This
   referral is a direct referral to the entry in the appropriate
   registrar LDAP server corresponding to the domain name that the
   referral falls beneath in this DIT.

3.1.2.  Allowed Searches

   Because of the vast number of entries contained within this DIT, only
   certain types of searches are allowed.  Allowing any search
   expressible via LDAP would lead to expensive searches that would be
   far too costly for a publicly available service.  The searches
   allowed are as follows:

   o  One-level scoped searches based at the root of the DIT.  Substring
      matching is allowed on dc attributes, but the substring must be at
      least be 3 characters in length.

   o  Base search based at the root of the DIT.

   o  Base, one-level, and sub-tree searches based at any second level
      domain name (the second tier) and below.

3.1.3.  Access Control

   The registry TLD DIT only has one access control type.  When a client
   binds with a DN of "cn=trademark" and password of "attorney", the
   second-level domain entries also take on an objectclass of
   extensibleObject with the added attributes of "createddate" and
   "registrationexpirationdate", which are of type Generalized Time, as
   specified by RFC 2252 [6].

3.2.  Name Server DIT

3.2.1.  DIT Structure

   The registry name server DIT has the following structural hierarchy:

                         (o=nsiregistry.com)
                                  |
                                  |
               -------------------------------------
               |                  |                |
           name server        name server      name server
         (cn=ns1.foo.net)   (cn=ns.bar.com)  (cn=named.acme.org)

                    Figure 2: Registry DIT Overview

   The root of a name server DIT is an entry of objectclass organization
   as specified by RFC 1617 [2].  It has no significance other than to
   serve as the root of the DIT.

   The second tier of this DIT represents name servers.  Each of these
   entries is of objectclass ipHost, as specified by RFC 2307 [8].

3.2.2.  Allowed Searches

   Because of the vast number of entries contained within this DIT, only
   certain types of searches are allowed.  Allowing any search
   expressible via LDAP would lead to searches far too costly for a
   publicly available service.  The searches allowed are as follows:

   o  One-level and sub-tree scoped searches based at the root of the
      DIT if a filter on the cn attribute is provided.

   o  Base search based at the root of the DIT.

   o  Base, one-level, and sub-tree searches based at any name server
      entry.

3.3.  Registrar Referral DIT

3.3.1.  DIT Structure

   The registry registrar-referral DIT has the following structural
   hierarchy:

                        (o=tlds)
                           |
                           |
            -------------------------------
            |         |         |         |
           tld       tld       tld       tld
         (dc=net)  (dc=com)  (dc=org)  (dc=edu)
            |         |         |         |
            :         :         |         :
            :         :         |         :
                                |
                   ---------------------------
                   |            |            |
               referral to  referral to  referral to
               registrar 1  registrar 2  registrar n
               dc=org DIT   dc=org DIT   dc=org DIT

                Figure 3: Registry Referral DIT Overview

   The root of the registrar referral DIT is an entry of objectclass
   organization, as specified by RFC 1617 [2].  It has no significance
   other than to serve as the root of this DIT.

   The second tier of this DIT represents top-level domains.  Each of
   these entries is of objectclass domain, as specified by RFC 2247 [4].

   Underneath each TLD entry, the third tier contains referrals to the
   appropriate TLD DIT of each registrar.

4.  Registrar LDAP Service

4.1.  TLD DIT

4.1.1.  DIT Structure

   The registrar TLD DIT, which is similar to the registry TLD DIT, has
   the following structural hierarchy:

                          TLD (e.g., dc=net)
                                  |
                                  |
               ------------------------------------------------
               |                                          |   |
      SLD (e.g., dc=foo,dc=net)                           :   :
               |                                          :   :
       ---------------------------------------------
       |                        |                  |
       |                        |                  |
   name server            contact             referral to
   (e.g., cn=nameserver1, (e.g., cn=contact1, registrant
   dc=foo,dc=net       )  dc=foo,dc=net    )
       |
       |
   name server contact
   (e.g., cn=contact,
   cn=nameserver1,
   dc=foo,dc=net     )

                    Figure 4: Registrar DIT Overview

   The root of a TLD DIT is an entry of objectclass domain, as specified
   by RFC 2247 [4] and represents a top-level domain.

   The second tier of the DIT represents second-level domains.  Each of
   these entries is of objectclass domain, as specified by RFC 2247 [4].

   The third tier contains entries specific to each second-level domain.
   The entries at this level are as follows:

   o  Name server entries are of objectclass ipHost, as specified by RFC
      2307 [8].  The distinguished names of these name server entries
      are algorithmically calculated where the first component is the
      word "nameserver" concatenated with an index number of the name
      server entry and the remaining components are the appropriate
      domain names.  There is no specification relating the value of the
      name server entry to the index it may be assigned other than it is
      unique and consistent with respect to the client session.

   o  Contact entries are of objectclass inetOrgPerson, as specified by
      RFC 2798 [9].  The distinguished names of these contact entries
      are algorithmically calculated, where the first component is the
      word "contact" concatenated with an index number of the contact
      and the remaining components are the appropriate domain names.
      There is no specification relating the value of the contact entry
      to the index it may be assigned other than it is unique and
      consistent with respect to the client session.  The description
      attribute of the entry contains the role for which a contact is
      related to a domain.  These roles are identified as "Admin
      Contact", "Technical Contact", and "Billing Contact", and may
      appear in any order.

   o  Finally, this third tier contains the referral from the registrar
      to the registrant.

   The fourth tier only contains name server contact entries.  These
   entries are of objectclass inetOrgPerson, as specified by RFC 2798
   [9].

4.1.2.  Allowed Searches

   Because of the vast number of entries contained within this DIT, only
   certain types of searches are allowed.  Allowing any search
   expressible via LDAP would lead to searches far too costly for a
   publicly available service.  The searches allowed are as follows:

   o  One-level scoped searches based at the root of the DIT.  Substring
      matching is allowed on dc and o attributes, but the substring must
      be at least 3 characters in length.

   o  Base search based at the root of the DIT.

   o  Base, one-level, and sub-tree searches based at any second level
      domain name (the second tier) and below.

4.1.3.  Access Control

   The registrar TLD DIT has two access control types.  When binding
   anonymously, a client only sees dc, o, and c attributes of the
   second-level domain entries.  When a client binds with a DN of
   "cn=trademark" and password of "attorney", all of the other
   attributes normally available on entries of objectclass domain are
   visible if they have values.  In addition, if a client binds with the
   DN of a contact and password of "password", all attributes for
   second-level domain entries for which the bind DN has a relation are
   visible.

4.2.  Name Server and Contact DIT

4.2.1.  DIT Structure

   The registrar name server and contact DIT has the following
   structural hierarchy:

                             (o=nsi.com)
                                  |
                                  |
               --------------------------------------
               |                                    |
            Contacts                           Name Servers
          (ou=contacts)                     (ou=name servers)
               |                                    |
        -----------------                ------------------------
        |             | |                |                    | |
     Contact          : :            Name Server              : :
   (uid=handle)       : :            (cn=handle)              : :
                                         |
                                     Name Server
                                       Contact
                                     (cn=contact1)

                    Figure 5: Registrar DIT Overview

   The first tier of the name server and contact DIT is an entry of
   objectclass organization, as specified by RFC 1617 [2].

   The second tier of the DIT contains two entries, each of which is of
   objectclass organizationalUnit, as specified by RFC 2256 [7].  One
   entry represents the part of the DIT containing contacts and the
   other entry represents the part of the DIT containing name servers.

   Entries underneath the contacts organizationalUnit entry are of
   objectclass inetOrgPerson and represent contacts registered with the
   registrar.  Their RDN is composed of the uid attribute.  The uid
   attribute's value is a unique identifier or handle that is registrar
   assigned.

   Entries underneath the name server organizationalUnit entry are of
   objectclass ipHost and represent name servers registered with the
   registrar.  Their RDN is composed of the cn attribute.  The cn
   attribute's value is a unique identifier or handle that is registrar
   assigned.  Each name server entry may optionally have children
   entries of objectclass inetOrgPerson.  These entries represent the
   contacts of the name server they fall beneath.

4.2.2.  Allowed Searches

   Because of the vast number of entries contained within this DIT, only
   certain types of searches are allowed.  Allowing any search
   expressible via LDAP would lead to searches far too costly for a
   publicly available service.  The searches allowed are as follows:

   o  One-level and base searches at the root of the DIT.

   o  Sub-tree searches at the root of the DIT using cn and uid
      attributes as a filter.

   o  Base searches at either entry of the second tier.

   o  One-level and sub-tree searches at either entry of the second
      tier, using cn or uid attributes as a filter.

   o  Base, one-level, and sub-tree searches based at any contact or
      name server entry and below.

5.  Clients

   Early scoping and analysis of this project were based on the use of
   output from command line clients, specifically the "ldapsearch"
   command present with many implementations of LDAP servers.  Our
   survey of this tool, available from many vendors, showed that
   referral chasing was difficult to control or predict, and the
   behavior between these implementations with respect to referral
   chasing was inconsistent.

   Based on the limited nature of the expressive capabilities present
   with just command line tools, searches involving nested queries or
   advanced referral chasing were deemed the domain of clients making
   direct use of LDAP client libraries.  Three of these types of clients
   were produced: a web-based client, a cross-platform C-based client,
   and a Java client.  No significant deficiencies or problems were
   found with the LDAP client libraries in the construction of these
   clients, and the level of control provided by their programming
   interfaces was adequate to create the necessary searches.  Instead,
   most of the problems encountered with these clients were based on
   usability concerns.

   It was found that the web-based client caused a great amount of
   confusion for users not familiar with LDAP or Nicname/Whois with
   respect to the underlying technology and the network model.  Thus,
   many users believed the web-based client to be the only interface to
   the data and were unaware or confused by the intermediate LDAP
   protocol.  In addition, it was difficult to express to users the

   registry-registrar-registrant service model in adequate terms from
   search results where the results could be rendered properly among the
   various common web browsers.

   Both the C and Java based clients were built to be both graphical and
   cross-platform (in the case of the C-based client, the Linux and
   Windows platforms were chosen as targets).  The LDAP client libraries
   chosen for both clients proved to be quite capable and offered the
   necessary levels of control for conducting nested queries and
   advanced referral chasing.  Expectations at the outset for
   construction of both clients, based on past experience, were that the
   C-based client would not only perform better than the Java client but
   also have a better appearance.  In reality, these assumptions were
   incorrect as there was no perceivable difference in performance and
   the look of the Java client was often considered to be far superior
   to its counter-part.  In addition, the Java client required much less
   time to create.  Both clients are available under the terms of an
   open source license.  Though it is impossible to have accurate
   measurements of their popularity, through monitoring and feedback it
   was perceived that the web-based client had far greater use.

6.  Lessons Learned

   Based on the experience of piloting this experimental service,
   feedback from users of the service, and general comments and
   observations of current and common opinions, the following items have
   been noted.

6.1.  Intra-Server Referrals

   Original analysis of the data set to be used revealed a high degree
   of relationships between name servers, contacts, and domains.
   Storing the data in non-normalized form according to the DIT outlined
   in this document would make an original relational dataset of roughly
   20 million objects explode to over 115 million objects.

   To combat this problem, the first pass at defining the DIT's made
   heavy use of referrals between the TLD DIT's and the name server and
   contact DIT's.  The use of the 'alias' objectclass was considered but
   ruled out in hopes of using referrals for load balancing across
   servers (i.e., placing each TLD DIT on a separate server, and
   separate servers for the name server and contact DIT's).  However,
   initial testing with the 'ldapsearch' command found inconsistencies
   with the interpretation of the referrals and how they were managed.
   Not only were the results inconsistent between implementations, but
   many of these clients would easily get caught in referral loops.

   The final solution to the problem was to create a customized back-end
   data store containing the data in a normalized form.  This gave the
   client the appearance of having a non-normalized data set which
   required no intra-server referrals.  Aliases may have been a better
   solution, however our interpretation of their output with
   implementations of the 'ldapsearch' tool was not satisfactory.  It
   was also later learned that some LDAP server implementations place
   certain restrictions on aliases that would have conflicted with our
   overall DIT structure.  In the end, it was felt that a customized
   back-end would be required by any server with a large data-set, but
   smaller data-sets for less populated domains could easily use off-
   the-shelf implementations.

6.2.  Inter-Server Referrals

   The modeling of the overall service to provide the split in
   operational responsibility between registry and registrar required
   the use of referrals (i.e., the two servers would not be operated by
   the same organization, therefore would most likely not co-exist on
   the same physical machine or network).  The chief problem with LDAP
   referrals returned for this purpose grew out of the need to limit
   data returned to the client and the priority given to referrals.  It
   was quite easy to cause a sub-tree query at certain levels, for
   instance a TLD level, to return nothing but referrals.  This was true
   because referrals would be returned out of the scope of the supplied
   search filter and therefore would fill the result set to its limit,
   normally set to 50 entries.

   In certain use cases, a result set with nothing but referrals was
   desired (e.g., o=tlds).  However, even in these cases it was possible
   for some referrals to not be returned due to the size limit.  In this
   case, it was felt that a result set of 50 referrals, the default for
   the size limit in most cases, was too large for any practical use by
   a client and was a failing of query distribution in general rather
   than a limitation of LDAP.

6.3.  Common DIT

   Because of the nature of software development, the graphical and web
   clients were developed after the development of the server software.
   The 'ldapsearch' client was used for testing and development during
   server software creation.  It was not until the creation of more
   advanced clients that it was discovered that the design decision of
   uniform DIT naming should have been made.  Technically, this would
   have allowed for slightly better software modularization and re-use.
   In addition, the use of a company name in the DIT structure did not
   allow the easy integration of another domain registry, as in the
   registry-registrar model.  Not only would clients have to be

   reconfigured for each new registry operator, but this would most
   likely have social implications as well.

6.4.  Universal Client

   The construction of the clients revealed yet another misconception.
   Though this project used a generic directory service technology, the
   clients required a high-degree of algorithmic knowledge about the DIT
   structure and schemas being used.  The graphical clients could not be
   used against an LDAP service with another DIT or schema.  Therefore,
   a generic or universal client, one that could be used for all LDAP
   applications, would either not be able to make full use of the data
   provided by the service or would be far too complex for operation by
   the average user.

6.5.  Targeting Searches by Tier

   The network model for this service was divided into three tiers:
   registry, registrar, and registrant.  Despite this, all searches
   needed to start at the registry level causing overhead for searches
   that could be targeted at a select tier.  This service did not
   implement a solution to this problem, such as using SRV and/or NAPTR
   records in DNS to allow a client to find a responsible LDAP server.

6.6.  Data Mining

   Section 3.1.2 and Section 4.1.2 describe the searches allowed by this
   service.  However, the most common question asked by users of the
   service revolved around getting around these restrictions.  Because
   browsing at the TLD level was not permitted, many users asked about
   the feasibility of using recursive dictionary queries to circumvent
   the search restrictions.

   It should be noted that many operators of Nicname/Whois server
   consider this practice to be data mining and often refer to it
   specifically as a dictionary attack.

7.  IANA Considerations

   There are no applicable IANA considerations presented in this
   document.

8.  Internationalization Considerations

   The domain administrative data in this service did not cover
   Internationalized Domain Names (IDN's).

9.  Security Considerations

   This experiment did not endeavor to use security mechanisms beyond
   those readily available in LDAP [5].  Section 3.1.3 and Section 4.1.3
   describe the various access controls used within the scope of the
   defined security mechanisms.   While these mechanisms were adequate
   for this experimental deployment, they would not be adequate for a
   production environment, and they should not be taken as a model for
   those contemplating deployment on the Internet.

10.  Intellectual Property Statement

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it
   has made any effort to identify any such rights.  Information on the
   IETF's procedures with respect to rights in standards-track and
   standards-related documentation can be found in BCP-11.  Copies of
   claims of rights made available for publication and any assurances of
   licenses to be made available, or the result of an attempt made to
   obtain a general license or permission for the use of such
   proprietary rights by implementors or users of this specification can
   be obtained from the IETF Secretariat.

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights which may cover technology that may be required to practice
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF Executive
   Director.

11.  Normative References

   [1]  Harrenstien, K., Stahl, M. and E. Feinler, "NICNAME/WHOIS", RFC
        954, October 1985.

   [2]  Barker, P., Kille, S. and T. Lenggenhager, "Naming and
        Structuring Guidelines for X.500 Directory Pilots", RFC 1617,
        May 1994.

   [3]  Williamson, S., Kosters, M., Blacka, D., Singh, J. and K.
        Zeilstra, "Referral Whois (RWhois) Protocol V1.5", RFC 2167,
        June 1997.

   [4]  Kille, S., Wahl, M., Grimstad, A., Huber, R. and S. Sataluri,
        "Using Domains in LDAP/X.500 Distinguished Names", RFC 2247,
        January 1998.

   [5]  Wahl, M., Howes, T. and S. Kille, "Lightweight Directory Access
        Protocol (v3)", RFC 2251, December 1997.

   [6]  Wahl, M., Coulbeck, A., Howes, T. and S. Kille, "Lightweight
        Directory Access Protocol (v3): Attribute Syntax Definitions",
        RFC 2252, December 1997.

   [7]  Wahl, M., "A Summary of the X.500(96) User Schema for use with
        LDAPv3", RFC 2256, December 1997.

   [8]  Howard, L., "An Approach for Using LDAP as a Network Information
        Service", RFC 2307, March 1998.

   [9]  Smith, M., "Definition of the inetOrgPerson LDAP Object Class",
        RFC 2798, April 2000.

Appendix A.  Other Work

   In addition to the deployment of servers and development of clients,
   VeriSign conducted two sub-projects related to this experiment.

   The first project was a Nicname/Whois-to-LDAP gateway.  The goal of
   the project was to create an LDAP server for use by registrars to
   deploy in front of their Nicname/Whois servers.  This gateway would
   take LDAP requests, translate them to Nicname/Whois requests, issue
   the request to a specific Nicname/Whois server deployed on port 43,
   interpret the response, and return LDAP result sets.  Because of the
   unspecified nature of Nicname/Whois result sets, the gateway was
   programmed to specifically recognize only the output of three
   distinct registrars.  While this gateway proved valuable enough to
   allow domain lookups and limited searches, it was unable to provide
   consistent contact lookups, nameserver lookups, or registrant
   referrals.  This software was also made publicly available under the
   terms of an open source license.

   The second project was an informal survey of registrants with
   deployed LDAP servers.  This was conducted by using the com, net,
   org, and edu zone files and testing for the existence of an LDAP
   server on port 389 using the name of the domain, a host named "ldap"
   in the domain, and a host named "dir" in the domain (e.g., "foo.com",
   "ldap.foo.com", and "dir.foo.com").  This survey did not attempt to
   resolve LDAP services using SRV records in DNS.

   The result of this survey found that roughly 0.5% of active domains
   had an LDAP server.  By profiling a server's root DSA-specific Entry
   (DSE), the survey found that about 90% of the servers were
   implementations provided by vendor A, 9% of the servers were
   implementations provided by vendor B, and 1% of the servers were
   implementations provided by other vendors.  Of the servers queried
   that were determined to be implementations provided by vendor A, it
   appeared that about only 10% contained public data (this also led to
   the assumption that the other 90% were not intended to be publicly
   queried).  Of the servers queried that were determined to be
   implementations provided by vendor B, it appears that nearly all
   contained public data.

Appendix B.  Acknowledgments

   Significant analysis, design, and implementation for this project
   were conducted by Brad McMillen, David Blacka, Anna Zhang, and
   Michael Schiraldi.  Mark Kosters and Leslie Daigle provided guidance
   by reviewing this project, the project's goals, and this document.

Author's Address

   Andrew Newton
   VeriSign, Inc.
   21345 Ridgetop Circle
   Sterling, VA  20166
   USA

   Phone: +1 703 948 3382
   EMail: anewton@verisignlabs.com; anewton@ecotroph.net

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