Root Zone KSK Rollover
13 March 2017 – ICANN Launches Testing Platform for the KSK Rollover
27 October 2016 – KSK Rollover Operations Begin
19 September 2016 – The Cryptographic Key That Secures the Web is Being Changed for the First Time (Motherboard)
15 September 2016 – ICANN Prepares Web World for Major DNSSEC Security Update (V3)
25 August 2016 – The DNSSEC Master Key Securing the Internet is Changing. Should We Be Worried? (Techworld)
19 September 2016 – First step of 2017 KSK Rollover Test Plan completed
ICANN is planning to perform a Root Zone Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) KSK rollover as required in the Root Zone KSK Operator DNSSEC Practice Statement [TXT, 99 KB].
Rolling the KSK means generating a new cryptographic public and private key pair and distributing the new public component to parties who operate validating resolvers, including: Internet Service Providers; enterprise network administrators and other Domain Name System (DNS) resolver operators; DNS resolver software developers; system integrators; and hardware and software distributors who install or ship the root's "trust anchor." The KSK is used to cryptographically sign the Zone Signing Key (ZSK), which is used by the Root Zone Maintainer to DNSSEC-sign the root zone of the Internet's DNS.
Maintaining an up-to-date KSK is essential to ensuring DNSSEC-signed domain names continue to validate following the rollover. Failure to have the current root zone KSK will mean that DNSSEC-enabled validators will be unable to verify that DNS responses have not been tampered with and thus will return an error response to all DNSSEC-signed queries.
The KSK rollover plans were developed by the Root Zone Management Partners; ICANN in its role as the IANA Functions Operator, Verisign 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 role of NTIA ended on 1 October 2016. The KSK rollover plans were posted in July 2016 and incorporate the community Root Zone KSK Rollover Design Team recommendations [PDF, 1.01 MB].
Related information and additional resources can be found at:
- KSK Rollover at a Glance [PDF, 215 KB]
- KSK Rollover: Questions and Answers [PDF, 59 KB]
- DNSSEC Root Zone KSK Recommendations: https://www.iana.org/reports/2016/root-ksk-rollover-design-20160307.pdf [PDF, 1.01 MB]
- DNSSEC: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/dnssec-2012-02-25-en
- DNSSEC for Everybody - A Beginner's Guide (ICANN55): https://meetings.icann.org/en/marrakech55/schedule/sun-dnssec-everybody
- DNSSEC Workshop (ICANN55): https://meetings.icann.org/en/marrakech55/schedule/wed-dnssec
- IANA - Root Zone Management: https://www.iana.org/domains/root
- SSAC Advisory on DNSSEC Key Rollover in the Root Zone: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/sac-063-en.pdf [PDF, 480 KB]
Ask a Question
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "KSK Rollover" in the subject line to submit your questions.
Attend an Event
View the events calendar to find upcoming KSK rollover presentations.
Engage on Social Media
Use the hashtag #KeyRoll to join the conversation: https://twitter.com/icann
Join the KSK Rollover Discussion List
Sign up to the mailing list for public discussions on related issues: https://mm.icann.org/listinfo/ksk-rollover
Spread the Word
Share this webpage with others to help them learn about the KSK rollover and how they may be impacted.
In 2009, the RZM partners collaborated to deploy DNSSEC in the root zone, which culminated in the first publication of a validated signed root zone in July 2010.
The requirements [PDF, 116 KB] for generating and maintaining the root zone KSK, as well as the respective responsibilities of each of the RZM partners, were specified by NTIA. The procedures by which those requirements were met by the Root Zone Maintainer (Verisign) and the IANA Functions Operator (ICANN) were published in separate DNSSEC Practice Statements (DPS): Verisign DNSSEC Signing Service DPS [PDF, 138 KB] and Root Zone KSK Operator DPS [TXT, 99 KB].
The IANA Functions Contract between NTIA and ICANN was modified in July 2010 to include responsibilities associated with Root Zone KSK management, and those requirements have been carried forward in subsequent revisions of that contract.
The Cooperative Agreement between NTIA and Verisign was also amended in July 2010 to reflect Verisign's Root Zone ZSK Operator responsibilities.
The IANA Functions Contract required a Root Zone KSK rollover, but did not provide detailed requirements, or a detailed timeline or implementation plan. The Root Zone KSK Operator DPS contains this statement, laying a requirement for a rollover in Section 6.5:
"Each RZ KSK will be scheduled to be rolled over through a key ceremony as required, or after 5 years of operation."
These times are subject to change based on operational considerations.
- October 27, 2016: KSK rollover process begins as the new KSK is generated.
- July 11, 2017: Publication of new KSK in DNS.
- September 19, 2017: Size increase for DNSKEY response from root name servers.
- October 11, 2017: New KSK begins to sign the root zone key set (the actual rollover event).
- January 11, 2018: Revocation of old KSK.
- March 22, 2018: Last day the old KSK appears in the root zone.
- August 2018: Old key is deleted from equipment in both ICANN Key Management Facilities.
- 2017 KSK Rollover Operational Implementation Plan [PDF, 741 KB] - Describes in detail the operational steps to accomplish the 2017 KSK Roll project, including the timeline of the eight phase process.
- 2017 KSK Rollover Back Out Plan [PDF, 506 KB] - Describes anticipated deviations from the Operational Implementation Plan based on anomalies occurring while executing the operational plan.
- 2017 KSK Rollover External Test Plan [PDF, 516 KB] - Covers the preparation of operational test environments, accessed by the general Internet public, to evaluate whether external systems are prepared to participate in the KSK roll.
- 2017 KSK Rollover Monitoring Plan [PDF, 480 KB] - Describes the plan to monitor the effects of changing the trust anchor for the root zone in the traffic towards root servers.
- 2017 KSK Rollover Systems Test Plan [PDF, 519 KB] - Describes the actions needed to test changes to ICANN's infrastructure involved in the KSK roll.
ICANN is executing an extensive outreach campaign to ensure that those who currently use the KSK know about the change.
22 July 2016 – DNSSEC: Rolling the Root Zone Key Signing Key
20 July 2016 – ICANN to Flip the Secret Key to the Internet (Domain Incite)
21 June 2016 – Security Best Practices: DNSSEC Validation