[opennic-discuss] ICANN News Alert -- Proposal To Sign the Root Zone Made Public
Julian De Marchi <julian <at> jdcomputers.com.au>
2008-10-10 00:28:43 GMT
ICANN News Alert
Proposal To Sign the Root Zone Made Public
9 October 2008
[PDF, 276K] to sign the root zone file with Domain Name System
Security Extensions, or DNSSEC, technology was released by ICANN today.
DNSSEC provides a way for software to validate that Domain Name System
(DNS) data have not been modified during Internet transit. This is
done by incorporating public-private signature key pairs into the DNS
hierarchy to form a chain of trust originating at the root zone.
Importantly, DNSSEC is not a form of encryption. It is backward
compatible with existing DNS, leaving records as they are –
unencrypted. DNSSEC ensures record integrity through the use of
digital signatures that attest to their authenticity.
This proposal has been written by ICANN staff, as authorized by
ICANN's Board, with the goal to proceed with appropriate speed and
deploy DNSSEC at the root level as a step towards improving the
overall security of the DNS.
"The proposal has already been reviewed by a group of global DNSSEC
experts. The feedback ICANN received from this group indicates that
the proposal is technically sound, and appropriate" ICANN's President
and CEO Paul Twomey said.
At the core of DNSSEC is the concept of a 'chain of trust'. ICANN's
proposal builds on that notion and, based on security advice,
recommends that the entity responsible for making changes, additions
and deletions to the root zone file and confirming those changes are
valid (ICANN presently performs this function – called the IANA
function - under contract from the United States Department of
Commerce), should generate and digitally sign the resulting root zone
file update. This signed file should then be passed to another
organization (presently VeriSign Corporation) for distribution. In
other words, the organization responsible for the initial basis of
trust - validating root zone changes with top level domain operators -
should also authenticate the validity of the final product before it
The release occurs as the United States Department of Commerce also
announced a Notice of Inquiry on the concept of signing the Root Zone.
Details can be found here:
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-23974.pdf [PDF, 72K].
"ICANN has more than a year of experience in producing a signed root
zone that has already been widely tested by DNS software vendors and
the interested DNSSEC community. ICANN also has "built-in" the
participation of a group of world-class DNS experts" Dr Twomey said.
"This is a moment of challenge and opportunity in addressing the
overall stability and security of the DNS system - the mission around
which ICANN was formed" he added.
A set of questions and answers
what DNSSEC is and why it is important is also published to assist
with the reading of the proposal.
To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address
into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique
so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these
unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we
wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN is responsible for the global
coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers like
domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .uk) and the
addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols that help computers
reach each other over the Internet.
ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit
corporation from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet
secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops
policy on the Internet's unique identifiers.
ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and
it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its
coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an
important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.
Media Advisor, ICANN
P: +1 310 382 4004
E: jason.keenan <at> icann.org
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