The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will hold its 50th key signing ceremony on 19 July 2023, at its Los Angeles facility. This key ceremony is a crucial operational event that is fundamental to how ICANN secures the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). ICANN’s key signing ceremonies provide one of the critical safeguards that keeps the Internet infrastructure safe and available to all.
“ICANN has been holding key signing ceremonies since 2010,” said ICANN’s Kim Davies, Vice President, IANA Services and President, Public Technical Identifiers. “Holding these ceremonies has been vital to the ongoing functioning of the DNS. Our track record for managing the DNS root zone without interruption has provided a strong foundation for the Internet, particularly during the pandemic as its use exploded.”
The DNS is the address book of the Internet. More than 5.3 billion people around the world use it daily to navigate the Internet. Instead of typing the complicated numerical locations (Internet Protocol addresses) for every website or application, people can use domain names like icann.org to navigate the Internet, to send emails, and more.
The DNS is protected at the highest level using a seal of authenticity, known as the root zone key signing key. This is often referred to more simply as the root key or the root KSK. Computers around the world can verify the system is working correctly by examining if this seal of authenticity is present and not tampered with. Every three months, during an event called a key ceremony, this seal needs to be applied to other keys that are used in daily operations to make this system work. To learn more, read The Key to the Internet and Key Ceremonies: An Explainer.
Without key signing ceremonies and the Domain Name System Security Extensions technology it enables, the DNS would be less secure and Internet users would be more susceptible to various forms of security attacks. These ceremonies are open and transparent, and ICANN encourages all interested stakeholders to participate in these events, which are critical to its efforts to maintain the security and stability of the DNS.