ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the non-profit organisation responsible for co-ordinating the maintenance and procedures of several critical databases responsible for the Internet’s stable and secure operation.
Among these is the Domain Name System root zone registry. For the first time, since DNS commenced use in 1985, some 32 years ago, ICANN is about to change the cryptographic keys used to secure DNS.
Much as security best-practice is for individuals to change their passwords regularly, so too “rolling” the cryptographic key is a critical step in keeping global DNS safe and secure, by ensuring important security infrastructure can support changing password if ever a situation arose where this became essential.
“It is critical that ISPs and network operators around the world make certain they are ready for this change as failure to do so can result in their users being unable to look up domain names and thus be unable to reach any site on the Internet,” said David Conrad, ICANN's chief technology officer.
"Network operators should ensure they have up-to-date software, have enabled DNSSEC, and verified that their systems can update their keys automatically or they have processes in place to manually update to the new key by 1600 UTC on 11 October 2017.”
To help, ICANN has released a testing platform allowing Internet users to test if their ISP or network is compliant before the 11 October deadline.
ICANN has been working with technical partners such as the regional Internet registries, network operations groups, and domain name registries and registrars as well as others in the Internet ecosystem, such as the Internet Society and Internet trade associations, to make certain that those around the world who may be impacted by the key roll are aware of the pending change.
ICANN chief executive officer Göran Marby has further advised more than 170 government officials, including regulators and participants in ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee, to ask that they make certain the network operators in their respective countries are aware and ready for the key change.