VeriSign expands Project Titan with new security upgrades

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VeriSign, Inc. a leading provider of Internet infrastructure for the networked world, has expanded ts Project Titan initiative to include additional security upgrades aimed at strengthening its global Internet infrastructure. 

When it initially unveiled Project Titan in February 2007, VeriSign announced plans to increase capacity of the .com and .net Domain Name Systems (DNS) by 10 times by 2010, and the development of new proprietary technologies and processes. Now, VeriSign is announcing the deployment of additional proprietary security upgrades and monitoring tools to identify, track and isolate malicious Internet traffic generated from cyber attacks. 

VeriSign is working to stay ahead of the constantly changing demands on its Internet infrastructure and threats to its security, said Ken Silva, chief technology officer at VeriSign. The first stage of Project Titan was focused on the speed of the Internet and range of our infrastructure. This next stage will focus on ensuring that the level of security exceeds demands, such as new attacks coming from wireless devices, to keep the infrastructure stable and operational. 

VeriSign focuses on Internet security and stability because of the critical role the Internet plays in commerce, communications and government operations. According to an International Chamber of Commerce study released this month, a survey of over 1,000 economic experts from 90 countries said that a one-day Internet blackout would mean that "businesses would suffer major losses and costly damage which would have huge and lasting effects." 

In the last year, the Internet has experienced new and evermore complex forms of cyber attacks and disruptions. For example, government servers in Estonia came under fierce attack last summer, effectively crippling Web site operations there. And in February, an effort by a Pakistani telecom provider to block YouTube.com in that country effectively disrupted access for many global users to the popular site.   

According to the "Internet Security Outlook Report" issued by CA Inc., social networks and Web 2.0 services and sites are increasingly becoming the targets for cyber attacks. A Trojan horse on the iPhone is the latest example of how hand-held devices are increasingly a target. The U.S. Government last week said that "real and growing" threats to computer networks and the infrastructure were the focus of the recent Cyber Storm II simulated cyber-security exercises involving government agencies, private companies and security experts to test response to threats. 

Building on its initiative to expand and diversify the capacity of its global Internet infrastructure by 10 times by the year 2010, VeriSign announced it would expand its existing security by:

 

  • Implementing next generation monitoring and response services.  Deploying these tools, developed by VeriSign as part of the Project Titan security initiatives, will improve the ability to detect, isolate, and stop security threats to protect the .com and .net provisioning and resolution systems. The tools are designed to assist in warding off threats at their early stages before they are able to damage and compromise networks, platforms and devices.
  • Implementing new security and operational protocols to better manage traffic flow and increased protection against application-type attacks.  Deployment of these enhancements are intended to mitigate the risk of service disruption from attacks that use the behavior of protocols such as TCP and HTTP that consume computational resources in order to overload critical systems.
  • Implementing new tools to track, correlate and pinpoint security and network related events on a global basis. The ability to identify various attack vectors against the .com and .net infrastructure will assist in enabling early elimination of threats to reduce the potential for repeated incidents and threat of larger scale attacks.
  • As announced during recent industry meetings, VeriSign is making enhancements to the root server infrastructure which will increase the security of DNS by authenticating the origin of DNS data and verifying its integrity while moving across the Internet. VeriSign will implement a DNS Security (DNSSEC) testbed for the root zone infrastructure to prepare for production systems.   DNSSEC can help combat compromised data in name servers, which could then be used to launch damaging attacks against users, enterprises and the Internet core itself.  As the publisher of the DNS root zone, VeriSign plans to launch this testbed to help enable the root zone to anchor a global chain of trust for TLD registry operators who implement DNSSEC within their TLDs and registrars who provide DNSSEC services for their customers.

In addition to managing the A and J root servers, VeriSign manages the critical infrastructure that handles registration and resolution traffic for the .com and .net top-level domains. In doing so, VeriSign processes an average peak of more than 33 billion Domain Name System (DNS) queries per day that can periodically spike to nearly double that. A DNS query occurs every time an Internet user accesses a Web site, clicks on a Web link, or sends email from their computer.

As part of the Project Titan initiative, VeriSign continues to make structural upgrades to the Internet infrastructure:

 

  • Additional network operations centers in the eastern United States and Northern Europe to manage and provide increased redundancy for Internet traffic. These sites expand VeriSigns data center capacity and diversify its locations to improve Internet traffic management and counter region-specific cyber attacks and threats. 
  • Increasing its daily Domain Name System (DNS) query capacity from 400 billion queries a day to more than 4 trillion queries a day and scaling its proprietary constellation of resolution systems to increase their bandwidth from over 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) to greater than 200 Gbps. 
  • Distributing its infrastructure to more than 100 locations around the globe to provide redundancy and reduced latency that improves the experience for users by reducing bottlenecks and increasing speed.  VeriSign has already deployed these Regional Internet Resolution Sites (RIRS) in more than 45 locations globally and will complete the implementation of more than 100 by 2010. RIRS extend the .com, .net and root infrastructures across the world, which diversifies the systems, increases stability and improves resolution speed for end users.

First announced a year ago, Project Titans aim is to increase and protect the capabilities of VeriSigns Internet infrastructure. VeriSigns current financial projections include the costs associated with Project Titan.   

 

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), operates Internet infrastructure services that enable and protect billions of interactions every day across the worlds voice, video and data networks.

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