Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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AFRINIC 27 MEETING

NiRA AT DISRUPTIVE AFRICA CONFERENCE

With the advancement in technologies and computers, the approach and ways of operation of businesses and companies are constantly evolving. The disruptive tendencies constantly lift up the envelopes, offering consumers more at lower prices. With the innovations that are disrupting ‘normalcy’, we have witnesses opportunities and threats.

At the Disruptive Africa Conference, held from 13th to 14th September, 2017, at Lagos Oriental Hotel, keynote addresses were delivered by Mr. Austin Okere, Vice Chairman Computer Warehouse Group, Plc and Mr. Niyi Yusuf, Country Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria. The Convener Disruptive Africa Expo is Mr. David Alozie.  There were also many other discussants. Their presentations were insightful, highlighting extent to which innovations have already disrupted generations of lifes and future directions. Classic examples can be found in digital transformation of enterprises and nations in the fields of  agriculture, medicine, transportation, retail businesses, music industry, advertisements channels, communication, dissemination of videos, movies, hospitality,  etc. References were made to global innovation efforts and the need for Africa as a continent and Nigeria as a country not to miss out on this fourth industrial revolution.  Our imagination is our limitation. The quantum of interest, we put in anything will determine the derived outcome/output.

With disruptive innovation, there are changes to business models, processes and services. In Nigeria, the opportunities are abundant especially with the broadband penetration plans of the Federal Government of Nigeria, open society and youthful demography embracing technology. The youth have been advised not to wait until they have a perfect product/solution and/or conducive environment. Perfection would come along with better understandings and digital transformation phases/stages. Mentoring the youth along the six frugal innovation principles is very important.

The future is here. We must embrace the future, both the digital immigrants and digital natives.

DOMAIN COUNT AT A GLANCE

The .ng domain name registration is definitely on the rise; very soon we will have up to  100,000 .ng domain names. The fresh domain registrations for August 2017 were 4,274 whilst the renewals for the same month were 2,103. The figures for these periods in 2017 are still higher than the corresponding 2016 registrations. With increase in the number of accredited registrars, domain name registration and renewals are on the increase.

DOMAIN NAME TERMINOLOGY

There are many terminologies in the domain name industry. For better understanding of the industry, we have put together an explanation of the basic domain name terminologies.

Administrative Contact: Person or organization authorized by the registrant to make changes to the domain name details.

The African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) and a not-for profit membership organisation responsible for the administration and management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses in the Africa Region.

Africa Top Level Domain (AFTLD), the association of African ccTLDs, is a non-profit organisation of domain registry operators in Africa for unity and co-operation.

Billing Contact: Person or organization that is invoiced for the domain name registration and/or renewals.

ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domain is TLD assigned to countries derived from their two letter representation. Nigeria is .ng ccTLD.

Domain Name (i.e. switchto.ng) is the user friendly name (memorable for humans) associated with an Internet resource, assigned to an IP address. This name can only be approved and administered by an approved authority, i.e., .ng Registry. Sub-domain(s) and email address (es) can be created, using it as a suffix.

Domain Name System is the networking system that helps users find their way around the Internet; assigns web addresses (string of letters/characters) to be used in place of the IP addresses.

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) is simply domain names created with native language characters.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an international organisation, not-for-profit that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management and root server system management functions.

Name Server is a specialized server on the Internet that handles queries or questions, by various programs and other name servers, that converts domain names to IP Addresses.

NiRA Dispute Resolution Policy (NDRP) derived from ICANN UDRP and composed to benefit the Nigerian domain industry.

NiRA Policy Development Process (PDP): process by which NiRA develops policies, which is available for all stakeholders to make contributions.

Queries per Second (QPS), is the unit of measurement used to know how many queries a DNS server receives.

Redemption Grace Period (RGP) is the period after the expiry date of the domain name when the registrant is given extra days to be able to renew the domain name. In some cases the domain name is rendered inactive but unavailable to be taken by another registrant and it may also be active till end of the period but the number of days taken from the period is counted into duration renewed for. For the NiRA domain life cycle, click on https://www.nira.org.ng/images/Policies/NG_Domain_Name_Life_Cycle_Policy.pdf

Registrant is the owner of one or more domain name(s).

Registrar is the person or organization through whose platform the registrant registers the domain names.

Registry is the organisation managing and administering the TLD/ccTLD/gTLD. The authoritative, master database of all domain names registered in each TLD. NiRA is the Registry for the .ng ccTLD.

Registry Lock is a security measure that protects a domain from attacks like DNS hijacking. The domain is locked at the registry level so series of processes and verification of proper authorized contact for the domain name would be required to access/modify anything.

Reseller is a third party who offers domain name registration services through a registrar.

Root Servers is simply the network of servers stationed at various locations for quick and easy data access; they contain the IP Addresses of all TLDs registry organisations (gTLDs and ccTLDs) worldwide.  There are 13 named server authorities and these are the authoritative servers of the DNS root zone.

Secondary DNS Server is the slave of the primary DNS server. It stores/contains the same information/data of the zone file on the primary DNS server but as a read only copy. It offers back-up service for the master, the primary DNS server and shares in its workload.

Single Point of Failure (SPOF) indicates that a domain has and depends on only network or a service provider to handle all its DNS. This is only suitable for low-traffic domains but very unsuitable for high traffic as it is most likely to deter its uptime rate.

Start of Authority (SOA) Record is the first record created in a zone file. It contains the serial number and how name servers get the information.

Technical Contact: Person or organization that maintains the domain name registrant’s primary name server.

Thick/Thin Registry is about quantum of information displayed on Whois for a domain name. A Thick Registry displays registrant information, administrative and technical contacts, registrar, registration/expiry dates, registration status, delegated name servers. A Thin Registry displays less information limiting it to registration status, registration/expiry date, registrar and the name servers. NiRA runs a Thick Registry.

Time To Live (TTL) is time specified for a server to cache DNS information to stay in the cache before it leaves it. This duration is set by the domain owner.

TLD: Top Level Domain, is the last label of a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), being the highest domain level in DNS. Administrators of TLDs control names which are registered at the second level in that TLD.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is a collection of protocols used to connect devices/machines to the internet or local networks. This carries out error-checking and also serves packet orderly.

Unicast Name Server is a name server with one network destination.

Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is an ICANN policy for resolution of disputes on the registration of domain names.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a collection of protocols used to connect to the Internet using applications. This is a faster protocol than TCP as it doesn't carry out error-checking but serves packet data in order.

Whois is used to search for domain name availability and domain name information. It can show the time the domain was registered, who registered it, expiry date, name servers used and security status. http://whois.nic.net.ng/ is NiRA’s whois search engine.

Whois Accuracy Program (WAP) is a verification program that will demand that the registrant details be proved authentic and not responding/verifying the details within the given time will lead to DNS suspension until fully verified.

Whois Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) is a reminder to registrants that providing false information in the Whois record can lead to cancellation of their domain name registration. On discovery of false or inexistent details especially contact details the WAP process is triggered.

Zone File is a file that contains the information of services under a domain name like e-mail, website, servers responsible for the services and subdomains.

Keep Your .ng Domain Name Registration Contact Information Current

It is advised that upon registration of a domain name, the registrant ensures the registrant contact details are accurate and current. This is important as regular email is sent to registrants on the status of their domain name(s). Thirty (30) days to expiry of your .ng domain name, for either its renewal or deletion from the system, the registrant is sent regular email by the Registry and the registrar on the status of the domain name.

It is very important you don’t ignore the reminder email for the renewal of the domain name. If you don’t receive the email from the registry on the status of your domain name, it is advised you check the contact details on the NiRA WHOIS website via the link http://whois.nic.net.ng/whois.jsp

The procedure for the NIRA WHOIS search engine can be accessed via the link https://www.nira.org.ng/images/pdf/NIRA_WHOIS_SEARCH_ENGINE_PROCEDURE.pdf .    

You are required to confirm that your contact information as the registrant, associated with your domain name is accurate and current and if not, take the necessary steps to make the corrections. It's important to keep your contact information up-to-date.

When the registration of your domain name is about to expire, an email notification is sent to the registrant contact email address. If the email address is not accurate and current, the email notifications won’t get to the registrant and the domain name registration can expire. The recovery of that domain name may take considerable length of time and can prove very expensive to recover, or it may not be recovered at all, especially if it is a good domain name in hot pursuit by other registrants.

Another important reason to keep your contact information up to date is to ensure that you receive notifications should changes be made to your domain name registration. These notifications are for your protection, so that you can verify and confirm the validity of the changes made, or take appropriate measures in the case of unauthorized changes. Hackers can use malicious means to gain access to your account and make changes to the information associated with your domain name registration to lock you out of your account and hijack your domain name. It is important to keep your domain name registration contact information up to date to protect yourself and/or your business.

Registrants must note that giving wrong information/details at registration, or failure to update registrant information promptly if there is a change could lead to total loss of the domain name. This could also happen if the registrant does not respond to notifications for renewal of the domain name when about to expire.

If any of your contact information (email, postal address, phone number, etc.) changes, contact your administrative contact to update your information against your domain name. as soon as possible to prevent disruption or loss of your domain name registration. NiRA cannot update your contact information for you as it would be a violation of the rights of the registrant; the administrative contact for your domain name is responsible to carry out the changes.

Due to the prevalence of security concerns such as phishing attacks, if you have any doubt or questions about the legitimacy of emails about your WHOIS data, you can always contact your registrar directly. If you believe you haven't been receiving reminder emails on your domain name(s), you need to contact the Registrar immediately.

The accuracy of the NiRA WHOIS is a collective responsibility of the Registry, Registrar and Registrants. We need ensure accuracy and currency of the data we are store on the .ng database.

NiRA Constitutional Review

On the 28th April 2017, the General Assembly at the 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) mandated the NiRA Board of Trustees and Board of Executive Directors to jointly midwife the NiRA Constitutional Review. The NiRA Constitutional Review Committee was constituted to handle the review process of the NiRA Constitution. The road map for the constitution committee was also duly approved by members. The Constitution Review Committee has opened the Constitution Review platform for members to make their contributions and comments towards the review of the NiRA Constitution.

The constitution review process was established in accordance with the Guidelines provided by the joint Board of Trustees and Executive Board of Directors.

Members are encouraged to submit their inputs and contribute to the development of a more robust constitution in line with the growth of NiRA and the DNS ecosystem via the platform communicated. It is an obligation for all NiRA members to contribute to the process.

Based on the correspondence emanating from the Constitution Review Committee, it is very apparent that the committee has sought all avenues to ensure open, transparent and inclusiveness of all NiRA members in the review process.

We must not neglect to appreciate Dr. Isaac Odeyemi and the initial constitution committee for their commitment in producing the earlier constitution. NIRA became stronger and more focused from the greater work of the team. The work of that team was a testimony and a model for us to build upon.

So all members are enjoined to contribute to building a stronger NiRA of the future and for the growth of the .ng brand.

I remain at your service.

 

Rev’d Sunday Folayan

President, NIRA Executive Board

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