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Domain Name System Security Extensions Deployed At Internet's Root Zone

Published July 17, 2010

The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced earlier this week the successful full deployment of Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) at the Internet's authoritative root zone.

The effort was a joint project with ICANN and VeriSign to improve the security of security and stability of the Internet.

According to NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, the rollout of of DNSSEC at the root zone is crucial to deployment throughout the world and enabling the current Domain Name System to become a major aspect of trust infrastructure for the Internet.

The Domain Name System (DNS) maps domain names to IP addresses - the unique numerical identifiers assigned to every device that connect to the Internet. Without domain names, the Internet would be very difficult to navigate. However, DNS wasn't originally designed to take into account the security issues of today and is vulnerable to certain attacks that can, for example, redirect users to bogus and malicious websites.

DNSSEC deployment at the root zone will help protect Internet users from certain DNS-related cyber attacks, but the NTIA warns users must continue to exercise vigilance in protecting their information online. 

DNSSEC validation tools may soon become a standard feature of Internet browsers and an add-on is already available for Firefox.

The NTIA in the U.S. Department of Commerce serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on communications and information policies. 

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