/ Glossar

nic.at Glossary

The glossary is an alphabetical list of domain- and internet-specific terms with definitions for those terms.


ASCII stands for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange" and is a 7-bit character code. It defines 128 characters (95 printable and 33 non-printable characters). The printable characters include: 26 Latin letters (A-Z, a-z), ten Arabic numerals (0-9), punctuation marks and other special characters. Every character is assigned a bit pattern made up of 7 bits which, today, is almost always extended to a 8-bit code. More information is available on Wikipedia.

A botnet is a collection of computer programmes that run automatically on linked data processors. As a result of unnoticed infections, the computing powers of thousands of devices can be utilised and abused for criminal purposes.

Cache Poisoning (or DNS Spoofing) is an IT security attack on the Domain Name System, is stored in the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) cache, thus diverting other internet users to an incorrect IP address.

A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is a country-specific top-level domain, such as .at, .de, .ch etc. There are over 200 ccTLDs, each country being assigned a two letter code in accordance with standardised country codes. (The United Kingdom is an exception; its ISO code is GB, but it uses the top-level domain .uk.) You can find an overview of all the available ccTLDs and gTLDs on the IANA website.

CENTR stands for Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries and constitutes an association organising all European ccTLD registries. As a non-profit organisation, it is CENTR's main task to represent ccTLD interests to ICANN. CENTR also regularly hosts expert conferences on the technical, organisational and legal issues of operating ccTLD registries and documents "best-practice" cases of the almost 40 members.

CERT.at is the Austrian national CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team). As such CERT.at is the contact partner for IT security in the national environment. It creates a network between other CERTs and CSIRTs (Computer Security Incident Response Teams) operating in the areas of critical infrastructure, ICT (Informations and communication technology), and issues warnings, alerts and tips for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). In the case of significant online attacks against national Austrian infrastructure, CERT.at will coordinate the response by the targeted operators and local security teams In 2016, a separate Austrian Energy CERT was established, dedicated to strengthening the IT security competencies of critical infrastructure in the Austrian electricity and gas industry.

A domain name is a name under a top-level domain (TLD), such as name.at, that is globally unique throughout the Internet and that can be freely chosen in accordance with certain rules. In the case of TLDS, a distinction is made between generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .org or .info and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .at and .de. In addition, they are what is known as "new top-level domains" (new gTLDs). This category comprises all generic domains introduced from March 2013. Examples include .blog, .shop. or .wien.

Domain hijacking is the illegitimate takeover of a domain, its contents or a user account (e.g. banks, e-mail, Facebook, etc.) There are different ways in which this takeover can occur. Common examples are:

Domain name hijacking: Attempt to secure a domain name by a lawsuit or legal measures. (In case of more or less legal acquisition of a domain name, this is also referred to as domain grabbing.)
Domain Name System Hijacking: DNS query responses are maliciously diverted and supply incorrect responses.
Network hijacking: A poorly protected server is taken over.
Type-writing hijacking: The attempt to lure users to other websites using names that are similar to popular websites or that result from typos.
One way to carry out this attack is to amend entries in the registry database using hacked registrar access data. Reports about such incidents are becoming more frequent, mostly they concern attractive domains with a lot of traffic such as Google, the New York Times or Twitter. But this is only one of many threat scenarios domain registries have to contend with.

Distributed Denial of Service Attack signifies that the Domain Name System (DNS) is abused to make servers and services or domains unavailable by deliberately overloading them.

DNS stands for Domain Name System and is an Internet protocol that provides name resolution in the Internet, thus directing to the correct processor. The DNS is comparable to a telephone directory: The Internet user knows the domain and sends a request to the Internet by entering the URL into a browser. The DNS then converts the URL into the related IP address and directs to the correct processor.

DNS spoofing (or cache poisoning) is an IT security attack on the domain name system, is stored in the Internet service provider's (ISP) cache and thus redirects other Internet users to a wrong IP address.

Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) is an XML-based standard protocol that provides automatic communication between registries and registrars.

The EuroDig (European Dialogue on Internet Governance) has been an annually recurring discussion platform on the European level for questions relating to Internet Governance since 2008. It is based on the IGF (Internet Governance Forum) approach that was initiated in 2005 during the World Summit on the Information Society. In many countries, these platforms also exist on a national level, such as the Internet Governance Forum Austria.

generic top-level domains (gTLD), such as .com, .net, .tirol, .berlin are made up of three of more characters and stand for a concept or term. The IANA website provides an overview of all the available gTLDs and ccTLDs.

IANA stands for Internet Assigned Names and Numbers and is part of the Non-Profit-Organisation ICANN which is responsible for the assignment of unique names and addresses on the internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a non-profit organisation with the aim of maintaining the security, stability and resilience of the Domain Name System (DNS). ICANN coordinates the assignment of unique names and addresses on the internet and the coordination of the Domain Name System and the allocation of IP addresses. This function is also referred to as IANA (Internet Assigned Names and Numbers).

Essentially, the Internet can only use ASCII characters: 26 Latin letters, ten digits and the hyphen. Nonetheless, umlauts and special characters can still occur in domain names. For .at domains, options extend to 34 characters that are all defined in the character table - also IDN (Internationalized Domain Name). The domain contract is based on IDN characters (not the ACE string).

The Internet Governance Forum is based on a decision made by the World Summit on the Information Society held on 18 November 2005 (in Tunis) and was established in 2006. The IGF serves as a discussion platform for issues relating to Internet Governance. The same exists on a European level (EuroDig), and in many countries on a national level as well, such as the Internet Governance Forum Austria.

Every device connected to the Internet receives an IP address (Internet Protocol) in order to make the device available. The IP address can be assigned to a single recipient or a group of recipients. One computer can be assigned to several IP addresses.

Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA) is the umbrella organisation of the Austrian Internet industry. Its intention is to create the best economic and legal conditions for the development of the Internet. ISPA was established as a registered association in 1997 and represents the interests of more than 200 members from all Internet industry sectors today.

A handle is a numerical code that refers to a related person and such person's data at nic.at, comparable to a customer number. A nic.at handle consists of two to four letters, followed by digits and -NICAT (e.g. SB10312596-NICAT). Usually, the first letters are the initials of the person or organisation.

Dan Kaminsky discovered a fundamental flaw in the DNS (Domain Name System) protocol in July 2008. He illustrated that a loophole in the DNS allowed web users to be redirected to any other site. At first glance, the website in question seems familiar, when actually, the user has been directed to a deceptively genuine-looking phishing page that allows cyber criminals to access sensitive data on a computer or network.

Computer programmes that execute malicious functions are referred to as malware (also evilware or junkware). Their primary purpose is remote controllability and not necessarily distribution, as is the case with Trojan horses and other viruses.

The MX record (or mail exchange resource record MX-PR) defines the mail server responsible for the domain, thus relating exclusively to e-mail services (SMTP).

Top-level domains are divided into two categories: ccTLDs (country code top-level domain), like .at, .de, .ch and gTLDs (generic top-level domain) like .com or .info etc. In addition there are what is known as "new top-level domains" (new gTLDs). This category comprises all generic domains introduced from March 2013. Examples include .blog, .shop. or .wien. The IANA website provides an overview of all the top-level domains available.

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain user access data to online services. Such attacks occur mainly via fake websites, e-mails or instant messages. Typically, phishers attempt to mimic the Internet presence of trusted websites.

A registrant is the holder of a domain. Among other information, our Whois query provides you with information about the domain holder (registrant) of the .at domain.

A registrar is an Internet service provider that registers domain names. The registrar acts as an intermediary for the services of a registry and often sells not only domains, but also web space and additional Internet-related services.

A registry (Network Information Center NIC or Domain Name Registry) is an organisation or company responsible for assigning one or several top-level domains (e.g. nic.at for .at, DENIC for .de, punkt.wien GmbH for .wien). The responsibilities of a registry include operation of the name servers, administration of the name zone (e.g. .at zone), and operation of the Whois server with the contact data of the domain holders. Most registries do not assign domain names directly to end users, but to registrars. Registries such as nic.at or DENIC also offer registrar services for end users.

A second-level domain refers to the letter combination between the first and second dot, reading from right to left. Examples in Austria are: .co.at, .or.at, .ac.at und .gv.at

Social engineering (or social hacking) refers to the manipulation of people with the aim of obtaining data or of motivating them to some kind of action (e.g. disclosure of confidential information, access data, ...). Mostly these attacks occur via telephone calls, during which the social engineers impersonate e.g. engineers and ask for access data. The attackers often collect relevant information about their victims in advance which builds trust during the personal conversations and helps them appear to be "insiders".

A top-level domain is the combination of letters after the first dot, reading from right to left. A distinction is made between ccTLDs (country code top-level domain), such as e.g. .at, .de, .ch and gTLDs (generic top-level domain) such as e.g. .com or .info etc. In addition, there are what is known as "new top-level domains" (new gTLDs). This category comprises all generic domains introduced from March 2013. Examples include .blog, .shop. or .wien. The IANA website provides an overview of all the top-level domains available.


Glossary overview (A-Z)