ICANN Delays Root KSK Rollover For Second Time

By December 19, 2017 Governance No Comments

ICANN logoICANN has announced they will be delaying the Root KSK Rollover for the second time. Originally scheduled for September 2017, the rollover was delayed until the first quarter of 2018, and this week ICANN announced they will be delaying it again until later in 2018, at least.

In a post on the ICANN Blog on 18 December, Matt Larson, VP of Research, Office of Chief Technology Officer, writes that ICANN currently does “not yet have enough information to set a specific date for the rollover. We want to make clear, however, that the ICANN org is committed to rolling the root zone KSK and we will continue to discuss this important process with the community, gather their feedback and give all interested parties advance notice of at least one calendar quarter when we set the date for the rollover.”

“Furthermore, we are soliciting input from the community to help determine, if possible, appropriate objective criteria to measure the possible negative impact of the root KSK rollover on Internet users, and acceptable values for those criteria before a rollover. This is in accordance with the bottom-up, multi-stakeholder model that has been so successful for ICANN policy development.”

Larson had previously “described [ICANN’s] analysis of recursive resolver trust anchor configuration information reported using the protocol defined in RFC 8145, Signaling Trust Anchor Knowledge in DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). Our analysis revealed that about 4% of the approximately 12,000 DNSSEC-validating resolvers reporting during the month of September 2017 were configured with only KSK-2010 (the shorthand for the current root KSK) and would have been unable to resolve DNS queries after the rollover occurred.

“The ICANN org’s decision to postpone the rollover was based on the concern that we did not understand why those resolvers were not properly configured, and we needed time to investigate.

“Since then, we have attempted to contact the operators of 500 addresses that had reported a resolver configuration with only KSK-2010 instead of the correct configuration of both KSK-2010 and the new KSK, KSK-2017. Ideally, that investigation would have revealed a set of clear causes for the improper configuration, allowing further communication and actions to be targeted at addressing those specific issues. But in the end, the analysis was not as conclusive as we would have hoped.

“In our initial attempt, we received a response from operators of approximately 20% of the 500 addresses. Of those addresses whose operators we could contact, 60% came from address ranges known to host devices with dynamic addresses, such as routers of home broadband users and ephemeral virtual machines, making these resolvers extremely difficult (if not impossible) to track down. About 25% of the addresses corresponded to a resolver forwarding on behalf of another resolver that was reporting only KSK-2010. Since the address of the device reporting the incorrect configuration was not the actual source resolver, it is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to identify the true source address of the resolver that was reporting only KSK-2010.

“To proceed with the root KSK rollover, the ICANN org must have confidence that the rollover will not have an unacceptable negative impact on Internet users. The challenge we have encountered since we began to analyze the RFC 8145 trust anchor configuration reports from resolvers is assessing the impact on users.”

The next steps include continuing discussions on acceptable criteria for proceeding on an existing email list that anyone with an interest can join “and beginning on 15 January 2018, we will develop a draft plan for proceeding with the root KSK roll based on the input received and discussion on the mailing list. The plan will be published by 31 January 2018 and undergo a formal ICANN public comment process to gather further input. We will hold a session at ICANN61 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to discuss the plan and hear from the community in person. Our intent is to have a revised plan available for community review and public comment prior to ICANN62 in Panama City, Panama, with a final plan published soon thereafter.”