The BBC reports that a British man has been named one of seven keyholders for a security system called DNSSEC that was put in place earlier this year to ensure that the Domain Name System (DNS) at the heart of the Internet doesn’t fall foul to a terrorist attack or other security breach that ends up either breaking people’s connections to the websites or redirecting them to incorrect places.
So, what is this “Key”? Well, Paul Kane of Bath-based company Community DNS holds two smartcards that contain part of a security key. In order to reboot the DNS root, at least five of the keyholders must travel to a secure location in the USA and use their smartcards together in a reader device to retrieve the security key that saves the world, well, the Internet at least.
Unlike the Fellowship of the Ring, there’s a backup plan. If the keyholders can’t travel to the location required in the event of a major incident, a set of keycards are securely held on site. This makes us think that this is more about ICANN, the organisation behind the initiative, ensuring transparency by making sure that members of the Internet community feel involved in the process. If the DNS root broke down, would you really want to wait for people around the world to fly to the US to fix the problem?
You can find out more about the DNSSEC root zone signing in this video. The security behind it is described at around the 2.30 mark.