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ICANN Publishes Plans for Upcoming Key Signing Key Rollover

ICANN today published plans outlining the operational processes required to change or "roll" the Root Zone Key Signing Key (KSK). The plans can be found here.

The KSK is a cryptographic public-private key pair, the public portion of which serves as the trusted starting point for Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) validation. ICANN, in its role as the IANA Functions Operator, will change the current KSK which was originally created via processes defined in cooperation with the other Root Zone Management Partners: Verisign, who acted as the Root Zone Maintainer, and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as the Root Zone Administrator.

The rollover plans detail implementation, monitoring, testing, and contingency processes designed to maintain operational stability and minimize end-user impact of the KSK rollover. The Root Zone Management Partners developed the plans that incorporate the Root Zone KSK Rollover Design Team recommendations [PDF, 1.01 MB].

For more information about the plans and operational processes involved in the KSK rollover, read this blog from ICANN's Chief Technology Officer or access the Root Zone KSK Rollover page.


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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."