We've set out our impact in the fields of economic growth, internet security and stability, and digital inclusion. Scroll down to look at the individual impact fields.
We ensure that .nl domain names can be reached by internet users everywhere, and that they are quick and easy to register, competitively priced, reliable and stable. With 1.4 million business domain names, .nl is very important for The Netherlands Inc. Our research work contributes to innovation and strengthens the international position of the nation. And the SIDN Fund gives a helping hand to community start-ups and makes it easier for innovators to bring new ideas on line.
We are committed to building a secure and stable internet. By keeping .nl one of the securest country-code domains in the world, for example. And by fighting internet crime and promoting the adoption of internet standards. We're also active in global forums concerned with internet technology, governance and security; we share our knowledge and we support applied research. Together with SIDN Fund, we support numerous initiatives in this field. New products and services have our attention too, such as technology to make Internet of Things devices more secure.
We want a free and accessible internet where everyone has the same opportunities. So we frequently back initiatives designed to promote digital literacy. Projects that increase users' knowledge, broaden access and prepare the next generation for life in a digital society. Support is provided directly and through SIDN Fund.
What if the domain name you've thought of is already taken? Our smart suggestion tool helps website visitors find great alternatives.
.nl is the biggest, most dependable internet domain in the Netherlands. The business community trusts .nl. With a campaign aimed at start-up businesses, we've been working to increase the brand preference for .nl.
.nl is now one of the biggest and most secure country-code domains in the world. Together with more than 1,200 .nl registrars, we work tirelessly to maintain and enhance its status. And the Registrars' Association is a key discussion partner. RA Chair Martijn Kamphuis talks about the importance of constructive collaboration between SIDN and the RA.
In the modern world, being able to do business on line safely, reliably and conveniently is essential. The log-in solutions supplied by our new subsidiary Connectis help people and businesses to do just that. Robert Garskamp from the IDnext platform explains how he sees SIDN's role in the world of digital identities.
In 2017, we added a 'sales funnel' to our website to help people find good domain names. Even if their first-choice name is already taken. A smart suggestion tool tells the visitor about available alternatives that are similar to their first-choice name or match their stated preferences. The set-up helps visitors to find a suitable domain name and a suitable registrar. It also provides our registrars with thousands of leads a month.
Dutch radio commercial, June 2018
In 2018, we started a campaign to market .nl to people just starting out in business. The aim of the campaign is to reinforce the brand preference for .nl in this important target group. .nl has always been the biggest and most dependable internet domain in the Netherlands. The business community trusts .nl. However, that trust tends to be intuitive. Our campaign therefore explains the sound commercial reasons for choosing .nl: added value, consumer confidence and the security of the .nl zone. The aim is to reinforce the brand preference amongst businesspeople at a time when attention is shifting increasingly from websites and domain names to apps and social media. We've been doing that using internet and radio ads.
One of the initiatives supported by SIDN Fund in 2018 was Fairfood's Fairtrace project. Using modern technologies such as blockchain, it's now possible to trace our food 'from farm to fridge'. Fairfood aims to promote ethical and transparent food supply chains and has spent the last eighteen months testing various technologies in various supply chains. With support from SIDN Fund, Fairfood is now building its own tool, because the systems already available tend to be too restrictive, too opaque or too expensive. The new tool will be freely available to smaller food brands – many of which are social enterprises – enabling them to trace their products and verify food claims.
> Read more about the Fairtrace project.
“Most consumers easily have twenty accounts, each with its own user name and password. It's easy to lose track. In response to the desire for convenience, lots of sites now offer several log-in options. You can log in with DigiD, Idensys or Facebook, for example, or with iDIN, the Dutch banks' on-line ID system. Companies like Connectis make it possible for organisations to give visitors the option of logging in using another organisation's ID system. Good identification and authentication systems make it harder to perpetrate abuse. Being part of SIDN strengthens Connectis's credentials as a trustworthy partner. SIDN has a unique status as an independent, professional, non-profit organisation. With their expertise, they can accelerate the development of reliable eIDs.”
We established SIDN Fund in 2014. Since then, the Fund has made grants to more than 180 innovative internet projects that can make a real difference. Projects with verve, disruptive potential and social value, which don't have obvious alternative sources of funding. In fields such as education, care, sustainability and security. Or introducing new forms of enterprise, new business models and new ways of working that benefit the whole community. SIDN Fund invites grant applications twice a year, generating widespread interest every time. One project supported by the Fund is Fairtrace, which promotes ethical and transparent food supply chains. With a grant from SIDN Fund, Fairtrace is currently building a tool that will be freely available to smaller food brands – many of which are social enterprises – enabling them to trace their products and verify food claims.
Migration to IPv6 is vital, but progress in the Netherlands has so far been slow. We are therefore offering financial incentives to registrars in an effort to generate momentum.
By extending our anycast network, we increased availability of the DNS for .nl and reduced response times for users around the world.
Public Wi-Fi networks aren't secure. SIDN Fund is looking to change that by supporting Let’s Connect!, an open-source VPN solution for setting up an encrypted connection.
More and more businesses are being hit by DDoS attacks, causing major service outages. We're therefore calling for a proactive, collective anti-DDoS strategy for the Netherlands' vital infrastructure.
In partnership with NBIP, we've been studying DDoS attacks. The unique insights obtained can help to minimise the damage that attackers cause.
Using internet standards makes the internet more stable and secure. As well as developing new standards, we promote the adoption of existing standards. Through the Platform for Internet Standards, for example.
Phishing and malware have no place on a secure internet. So we do all we can to stamp them out. In recent years, the average lifetime of malicious sites has been cut dramatically, from 144 hours to fifteen.
With its open-source name server software and open standards, NLnet Labs makes a major contribution to the security and operational stability of the DNS. We are one of the main financiers of their work.
Boosting security-awareness amongst internet users is vitally important. In this field, we work closely with ECP and support a range of campaigns.
We're active in global forums concerned with internet technology, governance and security. Our expertise and experience enables us to play a lead role on many issues.
IPv6 is the successor to IPv4, the established internet addressing protocol. A new protocol is needed for the simple reason that the internet is now so big that there just aren't enough IPv4 addresses to give every connected device a unique ID. The shortage has been causing problems for a while. Migration to IPv6 is vital, but progress in the Netherlands has so far been slow. We are therefore offering financial incentives to registrars in an effort to generate momentum. And the policy is getting results: the number of IPv6-enabled domain names has increased significantly since the incentive was introduced. We've also undertaken a survey of IPv6 adoption in the Netherlands to improve understanding of the current situation.
> Read more about the IPv6 survey
The availability of the .nl domain is our top priority. We therefore work continuously to improve and optimise the domain's DNS infrastructure. For example, we're extending our anycast network in order to assure availability. Anycast is a technology that enables other servers to immediately take up the load if one server goes down. The extension programme means extra DNS capacity at internet hubs in London, Miami, Toronto, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. The result: increased availability of the DNS for .nl and shorter response times for users around the world.
Public Wi-Fi networks aren't secure. Anyone within maybe as much as a kilometre can see what you're looking at or even plant a virus on your computer. One way around that is to use an encrypted connection, known as a VPN. Unfortunately, it's an option that few people are taking up. SIDN Fund is looking to change that by supporting Let’s Connect!, an open-source VPN solution. The project will make it easy for an internet access provider, hoster or consumer to install and manage a VPN on a smartphone, tablet or PC, enabling public Wi-Fi connections to be used without worry.
Interview with Cristian Hesselman, director SIDN Labs, NPO Radio 1, 5 April 2018 (in Dutch)
Services provided by the government and others are often affected by DDoS attacks. It's a worrying situation, because the attacks are becoming bigger and more complex. That's partly down to the rise of the Internet of Things, which is creating a much bigger pool of devices that miscreants can potentially compromise and use in attacks. In 2018, we therefore joined the University of Twente and SURFnet in calling for a proactive, collective anti-DDoS strategy for the Netherlands' vital infrastructure. The idea is for essential service providers to continuously gather information about potential and active DDoS sources and share it with each other via a new automated system known as the National DDoS Radar.
> Read more about the Anti-DDoS Manifesto
In partnership with NBIP, the Dutch National Internet Providers Management Organisation, we've been studying the impact of DDoS attacks. It's the first study of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world. New light has been shed on the particular industries and regions affected, on attack patterns, on the economic impact of DDoS attacks and on the risk of collateral damage. The hope is that the insights gained will help us mitigate the effects of such attacks in the future.
> Read the full research report
In 2018, we launched a continuous awareness campaign called Hackman. The aim is to make people more aware of on-line security issues. To do that, ethical hacker Rickey Gevers – aka Hackman – shows Dutch celebrities just how vulnerable they are on line. The campaign also features a website where internet users can get information and advice.
> Visit hackman.nl
“SIDN is one of the most engaged partners on the Platform for Internet Standards. They provide both financial support and practical input. As a result, the Dutch internet community is able to keep the internet up to date.
The use of modern internet standards helps everyone pull together to make sure the internet stays user-friendly and future-proof. Users aren't generally aware of what happens behind the scenes, but it's down to the hard work of SIDN and others that we have an open, free and secure internet.”
Gerben Klein Baltink
Chair of the Platform for Internet Standards
> Read more about internet standards
We work with registrars and hosting service providers to fight phishing and malware in the .nl zone. In recent years, the average lifetime of phishing sites and malware distribution sites has been cut dramatically, from 144 hours to less than twenty. The prominent upturn in December is due to scanning for additional categories of malicious site (shopping site skimmers and cryptojacker sites).
> Read more about Abuse204.nl
“The development of open standards and the implementation of open-source software for DNS name servers are vital for the internet's security and stability. NLnet Labs plays an active, independent role in the standardisation of protocols and the implementation of DNS software. The foundation also advises on secure and stable DNS and inter-domain routing infrastructure. SIDN's support helps to safeguard the continuity of NLnet Labs and enables us to go on performing our unique and globally acknowledged role.”
Directeur NLnet Labs
> Read more about the activities of NLnet Labs
We play an active role in various important international forums for internet technology, governance and security. As the registry for one of the world's biggest and most secure country-code domains, we play a lead role on many relevant issues. In 2018, we again participated in numerous national and international meetings, often contributing to the programme content and helping to organise several events.
"SIDN provides both resources and expertise to support our research. Take the OpenINTEL project: a joint initiative that we've been involved in for several years, looking for new ways of making the internet more secure. Using OpenINTEL data, we've successfully developed new techniques for detecting a particularly challenging form of spam. Building on the experience gained, one of our PhD students will spend the next couple of years investigating how active DNS measurements from OpenINTEL can support the early detection of other internet threats. The project will be funded by SIDN Labs."
Roland M. van Rijswijk-Deij
University of Twente
> Read more about the OpenINTEL-project
Dutch primary school children lack vital digital skills. Through research, we're aiming to push the issue up the public agenda.
Not all the world's languages have been digitised, because there's no commercial incentive in some cases. With support from SIDN Fund, the Travis Foundation aims to remove problematic language barriers as a way of promoting equal opportunities for all.
With inclusion in mind, we support initiatives that promote digital literacy. Support is provided directly and through SIDN Fund. In 2017, in partnership with Connectis and others, we started a project where programming lessons were offered to primary schools in Rotterdam. More than 2,500 pupils in years 6 to 8 have now received tuition.
For people to make sensible use of the internet, they need to know how it works. We therefore support a variety of initiatives, including veiliginternetten.nl, and enable publications such as DigiDuck.
We want an open, free and accessible internet where everyone has the same opportunities. So we contribute to the realisation of that goal through vehicles such as CodePact, which campaigns for digital literacy.
Asked to grade the digital skills of the average primary school pupil, teachers give 6.1 out of 10, or just about satisfactory. Parents are a little more positive, giving 6.6 out of 10. More than a quarter of primary school teachers rated Dutch pupils' digital skills unsatisfactory. So clearly there's room for improvement. Especially considering that the great majority of parents and teachers see digital skills as an important or very important aspect of education. Those are amongst the key findings of a major survey we undertook to push the issue up the public agenda.
> Read the full report
The Travis Foundation aims to remove problematic language barriers as a way of promoting equal opportunities for all. Not all the world's languages have been digitised, because there's no commercial incentive in some cases. Tigrinya (spoken in Eritrea) is a good example. A significant number of Eritrean refugees are coming to the Netherlands, and communication with social workers and agencies (such as police, hospitals and refugee organisations) is almost impossible without interpreters. By digitising the language using AI algorithms, text-to-text translation will soon be possible. At a later stage, real-time translation using handheld translators is envisaged. The current project is only the beginning. Once the method has been established, it will be applied to other languages.
> Read more about the Tigrinya project
We all make enormous use of the internet. With our computers, tablets and smartphones, we're on line throughout the day. And we start very early in life. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, we think it's only to be encouraged. But do our children know how the internet works? About the opportunities (and hazards) that the internet brings? IT nowadays plays a key role in every business and educational programme. So knowing something about it has to be a good idea, if only for your job prospects. We therefore support initiatives designed to boost the internet knowledge of upcoming generations. We back the Week van de Mediawijsheid ('Week of Media Wisdom'), for example, and enable publications such as NL DIGITAAL, www.wat and DigiDuck.
We want everyone to enjoy the opportunities that the internet offers. So we're committed to making things easier for groups who are disadvantaged in terms of internet access. One way we do that is through involvement in CodePact, a consortium dedicated to getting digital literacy onto the national school curriculum. If digital literacy were taught in schools, all children would get the grounding they need in this vital subject. Not only those at schools with an inherent interest in IT, but also those in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, for example. Together, we and our partners have succeeded in persuading the Dutch government to add digital literacy to the curriculum. In the years ahead, we'll continue to partner with businesses, government bodies and public institutions to champion digital inclusion and universal digital welfare.
> Read more about CodePact
The internet creates opportunities for everyone. A good example is Cyberwerkplaats ('Cyber-workplace'), one of the projects supported by SIDN Fund. It's a non-profit initiative aimed at tackling the shortage of cybersecurity experts. Free tuition is given to talented youngsters aged fifteen to twenty-five who have dropped out of education, or are at risk of doing so. The scheme reaches out to school-leavers, gamers and others, provides tuition and matches them with employers. Other examples of the indirect contribution we make to equality of opportunity in the internet world include the Creative Tech Academy and Hack Your Future.
Read more about
> SIDN Fund
> The Cyberwerkplaats project
> The Creative Tech Academy project
> The Hack Your Future project
Our sincere thanks go to Martijn Kamphuis, Robert Garskamp, Gerben Klein Baltink, Benno Overeinder, Marjolijn Bonthuis and Roland van Rijswijk-Deij for their cooperation.