Interisle Consulting Group

Resilient systems and networks position your organization to thrive under any circumstances—to respond dynamically to new technologies, new business opportunities, and new threats in an ever-changing world.

Interisle's world-renowned Internet and public safety networking experts know that what matters most about technology is how it helps you achieve your objectives.

We look beyond the impersonal canned solutions promoted by traditional large consulting firms, working closely with our clients to find the enduring architectural foundation that unites technology and business strategy to create sustainable value. Everything we do is focused cleanly and efficiently on your specific situation—all of our consultants are seasoned professionals with international reputations, and we don't waste your time (or money) on anything that doesn't directly benefit your business.


When the answer isn't obvious.



It's Not About the Internet (22 October 2019)
In the policy realm what we call “Internet issues” are not actually “Internet” issues&mdashthey are well-pedigreed social, political, cultural, and economic issues, for which we clever technologists have provided a rich new environment in which to grow and multiply. It follows that the people best prepared to tackle “Internet” issues may be thoughtful professionals in fields such as behavioral psychology, linguistics, sociology, education, history, ethnology, and political science&mdashnot (exclusively) “Internet experts.” Interisle principal Lyman Chapin suggests a broadly interdisciplinary approach to what have traditionally been considered “Internet” issues in an article that appears in the 50th Anniversary issue of the ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review.

Worth reading: "Moving the Encryption Policy Conversation Forward" (20 September 2019)
On September 10, the Encryption Working Group—convened under the auspices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Princeton University—issued a constructive and wise report titled "Moving the Encryption Policy Conversation Forward" This report directly addresses the increasingly heated debate over use of encryption technologies to protect privacy contrasted against the needs expressed by law enforcement to be able to conduct criminal investigations and protect public safety. Instead of adding further heat to this on-going debate, the Encryption Group has wisely recommended toning down the rhetoric, and instead focusing on problems where feasible solutions can be developed that resolve not just technical issues, but also conform to rational policies and core principles. This offers a hopeful way forward where polarized debate can be replaced with constructive cooperation toward concrete results that would benefit individuals and society at large. We hope this report is read by all players concerned with issues of privacy and legitimate access by law enforcement.

Exposing and Documenting Abusive Internet Behavior (29 April 2019)
Today's Internet is increasingly polluted by malware, phishing, scams, and other forms of abuse that degrade the online environment on which so much of our economic, social, and political lives rely. These abuses erode user confidence and inflict serious harm on individuals and organizations in every part of the world. Countering them is at the top of everyone's list. But accurate information about abusive behavior on the Internet is surprisingly hard to obtain. This frustrates efforts to protect Internet users from abuse, and to change the environment in positive, lasting ways.
ICANN's Domain Abuse Activity Reporting (DAAR) project is a system for studying and reporting on abusive behavior across top-level domain (TLD) registries and registrars. But DAAR reports only aggregated data on gTLD registries; it does not associate any metrics directly with specific registries, does not include information about registrars, and omits ccTLDs entirely. As such it does not give organizations or individuals the information they need to make decisions about how to safely and efficiently interact on the Internet. Achieving a safer Internet requires a trusted, neutral, public clearinghouse to collect, publish, and persistently store information that categorizes and quantifies Internet identifier system behavior, which can be used to deploy security measures, demonstrate the effectiveness of security or other administrative controls, inform policy makers, and conduct research.

Conservative abuse reporting throws new TLD program under the bus (19 February 2019)
ICANN has released a January 2019 domain abuse report generated from the Domain Abuse Activity Reporting system (DAAR). DAAR is a system for studying and reporting on domain name registration and security threat (domain abuse) behavior across top-level domain (TLD) registries and registrars. It provides a distribution of domains identified as security threats and a breakdown of security threats by class for all new and legacy registries for which the DAAR project can collect TLD zone data. But the report provides only aggregated summary statistics for TLDs, in pie-chart format; these “findings” are misleading and do not represent actionable intelligence. The report also omits registrar information. By failing to be open and transparent about the high levels of abuse in specific new TLDs and registrar portfolios, ICANN actively frustrates efforts to promote Universal Acceptance of domain names and email addresses and calls future new TLD delegations into question.

Read Dave Piscitello's Security Skeptic blog post: Conservative abuse reporting throws new TLD program under the bus.

APWG and M3AAWG Survey Finds ICANN WHOIS Changes Impede Cyber Investigations (20 October 2018)
Dave Piscitello's The Security Skeptic blog has a column focusing on how ICANN's "Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data" has affected access and usage of domain name registration by cyber investigators and anti-abuse service providers.

Read Dave's column and follow Dave's Security Skeptic blog.

Regulating Internet Service As a Utility: The Devil, As Always, Is in the Details (4 February 2015)
On the heels of President Obama's call last November for the FCC to take a stronger regulatory position with respect to "net neutrality," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to share a proposal with the other Commissioners tomorrow that will set up a vote 3 weeks later on new rules for Title II regulation of "Internet service." What this means, however, is not clear from the way in which terms like "net neutrality" and "Internet service" are used by reports in the popular press, such as this recent article in the New York Times:

In Net Neutrality Push, F.C.C. Is Expected to Propose Regulating Internet Service as a Utility (NYT 2/2/15)
"It is expected that the proposal will reclassify high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, under Title II of the Communications Act..."

The details are even more important than usual in this context, as Interisle's comments to the FCC ("Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet") describe — in detail. Our conclusion is that "[s]ervice providers should be required to make the telecommunications layer of their networks available to any requesting party on a common carrier basis, subject to Title II regulation, especially Sections 201, 202, 208, and 254." Read the full paper for a clear explanation of the issues.


Interisle News

October 2019
Interisle releases report on criminal domain abuse

Interisle studied the impact of bulk registration of domain names and how they aid cybercriminals with malware, ransomware, phishing, botnets and spam attacks.
In the report, we studied "bulk registration misuse" by criminal actors. Bulk registrations refers to the practice of rapidly acquiring domain names, using these in an attack, and abandoning them as if they were throw-away ("burner") phones. These domains are a critical resource for cybercriminals. 
You can read the full report: Criminal Abuse of Domain Names or just the Executive Summary.

September 2019
ICANN must do more to fight Internet security threats

ICANN is conducting a distracting debate about the kinds of events that should be described as “DNS abuse”. The instigators of this debate hope to relieve ICANN and its constituencies of responsibility for the way in which identifiers are used to inflict harm on internet users.
However convenient it may be, it is fundamentally wrong. Harmful content itself is not ICANN's concern; the way in which Internet identifiers are used to weaponize harmful content most certainly is. This falls squarely within ICANN's Bylaws obligation to operate “for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole”.
In this DomainIncite guest post, Lyman Chapin and Dave Piscitello discuss why ICANN's remit extends broadly to how a domain name (or other Internet identifier) is misused to point to or lure a user or application to content that is harmful, or to host content that is harmful. Lyman and Dave offer a pragmatic resolution to the terminology debate: adopt a term, "security threat", that is already widely used within and outside ICANN community. Use the time otherwise wasted in a pointless terminology debate to come to terms with a remit they have studiously avoided: adopt an international treaty definition for cybercrimes and collaborate with public and private sector authorities to disrupt or mitigate these threats.

September 2019
Dave Piscitello to speak at the APWG EU eCrime Research Symposium

Dave has been invited to speak at the APWG EU eCrime Research Symposium in Barcelona, Spain. The abstract for his presentation, "Expanding the scope of blocklisting to improve risk-based threat mitigation" is posted here.

August 2019
Corroborating community complaints about ICANN's CZDS approval process

Dave Piscitello ran a simple experiment to investigate complaints regarding the approvals process for ICANN's Centralized Zone Data Service (CZDS). He applied for all Top-level domains (TLDs) available from the CZDS on May 28 2019 to observe how promptly registries respond to approval requests. The approval process should be a simple check and sign off: it is for many registry operators but for others, the wait can be significant. Read more on Dave's blog.

June 2019
Whois is lost

In the aftermath of GDPR's establishment, ICANN's policies for access to domain registration data (Whois) have created adverse consequences for investigations into terrorist activities, political influence campaigns and cybercrimes, creating serious threats to public safety. In this APWG monograph, APWG Board Member and Interisle Principal Dave Piscitello explains exactly how Whois data is employed during preventative and forensic cyber investigations — and how ICANN's interpretation of GDPR in particular also delays development of programmatic machine-driven responses that are widely used to maintain public safety and are vital to the long-term viability of the Internet as a governable domain.

May 2019
EU Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems

European Union Directive 2016/1148 (NIS) is the first EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity. Although the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has received almost all of the world's attention, the impact of the NIS on network operators is potentially far greater. Interisle's Jim Reid presented On the Implementation of the EU NIS Directive at the ICANN DNS Symposium on 10 May 2019; it's an excellent introduction to the Directive and its consequences.

May 2019
Network Collective Podcast on EU GDPR

The European general data protection regulation (GDPR) went into effect nearly a year ago. The regulation applies to EU citizens and residents, but the adoption of the regulation and subsequent compliance implementations impact cybersecurity and influence business practices globally. In this podcast episode, Dave Piscitello, Brian Honan, and host Russ White discuss how the regulation has influenced risk assessment for businesses that process personal data and highlight unintended consequences resulting from efforts to comply with the regulation. Listen to Episode 50 — GDPR

April 2019
Pioneers in Skirts

Dave Piscitello recently had the opportunity to preview Pioneers in Skirts, a character-driven documentary addressing gender bias. By revealing how women have overcome bias to succeed when circumstances conspire against them, the movie seeks to encourage cultures worldwide to adopt gender parity.
We at Interisle believe that Pioneers in Skirts is an important film for every work environment, a film that speaks to the issues present in the producers work world and beyond. Please read Dave's call to support Pioneers in Skirts.

February 2019
Dave Piscitello receives the M3AAWG 2019 Mary Litynski Award

The Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) announced today that Interisle partner Dave Piscitello is the recipient of the 2019 Mary Litynski Award, which recognizes "the lifetime achievements of an individual who has significantly contributed to making the Internet safer, working far from the public eye over a significant period of time for the greater good." The Award was presented at the 45th M3AAWG meeting in San Francisco.









Privacy Statement

© Interisle Consulting Group