False ICANN Rumors Spread About Global Internet Outage For 48 Hrs

By Aaron Kesel

ICANN updates DNS Root KSK rollover; blogs and news outlets spread rumors of slowdowns and outages expected worldwide … so far everything is fine.

Interweb users across the globe are expecting to face Internet disruption connecting to their favorite websites for the next 48 hours was the headline that read across various blogs and news websites.

According to Russian news publication Russia Today, the Internet was alleged to face disruption for users across the globe as key domain servers undergo maintenance.

The report details that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is preparing for maintenance work of domain servers as well as other related network infrastructure. ICANN plans to change the cryptographic key during this time period of 48 hrs, which will result in slowdowns of Internet activity around the world.

The planned maintenance by ICANN is to “help protect the Domain Name System (DNS),” which acts as the Internet’s address book according to the organization.

Other news outlets and blogs repeated the same echoed claim that the Internet was set to have a global blackout. Except that’s not the case — so far everything seems to be stable and fine with few reported issues according to ICANN.

“In the first six hours after the rollover, there were a few reports of problems that were mostly fixed quickly,” ICANN wrote.

Experts are already weighing in, claiming the change in the cryptographic key will help ensure Internet protection. The upgrade is being installed as a means to help prevent cyber attacks aimed at the DNS systems in the future.

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) said this global Internet shutdown is necessary to ensure a secure, stable and resilient DNS system.

“To further clarify, some internet users might be affected if their network operators or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have not prepared for this change. However, this impact can be avoided by enabling the appropriate system security extensions,” The CRA said.

The change is noteworthy of ICANN’s initiative to upgrade the cryptographic keys used in the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) protocol — commonly known as the root zone key signing key or (KSK) — which secures important infrastructure.

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This root KSK rollover is actually an idea that was birthed in the 2010 KSK upgrade to the 2017 KSK and was supposed to take place almost a year ago but was delayed until Oct. 11 of this year due to concerns the upgrade might disrupt Internet connectivity. So that might be where the rumor originated and why so many news outlets and blogs spread that information.

However, it’s important to mention that ICANN recently predicted in July that there would be minimal impact from the rollover, but warned that a small percentage of Internet users could have problems arise when resolving domain names.

This means that these blogs and news outlets didn’t do their full homework when spreading that there would be an apocalyptic 48 hrs without the Internet in their scaremongering headlines!

Interestingly the Indian Express notes in its own report that majority of these stories across the Web are coming out of India, misleadingly referencing the RT report.

Although it’s notable that RT‘s own article ended with an expert Arseny Shcheltsin, a specialist in digital economics, who reassured that there is nothing to fear since the main software has already been successfully updated.

According to ICANN, those users “who use at least one resolver that is ready for the rollover will see no change in their use of the DNS or the Internet in general after the rollover.”

This means that essentially it’s up to the ISP; there may be some downtime, but the entire Internet isn’t going to shut down.

While 99% of users might not experience problems, major services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter might endure downtime during the upgrade.

The KSK rollover involved generating a new cryptographic public and private key pair and distributing the new public component to parties who operate validating resolvers, according to ICANN. Such resolvers run software that converts http addresses like www.activistpost.com into IP address numbers that can be read by computer software to then direct users to their destination.

Resolvers include “internet service providers (ISPs), enterprise network administrators and other DNS resolver operators, DNS resolver software developers; system integrators, and hardware and software distributors who install or ship the root’s “trust anchor,” ICANN said.

Please see the main rollover page for further information on the rollover.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

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