KSK Rollover Postponed due to potentially risking a glitched internet

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN“) today announced that the plan to change the cryptographic key that helps protect the Domain Name System (DNS) is being postponed.

ICANN believes it prudent to follow its process and to delay the changing of the key rather than run the risk of a significant number of Internet users being adversely affected by the changing of the key. ICANN is committed to continuing its education, communication and engagement with the relevant technical organizations to ensure readiness for the key change.

“The security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system is our core mission. We would rather proceed cautiously and reasonably, than continue with the roll on the announced date of 11 October,” said Göran Marby. “It would be irresponsible to proceed with the roll after we have identified these new issues that could adversely affect its success and could adversely affect the ability of a significant number of end users.”

Changing the key involves generating a new cryptographic key pair and distributing the new public component to the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC)-validating resolvers. Based on the estimated number of Internet users who use DNSSEC validating resolvers, an estimated one-in-four global Internet users, or 750 million people, could be affected by the KSK rollover.

The changing or “rolling” of the KSK Key was originally scheduled to occur on 11 October, but it is being delayed because some recently obtained data shows that a significant number of resolvers used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Operators are not yet ready for the Key Rollover. The availability of this new data is due to a very recent DNS protocol feature that adds the ability for a resolver to report back to the root servers which keys it has configured.

There may be multiple reasons why operators do not have the new key installed in their systems: some may not have their resolver software properly configured and a recently discovered issue in one widely used resolver program appears to not be automatically updating the key as it should, for reasons that are still being explored.

ICANN will provide additional information as it becomes available and the new Key Roll date will be announced as appropriate.

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