Internet Architecture Board


Release RFC – What’s in a Name: False Assumptions about DNS Names

The RFC Editor has released RFC 4367 (Informational) on “What’s in a Name: False Assumptions about DNS Names.”
The Domain Name System (DNS) provides an essential service on the
Internet, mapping structured names to a variety of data, usually IP
addresses. These names appear in email addresses, Uniform Resource
Identifiers (URIs), and other application-layer identifiers that are
often rendered to human users. Because of this, there has been a
strong demand to acquire names that have significance to people,
through equivalence to registered trademarks, company names, types of
services, and so on. There is a danger in this trend; the humans and
automata that consume and use such names will associate specific
semantics with some names and thereby make assumptions about the
services that are, or should be, provided by the hosts associated
with the names. Those assumptions can often be false, resulting in a
variety of failure conditions. This document discusses this problem
in more detail and makes recommendations on how it can be avoided.

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