What Does Verisign Do?
Verisign’s critical yet mostly invisible role – helping to maintain the security, stability and resilience of the Domain Name System (DNS) and the internet – can sometimes be overshadowed by more visible aspects of the domain name business. The importance of what we do behind the scenes, however, helps the world connect online every day.
Verisign’s unique, proprietary DNS registration and resolution infrastructure is purpose-built for dependability in an ever-increasing cyberthreat environment. This network of hardware and specialised software, distributed globally across hundreds of points of presence, has provided uninterrupted resolution service for the .com and .net top-level domains (TLDs) – relied on by the majority of global e-commerce – for over 23 years.
With so much economic activity and so many critical online services reliant on accurate DNS navigation, any outage could have serious consequences – hence our commitment to 100% resolution availability and accuracy, and strict query response times. We also provide registry services for several other well-known TLDs, including .gov and .edu and, uniquely among registries, we operate 2 of the 13 internet root servers and maintain, digitally sign with DNSSEC, then securely distribute, the internet root zone.
Verisign also conducts and publishes critical research that enhances DNS security and stability, on topics including: name collision risks in new TLDs, cryptographic security key deployment preparedness, and unnecessary root queries due to browser design. It then develops new technologies such as qname minimisation, which enables DNS query privacy with minimal overhead.
We join, fund and support efforts led by ICANN and other industry groups to combat DNS abuse. We work with law enforcement and other authorities against DNS-related security threats and illegal activity, including COVID-19 fraud, child abuse and malicious botnets. In 2020, we took part in a successful NTIA / FDA pilot countering illegal online opioid sales, and worked closely with the FBI against COVID-19-related scams.
Under our Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the .com registry must remain content neutral – ensuring equal access to .com domain names for all legal website content, regardless of viewpoint. The Cooperative Agreement also underscores ICANN’s high specifications for operational performance, as set out in the .com Registry Agreement.
No other registry has such wide-ranging obligations to the global internet community. Subject to satisfying these obligations, we are then able to perform the more visible aspects of our business, providing registry services for .com and our other popular TLDs. At wholesale prices regulated by the U.S. government for .com, we serve the needs of over 2,000 ICANN accredited retail registrars who, in turn, sell domain names to individual or business end-users.