These physical keys access seven different safety deposit boxes, which each contain a smartcard. When all seven smartcards are combined, they create a master key which controls the Internet’s domain name system—the system that tells your computer the numeric address to go to when you type in a website name. This system is queried up to a trillion times each day by Internet users all around the world.
Did you know?
- The domain name system security system (DNSSEC) is controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
- If someone were to gain control of the database, they would control the Internet itself.
- As part of extensive security precautions, the master key is split into seven parts. Each keyholder also has a backup, making 14 keyholders for seven keys.
- The 14 keyholders are part of a group known as Trusted Community Representatives (TCRs).
- Each TCR is a volunteer representative of the domain name community in their own country.
- If something were to ever happen to the domain name system, the seven keys can be used to help rebuild it.
- Since 2010, the seven primary keyholders meet four times per year to generate a new master key password for the database.
- The key is changed this frequently to reduce the risk of someone hacking the database with a “brute force” attack that guesses the password by trying multiple options.
- These meetings are highly secure, with each requiring passage through multiple locks, checkpoints, witnessed interactions, and other security features.
- The meeting is held in a room protected from all electronic communications and with a specialized hardware security modules.
- The Internet Is Actually Controlled By 14 People Who Hold 7 Secret Keys
- Why Do Seven People Hold The Keys To The Internet?
- ICANN's First DNSSEC Key Ceremony for the Root Zone
- Trusted Community Representatives
- Common Questions on Trusted Community Representatives
- Brotherhood of the Internet Keys: Who Are the Chosen Seven?
- The Problem with "The Seven Keys"
- Meet the 7 People Who Hold the Keys to the Internet