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Dateline: 16 May 2000 Early Edition
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Dumainz Security Is A Joke
I had decided that I'd resist the temptation to slam Domainz and its incompetence for a while -- but things just keep going from bad to worse -- and since so many Net-businesses rely on the smooth operation of the Registry, the escalating level of bungling incompetence simply must be reported.

Despite the work of creative fiction released by Domainz PR spinmeister and published in yesterday's edition of Aardvark, it is clear that there are still some very real problems with the new registry.

For example -- the passwords of registrars were emailed to domain name owners as described in a story on the IDG site this morning.

Then, in an even more astounding faux pas -- the password for accessing the registration details for domainz.co.nz was also sent in an email to a totally unrelated party.

Yes -- it would appear that, at least for a while, Domainz own registration details were open to unauthorised alterations.

If Domainz can't even protect it's own passwords and information, how on earth can name-holders feel confident that their information is safe from unauthorised access or alteration?

And just in case Domainz think I'm making this up, the original password was eight characters long, began with an "m", contained a three-digit number and ended with a "t" didn't it! (naturally I'm not about to publish the password itself -- because, based on the events of recent days, they might not have changed it from that initial setting.)

It is clear that Domainz has not only a Microsoft delivery platform -- they're also strong believers in Microsoft's security model: "Security? That's a user problem!"

I've also received an almost endless stream of emails from people who have encountered problems, data errors and other problems during the change-over.

Ultimately it seems that very little in the way of good project design, management, implementation and commissioning discipline was applied to this new registry and the change-over from the old. It has been my experience that such a lack of planning and good discipline inevitably produces a system which is little more than an ever-increasing "patchwork quilt" of fixes -- much like what we're seeing right now.

Telecom Don't Have A Clue
Yesterday I rang Telecom's PR people to find out the answer to a very important question: "Will those who have been charged or already paid 2 cents/min for non-0867 calls have that money refunded?"

I was told that there was "already an offer on the table" -- a reference to the full-page ads that filled newspapers a month or so ago in which Telecom offered to waive the charges if you signed up to an 0867 ISP.

"So, now that ClearNet is going to be offering 0867 access, can we assume that ClearNet customers will automatically get those amounts refunded?" I asked.

The answer was a very non-committal "that's a policy issue we're still working on."

Despite some more probing, Telecom would not come out and say that ClearNet customers would automatically receive a refund. When I asked Clear, they were also unsure and suggested I ask Telecom.

The Telecom spindoctor said he'd ring me back with an answer later in the day -- needless to say I received no such call. Full marks to Clear's PR people though, they always follow up on such commitments.

Mind you, even though I introduced myself as "Bruce Simpson from Aardvark" when Telecom's PR receptionist answered the phone, and again introduced myself as "Bruce Simpson" to the spindoctor they allocated me -- he seemed more than a little pissed off that I hadn't told him I was Aardvark until, at the end of our conversation, he asked "and where are you from?" Maybe they have a different set of answers prepared for me -- I dunno.

So... if you're a ClearNet user, don't rely on the fact that ClearNet will now be offering 0867 access as a guarantee that you'll be refunded the Internet tax you've already been billed or paid. It would very much appear that Telecom would still rather that you joined up with anyone but ClearNet before you get your money back.

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