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Internet Kill Switch? Who's Got the Keys?

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Are you online right now?  Maybe you’re on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe you’re even reading messages on your watch! The seamless access to everything on the Internet is akin to the air we breathe. We don’t give it a second thought. Type in a URL and BOOM! You order a product from Nepal. From connecting doctors with patients for better health care to kick-starting the next charitable organization, the Internet can be a tool for tremendous global good. But it can also be a tool for criminal activity. Who keeps a watchful eye over the Internet globally? Is there such a thing as an INTERNET KILL SWITCH?  Is the backbone of the Internet safe against attack? Click on the document to read more.

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Internet Kill Switch? Who's Got the Keys?

  1. 1. Internet Kill Switch? Who’s Got the Keys? Are you online rightnow? Maybe you’re onyourphone,tablet,orlaptop.Maybe you’re evenreading messagesonyourwatch! The seamlessaccesstoeverythingonthe Internetisakintothe air we breathe.We don’tgive ita secondthought.Type ina URL and BOOM! You ordera productfrom Nepal. From connectingdoctorswithpatientsforbetterhealthcare tokick-startingthe nextcharitable organization,the Internetcanbe a tool fortremendousglobal good.Butitcan alsobe a tool forcriminal activity.Whokeepsawatchful eye overthe Internetglobally?Isthere suchathingas an INTERNET KILL SWITCH? Is the backbone of the Internetsafe againstattack? At the session InternetKill Switch?Who’sGotthe Keysyou will getanswerstothese questions:  How does the Internetinfrastructureprotectitself againstsecuritybreaches?  Who isresponsibleforkeepingthe Internetsecure andresilient?  What safeguardsare inplace againsthackers.  What cutting-edge technologyisbeingdeployed?  Who holdsthe keystothe Internet? Do youregularlychange yourpasswordsforyour online accounts?We all know bynow,that thisis consideredawise securitymeasure.The same holdstrue forthe DomainName System, inessence the Internet’s addressbook.Tokeepitsecure,the keys shouldoccasionallybe changed. But howare these critical Internetsecuritykeyschanged andwhodoesit?Atthe heart of thisprocessis the global nonprofitInternetCorporationforAssignedNamesandNumbers(ICANN). It isICANN that coordinatesthe changingof the cryptographickeysthatsecure critical partsof the Internet. Itisa vital securitystep thathelpsassure the integrityof informationpassing throughthe DomainName System.It helpstoassure that whenyouenteranaddressinyour webbrowser,thatyou go where youintended.Ithelpspreventthe onlinebadguysfromsendingyoutoa phonywebsite where theymighttryto steal youridentityorcommitotheracts of malfeasance. The technologybehindall thisisknownasthe rootzone KeySigningKey(KSK),andICANN isplanningto change the KSK forthe firsttime since itsinception. Managing the changingof the KSK istrulya collaborative,globaleffort,withInternetservice providers, enterprise networkoperators,andothertechentities all playinganimportantrole. Whydoes the KSK rollovermatter? The KSK “rollover”,asit’ssometimescalled,canbe thoughtof as changingthe locksona house.In certaincases,each time someone attemptstoconnecttoa serveridentifiedbyadomain name,the key istriedin the lockto verifythatthe associateddatais authentic.However,if the lockischangedandthe
  2. 2. keyshave notalso beenupdated,the doorwill notopen,the domainname will notresolve,andthe connectionattemptwill fail. Whenwill the rollover take place? The KSK rolloverisaprocess,nota single event.Itisexpectedtobe completedinMarch 2018. How will Internet usersbe affected? If the rolloveroccurssmoothly,Internetuserswill nevernotice the change.If,forwhateverreason,an InternetService Providers orothertechnical entity doesn’tswitchtothe new key,thenitscustomers will have problemsreachingthe Internetaddresstheyare tryingtogetto. For that reason,itis importantthatISPs andothers be aware of the pendingrolloverandmake the change. Whoshould care? Software developersanddistributors,systemintegrators,networkoperatorsandInternetService Providers(ISPs) tobe sure.Butalsosmall businesses,civil societyorganizations, andanyone who connectsto and reliesonthe Internetthroughouttheirdailylives. #KeyRoll