Internet users around the world could start experiencing connection failures over the next two days as the main domain servers and related infrastructure will be temporarily powered down by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
This interception will occur as ICANN will change the cryptographic key that protects the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS is the ‘address book’ of the internet and it’s the job of ICANN to make sure it’s kept as secure as possible.
Meanwhile, the hierarchical system this digital information courses through is known as the root zone. Which is serviced by several hundred servers in over 130 locations across the world. So, theoretically, it’s unlikely that people will see their internet drop out as there is always another server willing to pick up the slack if one is temporarily turned off.
It’s also up to each country’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make sure they’re prepared for a little bit of traffic juggling.
"This is an important move and we have an obligation to ensure that it happens in furtherance of ICANN‘s mission, which is to ensure a secure, stable and resilient DNS," said ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby.
"There is no way of completely assuring that every network operator will have their ‘resolvers’ properly configured, yet if things go as anticipated, we expect the vast majority to have access to the root zone," he added.
David Conrad, ICANN‘s Chief Technology Officer, said: "It is almost certain there will be at least a few operators somewhere across the globe who won’t be prepared, but even in the worst case, all they have to do to fix the problem is, turn off DNSSECvalidation, install the new key, and reenable DNSSEC and their users will again have full connectivity to the DNS."
Although this is the first time this has happened, the organisation says it won’t be the last.