.onion officially registered as special-use domain name by the IETF

By publishing the RFC 7686 standard, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has formally recognized the .onion domain as a special-use domain name.

“Over the last few years, The Tor Project has been working with other members of the Peer to Peer community led by Dr. Christian Grothoff, founder of the GNUnet project to register several Special-Use Domain Names,” Jacob Appelbaum shared in a blog post.

Appelbaum and Facebook’s Alec Muffet ultimately carried the banner for the .onion domain.

“IETF name reservations are part of a lesser known process that ensures a registered Special-Use Domain Name will not become a Top Level Domain (TLD) to be sold by the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),” he explained. “We’re happy to say that the first name reservation [for .onion] was just published as RFC7686.

The draft of the proposal was submitted in September, and was approved in early October.

“We think that this is a small and important landmark in the movement to build privacy into the structure of the Internet,” says Appelbaum.

With this move, not only will the .onion domain now become one that is recognized by users as having different security properties and being only available through specialized software that is aware of onion names, but queries for .onion domains will be kept away from public DNS servers and their logs, and hosts on the Tor network will be able to obtain validated SSL/TLS certificates to add to the security of the service.

“We hope that in the future we’ll see easy to issue certificates from the Let’s Encrypt project for .onion services. We also hope to see more Peer to Peer names such as .gnu registered as Special-Use-Domain-Names by the IETF,” he concluded.




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