The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is pleased to announce the partial resumption of face-to-face key signing key (KSK) ceremonies following the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the ceremony is not a return to full regular operations, it represents another step toward this eventual goal. The 46th KSK ceremony to secure the root zone of the Domain Name System (DNS) is scheduled for 20:00 UTC on 17 August 2022 in El Segundo, California. ICANN's key signing ceremonies provide one of the critical safeguards to Internet infrastructure that keeps it safe and available to all.
The DNS is the Internet's address book. More than 4.5 billion people around the world use it daily to navigate the Internet. For most users, the DNS helps them use the Internet more easily. Instead of typing the complicated numerical locations for every website or application, users can use domain names like icann.org to navigate the Internet, to send emails, and more.
Without KSK ceremonies and the Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) technology it enables, the DNS would be less secure and Internet users would be more susceptible to various forms of security attacks. During the event, ICANN staff retrieve the root zone KSK, a kind of key that protects the DNS. The ceremony will produce months of cryptographic signatures, which protect global DNS operations. The ceremony is designed to involve a diverse group of experts from the ICANN community, who are called Trusted Community Representatives, to access the KSK. These community members are distributed globally to help minimize risk; they only convene in the same place when a ceremony is held.
ICANN started making KSK ceremonies public in 2010. For the first public event, ICANN staff invited volunteers to participate, a practice that continues to this day. Conducting the ceremony in this manner aligns with ICANN's stated principles and goals to be open and transparent about its processes, an important part of its role in securing the DNS and making it available to us all.
The upcoming ceremony will be held in a modified fashion to mitigate ongoing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. ICANN will continue to monitor the pandemic and its associated risks before deciding to fully return to pre-COVID operations.
People may watch the 46th KSK ceremony online via livestream. Information about the KSK ceremony and how you may join ICANN at the event is available here.