February 2013 archive

Is The “VoIP” in “VoIP Security” Still The Right Term?

VoipqShould we still be talking about “VoIP security”? Or should we be using some other language?

Back when we started VOIPSA in 2005, “voice over IP (VoIP)” was the term we all were using, but as we look at what kind of activities come next, we’re starting to wonder if we should be talking about “communications security” a bit differently.

For starters, in the past 8 years we’ve moved far beyond simply “voice” into video over IP, text messaging over IP, data sharing over IP… all within a single communications session. Is that still “VoIP”?

Beyond that, we’ve seen a range of other terms coming into usage, including:

  • unified communications (UC)
  • real-time communications (RTC)
  • cloud communications
  • IP communications

and many more. Plus new technologies are out that have pushed “VoIP” beyond its traditional proprietary protocols and the open standard of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). We’ve seen the strong emergence of XMPP (Jabber) and its related “Jingle” protocol. We’ve seen the explosion of interest in the WebRTC / RTCWEB protocols and tools.

Are all of those “VoIP”? Or are they something more?

Should we be talking about…

  • UC security?
  • real-time communications security?
  • IP communications security?

Or perhaps just plain old “communications security”? (or is that too generic?) I’ve seen some people talking about “SIP security”, but now that is specific to a single protocol.

Or is “VoIP security” still an okay term to use?

What do you think? What do you use? What do you hear vendors and others using? How should we be talking about securing all these many ways we have to communicate now over IP networks?

Please do let us know either as comments here or out on social networks. (Thanks!)

The International Space Station’s Canadian Music Video Collaboration – and Google+ Hangout (Featured Blog)


Video: WCVB’s "Chronicle" Shows Petersham Curling Club

Wcvb curlingHere's a fun little video piece about curling... Boston's WCVB TV station as part of their "Chronicle" show did a segment where Petersham, Mass., was their "mystery town". In the third segment they show the Petersham Curling Club where I curl on Tuesday nights in the Men's League and coach the "Little Rockers" on Saturday mornings. The curling portion is after the part about the monastery (which I've always wondered about since I drive right by it to get to the curling club) and a piece about a local B&B.

Very cool to see and I hope some folks in the region will come on over to the PCC to try out curling!

P.S. Curling also got a brief view in the fourth segment where the "mystery town" was revealed to be Petersham. (Pronounced "Peter's ham".)

Use Google+? Join the Github and Git Communities

Github community on Google+Are you a Google+ use who is also interested in the git version control system and the Github hosting service?  If so, there are two of the new “communities” in Google+ that you may find of interest:

In the short time communities have been around on Google+, I’ve already found both of these communities to have very useful information and links in them related to Git and Github.  Well worth checking out and joining if you are a regular Google+ user.

And if you are a Google+ user, why not connect with me there?

P.S. We can also connect on Github.

"Catching Up With Dan York" On The VUC Call Tomorrow At Noon US Eastern – Please Join Us!

VucWant to learn more about what I'm doing these days? Both with my work with the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme as well as other various projects? And what any of that has to do with VoIP and real-time communications these days?

If so, join us tomorrow, Friday, March 1, at 12 noon US Eastern on the "VoIP Users Conference (VUC)". You can join a Google+ Hangout, or call in via:

  • sip:200901@login.zipdx.com
  • +1 (646) 475-2098
  • Skype:vuc.me

There's also an IRC backchannel where links are shared, questions are answered and other comments occur.

As long time readers know, I've been a huge fan of - and participant in, when I've been able to - the VUC calls and community that Randy Resnick has been spearheading since March 2007.

I don't remember when precisely I first started joining in... maybe sometime in 2007 or 2008. In those early days (and still today) it was a great place to discuss open source telephony solutions like Asterisk, Freeswitch and others. The VUC became a place where many of us gathered weekly to learn about the latest technologies from various projects or vendors... and just to chat about various topics relating to VoIP, Unified Communications, SIP and whatever else. We'd get down in the weeds in really geeky discussions about wideband audio... and then get into higher level discussions about trends in VoIP and UC.

When I was at Voxeo for four years, the VUC calls were a way to connect with the telephony developer community - and in fact there were several VUC sessions related to various Voxeo Labs products and services. There were also a couple of VUC sessions relating to IPv6 and several relating to security in which I was a participant (including discussion of my UC security book at one point). It's been a great community and several good friendships have evolved out of meeting people within the VUC world.

When I joined the Internet Society back in September 2011, my attention shifted rather dramatically away from VoIP as I focused more on IPv6, DNSSEC and now routing resiliency/security (and the drop-off in posts here at Disruptive Telephony was also apparent), but VoIP has always been a strong interest and I continued to dip into VUC episodes now and then.

For the last, oh, 6 or 7 months (or maybe 9 or 10!) Randy's been repeatedly asking me if I would be the guest on a VUC episode to talk about all the various stuff I've been up to. His persistence finally wore me down and I agreed to a date... hence the show tomorrow. :-)

Given the conversational nature of the VUC shows, I suspect we'll probably travel all over various topics. There's an abstract up that says this:

Dan York has been a member of the VUC community for many years now but he’s been away for a bit and in this episode we’ll learn about what he’s doing now and how it relates to VoIP and UC. We’ll talk about his work with the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme related to IPv6, DNSSEC and routing resiliency (and touch on what exactly the Internet Society is all about) as well as his views on WebRTC and some of the other standards relating to real-time communications being developed within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). We’ll also cover Dan’s favorite topic of VoIP security and some of the changes that are being seen there. We’ll probably also talk about some of Dan’s other activities and interests related to podcasting and social media.

How much of that we actually discuss will be an open question.

You're welcome to join us... we always do take questions from people calling in to the show and also via the IRC channel. This time there will also be a Google+ Hangout so people will get to see my smiling face! ;-)

And yes, for better or worse it will be archived for posterity for later listening/viewing...

P.S. If you'd like to join the VUC "community" yourself, a great way beyond attending the calls is to join the "IP Communications & VoIP" Community on Google+, as a lot of good interaction happens there.

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Video – DNSSEC: What Every Sysadmin Should Be Doing To Keep Things Working (USENIX LISA)

DNSSEC session at LISA '12At the USENIX LISA ’12 conference in December 2012, Roland Van Rijswijk of SURFnet gave a great talk titled “DNSSEC: What Every Sysadmin Should be Doing to Keep Things Working” where he talks about how you are perhaps already using DNSSEC – and what you need to do to make sure it keeps working. Roland’s an enjoyable presenter and I think you’ll enjoy his session. The presentation is available in both video and audio at:


His slides are also available for download.

I’d note, too, that Roland is one of the people involved with SURFnet’s excellent white paper on deploying DNSSEC validation on recursive caching name servers that is definitely worth a read for anyone looking to deploy DNSSEC validation within your network.

So What Shall I Call This “Podcast”?

What do I call this series of short audio commentaries I've been recording at SoundCloud? The good news is that I've been accepted into SoundCloud's beta program to try out their podcasting features for spoken word podcasters. The bad news is that I need to lock down a name for use in RSS feeds, etc. The challenge is that I don't want a name that is too limiting as I want to leave it open for me to comment on virtually any topic. I thought about "Raw Random Audio", but it was pointed out to me that that name doesn't even communicate that it is spoken commentary - it could be electronic noise! I like Dameon Welch-Abernathy's name of "Phoneboy Speaks" as it communicates that it is a person speaking and that the person is probably technical (or at least likes phones), but I'm not terribly keen on "Dan York Speaks" or any of a hundred variations I've played with. I'm still struggling ... if you've got any thoughts I'd love to hear them, either as comments here, on social networks or via email to dyork@lodestar2.com

Internet Society Hiring Marketing Communication Manager – Apply Now!

Isoc logoDo you want to ensure that the Internet remains "open" for everyone? Would you like to work for a global nonprofit organization focused on promoting "the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world"? Would you like to work with me[1] and the other great people we have on our staff?

If you have a marketing / communications background, the Internet Society is looking for a "Marketing Communications Manager" based in our Reston, Virginia, USA, office. Full details and information about how to apply can be found here:


The Internet Society (also known as "ISOC") is an excellent organization[2] working on a wide range of activities related to the development of Internet access, public policy around Internet governance and open standards and the key technologies underlying the Internet. We have a simple vision that "The Internet is for everyone" and that underpins everything we do. Our latest business plan lays out our priorities for the next few years and if you take a look you'll see we're active all around the world.

A key element of all that work is to increase the capacity of our Communications team - and this new role is a key element of that.

I hope that some of you reading this will take a look and strongly consider applying!

There are a great many battles out there for the future of the Internet... and we need people who can help us get our messages out!

[1] To be clear on how I fit in here, I should note that while I am involved with external communications for the Internet Society, it is through the Deploy360 Programme, one of the programs of an internal team known as the "Deployment & Operationalization (DO) Team". You can read more about why I joined ISOC and what I am doing there. I work with people on the Communications team and so you would be one of the people with whom I would potentially work - but there are also 70+ other employees scattered around the world.

[2] I was a member of the Internet Society long before I became a staff person in September 2011.

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FIR #692 – 2/25/13 – For Immediate Release

Trying Diigo as Delicious alternative; Quick News: New York Times digital innovations, why podcasting should be the PR consultant's best friend, slow video dooms views, ad creep reaches thighs of young Japanese women; Ragan promo; News That Fits: 2012 Inc. 500 social media report, Michael Netzley's Asia report, CIPR's state of the profession, Media Monitoring Minute from CustomScoop, listener comments, how Maker's Mark turned a social media smackdown into a win, Dan York's report, Google penalizes UK sites that sell links; music from David Cyr; and more.

Canada Joins The DNSSEC World – Sign Your .CA, Eh?

Toy beaver from .CACongratulations to our friends up North in Canada for the DNSSEC signing of the .CA domain, joining the ever-growing list of top-level domains (TLDs) that are securing their DNS records with DNSSEC!  As Jacques Latour of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) outlined in a CIRA blog post they took some time to ensure their system was resilient:

We wanted to create a comprehensive DNSSEC validation process, so we took a different approach to sign .CA that takes into account several known DNSSEC-related issues that affect its operation. Our approach addresses these issues, and we believe we have developed a resilient solution that will result in high availability/no outages.

We created dual independent signing engines using Bind and OpenDNSSEC. There were a few challenges along the way. For example, Bind and OpenDNSSEC produce different, although valid signed zone files and both handle signing differently. These challenges, though, were worth overcoming. The end product will not only be an improved system for .CA, but we’re blazing a new trail here – the global Internet community will benefit from this work.

It’s great that CIRA went through this effort and we look forward to learning from them as they share more information about what they did.

Now, publishing the signed .CA zone is just the first step in enabling DNSSEC for .CA domains.  They still have some work to do before they can begin accepting DS records from registrars that support DNSSEC.  Their stated goal is to complete that work this year so that in 2014 they can begin accepting signed domains.

In the meantime, we’ve been told that people who can sign and host their .CA domains can contact CIRA at  cira-dnssec@cira.ca to find about how to manually get their DS record into the .CA zone.

This is great work and we look forward to seeing more about DNSSEC and .CA over this year.  CIRA has published a DNSSEC page with information. Over on Dark Reading, David Schwartzberg also wrote about Canada joining the DNSSEC party.

Congrats, again, to Jacques Latour and the whole team at CIRA!

P.S. And yes, I did pick up the toy beaver in the photo from a .CA booth at a conference… having lived in Canada for 5 years I enjoy that the .CA team can have some fun with some of the Canadian stereotypes. :-)