BrandArena: NiRA, NSRC Organize Workshop Domain Name System Security Extensions

Monday 25 March 2019

NiRA, NSRC Organize Workshop Domain Name System Security Extensions

The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) in collaboration with the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) University of Oregon hosted a three-day intensive workshop on Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) from Monday, 18th March to Wednesday, 20th March 2019 at NiRA Office Complex, 8 Funsho Williams Avenue, Iponri, Surulere, Lagos.

This workshop was hosted under the auspices of NiRA Academy (a special purpose vehicle for NiRA) in collaboration with Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC). NSRC is a nonprofit organization based at the University of Oregon and formed to support the deployment of Internet research and education networks.

The three-day DNSSEC workshop was designed for key players in the Internet community (Regulators, Internet Service Providers, Telecommunication companies, Registrars, and the academic community) who provide online services to effectively deploy DNSSEC, cryptographically protect contents online and enhance the security of the Internet.

The participants were taught about real-world threats that exploit DNS weaknesses, the risk organizations, businesses and individuals run when their DNS (Domain Name System) is not secured, the security extensions for DNS, how to enable signing & validation in the organization. The participants were guided on how to take the next steps, whether it involves deploying their own signing solution, acquiring a vendor-based solution, or using a third-party service. Participants interacted extensively with the NSRC facilitators (Mr. Joe Abley and Mr. Brian Candler) during the knowledge transfer experience. 

The workshop included a mix of presentations and Laboratory exercises on a virtual environment setup on the NSRC infrastructure. Participants welcomed the idea of strengthening the authentication in the DNS by using DNSSEC. Participants were informed that whilst DNSSEC does not entirely provide foolproof security on the Internet, it adds a layer of security on the DNS through data authentication and integrity protection.

One of the participants, Dr. Uche M. Mbanaso, Director Centre for Cyberspace, Nasarawa State University commended NiRA for organizing and bringing well experienced and global facilitators for the DNSSEC Workshop. He said the workshop was key and timely because digital space and cyber security is critical to the Nigerian economy. He noted that when Nigerians adopt our National Identity in the cyberspace (.ng). and sign it, then there would be improved trust amongst online users.

He encouraged the government to ensure that the Nations critical assets stay domiciled in Nigeria. This would give us control over our resources and increase job opportunities if managed effectively. He also said that plans are underway to collaborate with NiRA to organize a DNSSEC workshop in Nasarawa State University.

Another participant, Mr. Ahmad Mukoshy, Founder of Gigalayer said he was more than impressed with the level of experience of the facilitators as well as the in-depth hands on training. The workshop has given him confidence to take on more DNSSEC deployment initiative projects. He mentioned that prior to this workshop, Gigalayer which is a NiRA Accredited Registrar had implemented DNSSEC for a client under the generic top-level domain.

Also, Mr. Obiora Ukpaka and Mr. Hon Caleb (Galaxy Backbone) thanked NiRA for driving the DNSSEC deployment.  They recommended that NiRA draft a roadmap on how to implement DNSSEC, ensure that the implementation is user-friendly, highlight incentives for adoption and drive the adoption of DNSSEC. They offered to be one of the facilitators for future DNSSEC Workshops in the country and African continent.

The participants expressed gratitude to NiRA for organizing such an enriching workshop which would go a long way to combat cybercrime on the Internet and ensure the safety of users of the .ng domain.

During the closing ceremony, the President of NiRA, Revd. Sunday Folayan expressed appreciation to the facilitators and the entire team of NIRA led by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Edith Udeagu. He remarked that the NSRC facilitators have been training and sharing their wealth of experience across the world for the past 20 years despite their very busy schedule.

He encouraged participants to emulate them in knowledge sharing and think of how they can give their time, experience and other resources to build the next generation. It is the belief that a team from Nigeria could help other countries in Africa deploy DNSSEC. He also recommended that the participants should band together to push the frontiers.

At the end of the workshop, certificates of participation were distributed to attendees who represented various organizations including: National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone Limited, Mainone Nigeria Limited, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), VDT Communications, 9mobile Communications, Spectranet Limited, Medallion Communication Limited, Rack Center Limited, Garanntor Nigeria Limited, Whogohost Limited, Smart Web Nigeria Limited, Upperlink Limited, Gigalayer Limited, Centre for Cyberspace Nasarawa State University, Cobranet Limited, NTEL, Lufem Systems Limited, Linkserve Limited and Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA). 

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