Managing Director: David Carroll
Nominet is a public benefit company that has operated and protected UK internet infrastructure since 1996. This expertise in the DNS has evolved into its cyber division, where Nominet helps to protect public services and digital economies through building and operating Protective DNS solutions for governments globally.
Since 2017, Nominet has delivered the UK’s Protective Domain Name Service (PDNS) on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a flagship service within the country’s Active Cyber Defence (ACD) programme. PDNS protects over seven million end users from more than 1,200 organisations delivering government services, including the NHS, central government and local authorities. In 2022, PDNS handled 0.81 trillion DNS queries and blocked 11 billion DNS queries for 420,000 domains. PDNS blocked over 5 million requests for domains associated with ransomware, a significant contribution to protecting UK organisations from this threat.
Nominet also delivers the Australian Protective Domain Name Service (AUPDNS) on behalf of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).
Nominet’s Protective DNS is designed to analyse and block DNS requests deemed malicious, offering national resilience at scale. It is based around a recursive resolver. Built to answer DNS queries, the recursive resolver does not resolve a query if the domain is known to be malicious. Nominet curates
blocklists using open-source data and third-party threat feeds combined with its own research.
Nominet invests heavily in the development of tools and techniques to detect and prevent cyber-attacks from happening. In the UK, Nominet analysts have developed techniques to identify potentially fraudulent or phishing domains for blocking by PDNS. This research has been developed into a new threat feed, using bespoke threat-detection algorithms to complement the range of
commercial and open-source intelligence employed by PDNS. In November and December 2022, this new feed blocked over 20,000 unique domains, not reported by any other feed provider.
Operating Protective DNS solutions is core to Nominet’s overarching mission: ‘To provide a world class UK namespace that the UK can rely on; operate critical national infrastructure that is safe, secure and resilient; and protect public services from cyber threat.’ Protective DNS delivers on this by providing protection against malware, ransomware, phishing attacks and viruses to the public sector organisations, ensuring they are safeguarded from cyber disruption. On a national level, Protective DNS provides governments with a holistic view of their entire threat landscapes.
Alongside running a world class UK namespace, operating critical national infrastructure and protecting public services from cyber threats, Nominet is committed to improving people’s lives through technology. Each year, Nominet pledges a large proportion of its operating surplus to support initiatives that make the world more connected, inclusive and secure, currently delivering a three-year program to invest around £60m from its surplus and operating reserves.