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ICANN Announces Availability of DNSSEC Root Zone KSK Recommendations

A design team consisting of seven independent DNS experts along with representatives from ICANN, Verisign, and NTIA has completed a report with recommendations for changing, also known as rolling, the DNSSEC root zone Key Signing Key (KSK). Rolling the KSK means generating a new cryptographic public and private key pair and distributing the new public component to parties including Internet service and other DNS resolver operators, DNS resolver software developers, integrators, and distributors. The KSK is used to cryptographically sign the Zone Signing Key which is used by Verisign as the Root Zone Maintainer to sign the root zone of the Internet's DNS. Obtaining the new key is essential to ensuring DNSSEC-signed domain names continue to validate following the rollover. The report is published here [PDF, 1 MB].

The KSK rollover operation is being planned by ICANN, in its role as the IANA Functions Operator, in cooperation with the other Root Zone Management (RZM) partners and will incorporate the design team recommendations in developing the operational KSK rollover plan. The RZM partners are Verisign as the Root Zone Maintainer and the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as the Root Zone Administrator. The design team was composed of the following community volunteers:

  • Joe Abley, Snake Hill Labs/DyN, CA
  • Jaap Akkerhuis, NLNetLabs, NL
  • John Dickinson, Sinodun Internet Technologies, UK
  • Geoff Huston, APNIC, AU
  • Ondrej Sury, CZ.NIC, CZ
  • Paul Wouters, No Hats/Red Hat, NL
  • Yoshiro Yoneya, JPRS, JP

ICANN wishes to thank the design team for their efforts.

About ICANN

ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world. ICANN and its community help keep the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It also promotes competition and develops policy for the top-level of the Internet's naming system and facilitates the use of other unique Internet identifiers.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."