What to expect when the internet gets a big security upgrade


Ready or not, the upgrade to an important internet security operation may soon be launched. Then again, it might not.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will meet the week of Sept. 17 and will likely decide whether or not to give the go ahead on its multi-year project to upgrade the top pair of cryptographic keys used in the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) protocol — commonly known as the root zone key signing key (KSK) — which secures the Internet’s foundational servers.

Changing these keys and making them stronger is an essential security step, in much the same way that regularly changing passwords is considered a practical habit by any Internet user, ICANN says. The update will help prevent certain nefarious activities such as attackers taking control of a session and directing users to a site that for example might steal their personal information.

This Root KSK rollover from the 2010 KSK to the 2017 KSK was supposed to take place almost a year ago but was delayed until Oct. 11 of this year because of concerns it might disrupt internet connectivity to significant numbers of web users.

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