Nominet cyber division to tackle security ‘blindspot’

5th December 2018


Oxford, UK: Nominet, the company operating at the heart of the UK’s internet infrastructure, today announced the launch of Nominet Cyber Security. Nominet Cyber Security aims to address a gap in how organisations approach their cyber-security caused by overlooking the potential of real-time DNS analytics to pinpoint threats.

The division will spearhead Nominet’s international expansion strategy for cyber, and brings together a dedicated product development team, an expanding sales team, a cyber research team and leading industry advisors.

Every organisation uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to connect to the Internet. Every web page to be accessed, email, and IoT device uses DNS in some way as it is a foundational part of the way the Internet works. Criminals inevitably use DNS for a range of activities, including malware communications, data exfiltration and targeted phishing. Each one of those attacks leaves a tell-tale sign. However, relatively few organisations are aware that the technology now exists to effectively ‘listen’ to the DNS, isolating the threat hiding within huge datasets.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, comments: “We believe our technology represents a fundamental shift in a disparate and overwhelming security landscape, removing the burden on hard-pressed security teams and providing greater visibility by operating at a deeper level to pinpoint threats, more quickly.”

The Cyber Division will bring the new NTX platform to market. NTX is hosted in the cloud and sits at the heart of the network – monitoring the vast amount of DNS traffic that flows into and out of an organisation as part of daily business. A unique application combines patented compression techniques, analysis and advanced heuristics to spot anomalies that are a marker of malicious traffic. Once it spots these behaviours, it can automatically sever and blacklist problematic connections.

NTX is being used by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre as part of its Active Defence programme to great effect, stopping 5000 malicious traffic requests every week, countering malware, phishing and data exfiltration attacks.

The technology is a result of Nominet’s expertise running the .UK internet infrastructure over the last 22 years. Early versions of the technology helped identify security vulnerabilities and helped the internet community and law enforcement tackle significant botnets.

Simon McCalla, CTO, Nominet says: “You can’t fight what you can’t see. The traffic on your network is a goldmine of intelligence for security teams, but only if you have visibility when it matters. Our approach is about real-time DNS threat detection and blocking. In a fast-moving threat landscape, speed of response is crucial. The key is instant detection of the needle in the haystack – isolating a single malicious packet hidden inside vast quantities of legitimate enterprise data.”

Nominet is targeting both enterprise and public sector clients in the UK, EMEA and the USA. Nominet’s drive into cyber security is being supported by dedicated hires across sales, marketing and R&D. It also includes the formation of an advisory panel, which includes John Noble MBE, and leading DNS expert Steve Crocker, who are committed to working closely with Nominet to grow and differentiate the business in a new market.

Nominet Cyber Security will be headquartered in Oxford, with dedicated teams in London and the USA.

Russell Haworth, said: “The launch of this new division underlines the belief we have in our cyber security capabilities and our intention to invest in making it a success. We’ve had strong interest in the work we have done work with the UK Government and have our sights set on expanding our footprint overseas.”

More details on NTX platform can be found here.

Notes to editors: For Nominet media enquiries please contact Anthony Dalton or Tom Knock at FieldHouse Associates.

About Nominet

Nominet is driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online. For 20 years, Nominet has run the .UK internet infrastructure, developing an expertise in the Domain Name System (DNS) that now underpins sophisticated network analytics used by governments and enterprises to mitigate cyber threats. The company provides registry services for top level domains and is working to apply its expertise to a range of emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles, and new tools to support dynamic spectrum management to help meet the increasing demand on spectrum bandwidth, not least for 5G.
A profit with a purpose company, Nominet supports initiatives that contribute to a vibrant digital future and has donated over £45 million to tech for good causes since 2008, benefitting more than 10 million people. www.nominet.uk

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