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VeriSign Plans $100M DNS Upgrade

As people turn to the Internet for everything from e-mail to e-commerce, so have criminals increased their online interests. To handle the growing threats, VeriSign , which manages the .com and .net domains, plans to spend $100 million to beef up security with Project Titan.

Although VeriSign said it escaped the recent attack on key Domain Name System (DNS) sites, the domain manager expects the size and scope of assaults to leap 50 percent each year in the near future.

As part of Project Titan, VeriSign plans to increase its current 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) capacity to more than 200Gbps. The company will also expand the number of daily DNS queries it can process from 400 billion to 4 trillion. VeriSign now receives 24 billion DNS queries each day.

The DNS capacity is important, because a denial of service attack often attempts to overwhelm a system flooding it with queries.

VeriSign also plans to reduce Internet latency and increase redundancy by opening more than 80 new Regional Internet Resolution sites. The new sites, in locations such as India, Germany, Chile and South Africa, will join current regional systems, including Korea, China, Brazil, Kenya and Egypt.

By 2010, there will be 1.8 billion Internet users, and there will be even more machine-to-machine growth. Within three years, most of the world's 2 billion cell phones will be Web-enabled, and "tens of millions" of households will switch to Internet phone calling and Internet television services. This will result in a 20-fold increase in Internet usage from 2000, according to a statement.

To handle an upsurge in Internet users, the domain firm will more than double the number of registration servers.

VeriSign CEO and Chairman Stratton Sclavos said "the Internet we know today is radically different than the one we knew just five years ago." Since 2000, social-networking giant MySpace, video-sharing site YouTube, and Internet phone company Vonage were founded. Search goliath Google is less than a decade old.

IDC analyst Will Stofega told internetnews.com the expansion is critical. Without it, "there's a potential for greater disruption. We've come to rely on this thing," he said, referring to the Internet.

Sclavos is expected to provide more details of VeriSign's expansion during his keynote at the RSA Conference.

Although VeriSign's two root DNS servers -- "A" and "J" -- were unaffected by the denial of service attacks targeting the 13 root domain name translation systems, the assault "illustrates the need to protect the Internet's infrastructure," a VeriSign spokesperson told internetnews.com.

The Internet must be fortified to confront the growing security threat, VeriSign said. Security threats skyrocketed 700 percent since 2000, according to Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Response Team. And VeriSign expects bandwidth requirements between 2000 and 2010 to jump by a factor of 10,000.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) extended to 2012 VeriSign's contract managing the .com domain. Along with that win came news the company would restate $250 million in earnings between 2001 to 2005 and part of 2006 due to "incorrect measurement dates."