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Servers stolen from Net domain group

Thieves broke into a San Francisco facility and stole two servers belonging to the Internet Council of Registrars, the group says.

Thieves apparently broke into a San Francisco server facility over the holiday weekend and stole two computers belonging to a sometimes controversial group that is putting forth a plan for adding generic domain names to the domain name system, the group reported today.

The two 200-pound Sun Enterprise 450 servers, valued at more than $70,000, were testing the shared registry system for the Internet Council of Registrars, known as CORE. The thieves also made off with the software used to run the registry system, according to CORE.

CORE reported that the servers were taken some time between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday from the Best Internet Communications facility in downtown San Francisco.

The Best facility contains many different servers, all held within 87 metal cages, from several companies that get their connectivity through Best, said Matt Bell, a spokesman for Best.

The companies are responsible for maintaining their own servers.

CORE said its servers were stolen when a CORE worker scheduled to be there had called in sick. A CORE spokesman said thieves cut off a lock on the steel cage.

Bell added there was no sign of forced entry into the facility. He said other cages were left untouched and the thieves did not steal all the equipment in the cages.

"We have many other customers with all kinds of very high-end equipment," Bell said.

CORE discovered the theft after registrars across the globe reported that they were unable to carry out testing. A worker went to the facility and discovered the missing servers.

CORE said local police as well as the FBI have been contacted.

The system was down for 30 hours, said Greg Hurst, a CORE registrar and spokesman.

Although some are speculating about the nature of the theft, Hurst said CORE is trying to stay away from the same kinds of rumors and innuendo that have plagued it since it began.

"Obviously there's a whole lot of speculation going on," he said. "For the most part, our stance is no speculation. We don't think it was targeted. It's just another equipment burglary."

Hurst said that, in fact, CORE decided to issue a press release to stave off "things growing out of our control."

"Because this is part of a controversial plan and CORE's had a lot of press, we wanted to put a true account of the story out there so there was no room for misunderstanding," he said.

CORE has been trying to enter the lucrative and powerful domain name game with a system of shared top-level domain registries. Currently, it is waiting for the government to put the final touches on a green paper on the domain naming system.