Internet is controlled by 14 people who hold seven Secret Keys

Recently a large portion of the internet went down because of hackers who managed to send uncontrollable traffic to Dyn servers. Although hackers remained unable to take control of one of the major service provider but they successfully take the internet offline for few hours bringing down website such as Amazon, Business Insider, Github, Spotify, and many others.

This attack on DNS has basically shaken the entire system. More responsibility has fallen on the Crypto officers who are few of the people in the world who hold protected keys to control the entire internet. These fourteen highest level security officers have a command over those seven protected keys and in a few days, they are expected to conduct a historic ritual known as the Root signing ceremony.

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This started in 2010 and after which this ritual is held after every three months. At this event not all but most of these 14 crypto officers gather around to conduct the key ceremony. This event involves the verification and update of the keys to the web’s metaphorical master lock. These people belong to an organization known as Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This organization is basically responsible for allocating numerical internet addresses to computers and websites.

If anyone gains control over ICANN, then that person can basically control the major portion of the internet. This is the reason that ICANN came up with a different idea of securing the DNS. Instead of pressurizing one person with all the responsibility, it selected seven people as the key holders. These people hold the actual seven keys to the internet. And the organization further selected seven people as backup key holders, making them 14 people altogether. This ritual that takes place after every three months, require any three of the key holders to be present at the event in order to unlock the equipment that protects the DNS system.

An extremely scripted ceremony:

This ceremony is conducted in a highly secured environment. Security surrounds the whole event and participants are required to pass through number of locked doors by using key codes and hand scanners. After the scanning they enter a room where no electronic communication can escape the security process. This is a room where crypto officers join other officers of the ICANN along with few guests and observers.

The keys that are held by the key holders unlock the safe deposit boxes which hold the smart key cards. Numerous keys are required to enter the device that creates the internet’s master key. This master key is known to be root key-signing key that is some kind of a computer code. The master ICANN database is accessed through this password. This key opens up into more keys that are meant to protect the various segments of the internet. Various internet security organizations use these keys in order to control various sections.

This reveals that internet is something not owned and controlled by a single entity. This open piece of technology is owned by ICANN and not US anymore. US handed over its long control to ICANN earlier this month and no more in charge of this system.

The ICANN knows its responsibility and respects the trust that is placed on it. It does not restrict anyone from monitoring the ceremony and provide lie streaming of the event over the internet. This event is going to take place this October 27th as a part of the ritual but this time it is a bit different. The ICANN, for the first time, will be changing the master key itself. It will finally be able to change the key pair which is responsible for all the DNS security known as Root Zone Signing Key. These keys hold the power to redirect a great amount of traffic in any direction to generate one’s own version of the root zone.

Via: Business Insider

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Written by Hisham Sarwar

That is all you ever need to know about me but let me warn you, freelancing for me is a journey, certainly not a destination :)