February 17, 2021

PIR Launches New Institute to Combat DNS Abuse

Reston, VAPublic Interest Registry, the People behind .ORG, today launched the DNS Abuse Institute as part of its ongoing efforts to protect Internet users from the threat of DNS Abuse such as malware, botnets, phishing, pharming, and spam. 

The Institute will bring together leaders in the anti-abuse space to fund research, publish recommended practices, share data, and provide tools to identify and report DNS Abuse. Graeme Bunton, who has more than a decade of experience working in the DNS and DNS Abuse policy, will serve as the DNS Abuse Institute’s inaugural director. 

“The stability and security of the Domain Name System is of paramount importance, and that’s why PIR has been working to address the issue of DNS Abuse for many years,” said Jon Nevett, President and CEO of PIR.  “Today, we take these efforts to a new level with the launch of the DNS Abuse Institute.  Under the leadership of inaugural director Graeme Bunton, the Institute will help develop meaningful solutions, practices, and shared knowledge to combat DNS Abuse, not just for .ORG, but across the DNS.”

“I look forward to working with stakeholders across the DNS community to find ways to share best practices, develop collaborative solutions, and develop innovative tools to stop abuse,” said Bunton. “DNS Abuse continues to be a significant challenge, so addressing this issue is more important now than ever.”

PIR has long been committed to combating DNS Abuse.  In 2019, the organization helped spearhead the Framework to Address Abuse that sets forth registries’ and registrars’ responsibilities when it comes to addressing DNS Abuse.  PIR has also launched its Quality Performance Index (QPI) program to use data and KPIs to identify ways to promote and incentive .ORG domain quality and disincentivize abusive registrations.

Now, PIR launches this new Institute to support the broader DNS community as part of its non-profit mission.  As part of this initiative, the Institute is forming an advisory council with expert representation from interested stakeholders across issues related to DNS Abuse.

In addition, the Institute will hold its first forum this spring featuring anti-abuse experts:

State of DNS Abuse: Trends from the last three years and current landscape
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
16:00-17:30 UTC

The DNS Abuse Institute will focus on three foundational areas—innovation, collaboration and education.

Innovation — The Institute will drive innovation in the DNS when it comes to combating abuse.  The Institute will create recommended practices with solutions for registries and registrars of varying sizes and resources, provide qualified parties with funding to conduct innovative research on cybersecurity and DNS Abuse related issues, and develop practical solutions to combat DNS Abuse.

Education — The Institute will serve as a resource for all interested stakeholders related to DNS Abuse. This includes maintaining a resource library of existing information and practices regarding DNS Abuse identification and mitigation, promulgating abuse reporting standards (e.g., what is needed for a “good” notification on abuse), and publishing academic papers and case studies on DNS Abuse.

Collaboration — The Institute will serve as a networking forum and a central sharing point for all interested stakeholders related to DNS Abuse issues. Collaboration with technical and academic organizations working in the DNS Abuse space, registries, registrars, and security researchers will help enable the entire DNS to be better equipped to fight DNS abuse.

In support of these goals, the Institute has created a support line to help registries and registrars with questions relating to a DNS Abuse issue. This is an opt-in and confidential program provided at no cost.  To learn more about the support line, contact supportline@dnsabuseinstitute.org.

To learn more about the Institute, visit www.dnsabuseinstitute.org.

Industry Support for the DNS Abuse Institute

Göran Marby, President and CEO, ICANN  

“I’d like to congratulate Public Interest Registry for establishing the DNS Abuse Institute.  We hope it will continue to foster the necessary dialogue across the range of stakeholders who share the goal of combating DNS abuse, and will eagerly follow the Institute’s work as it develops.”

Steve Crocker, Edgemoor Research Institute, Former Chair ICANN

“DNS Abuse remains a substantial challenge, and it will take a broad range of stakeholders to come together to address it collaboratively. I want to thank PIR for leading in this space and launching this new Institute. I believe that the DNS Abuse Institute can serve as a central forum for bringing together concerned parties to discuss DNS Abuse and related issues.”

Elliot Noss, CEO, Tucows 

“As the DNS industry participates in these rapidly changing times, we are excited to work with the new DNS Abuse Institute to help make the Internet a better place.  We think that Graeme is the right person for the job and look forward to working together with the rest of the industry on these thorny problems. Together we all can lead on behalf of the Open Internet.”

Bertrand de La Chapelle, Executive Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

“The creation of the DNS Abuse Institute is a natural progression from the foundations laid by the work of the Internet and Jurisdiction Policy Network’s Domains and Jurisdiction Program and the concrete outcomes its Contact Group produces. We look forward to working with the Institute to develop further guidance that can be widely adopted to help address abuses through action at the DNS level.  Congratulations to PIR on this substantial achievement, and we wish the Institute the best of luck in this worthy endeavor.” 

Peter Van Roste, General Manager, CENTR 

“Technical abuse in the DNS is a critical issue that should be addressed by the entire DNS community. We applaud Public Interest Registry for its creation of the DNS Abuse Institute. CENTR and its members look forward to participating in broad discussions and contributing our expertise on these important topics.”

David Redl and Fiona Alexander, Salt Point Strategies

“Congratulations to PIR for launching the DNS Abuse Institute.  This is a big step in the right direction.  The Institute will serve as a catalyst and help bring together actors from across the DNS community to address DNS Abuse in its many forms.  We look forward to participating in this important effort.”


Leslie Daigle, Global Technology Officer, Global Cyber Alliance

“The Global Cyber Alliance is focused on providing businesses and governments the tools they need to slow and stop DNS Abuse.  We see the new Institute as highly complementary to our efforts.  It will help bring the DNS community together and build alignment about what needs to be done to fight abuse of the DNS.”

About PIR

.ORG is the original purpose-driven “generic” top-level domain (gTLD) with more than 10 million domain names registered worldwide. .ORG is open to everyone, providing a global platform for organizations, associations, clubs, businesses, and individuals to bring their ideas to life. For more than 30 years, .ORG has built an enduring legacy of trust, preserving an open and secure Internet where diverse communities can establish a trusted online identity and freely share ideas. .ORG is powered by the non-profit Public Interest Registry (PIR). PIR has been a champion for a free and open Internet with a clear mission to be an exemplary domain name registry, provide a trusted digital identity, and help educate those who dedicate themselves to improving our world. PIR was founded by the Internet Society (internetsociety.org) in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA. Visit www.thenew.org for more information.

Media contact:  Scott Gerber, scott@vrge.us, 408-202-4255