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DNSSEC finally goes mainstream

VeriSign enables more secure tech on .com top-level domain

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DNSSEC, a more secure version of the internet domain name to IP address lookup protocol, was enabled on the .com top-level domain on Thursday.

The move by VeriSign, the operator of .com, marks an important milestone in the adoption of the technology, now accessible to 80 million registered domains.

The internet's root servers at the top of the DNS (Domain Name System) hierarchy added DNSSEC support last July. More than 25 top-level domains—including .gov, .org, .edu and .net—have enabled DNSSEC since then.

DNSSEC, or DNS Security Extensions, uses cryptographic checks to make sure that IP results returned by a DNS query point to the corresponding domain name. The technology is a countermeasure against DNS cache-poisoning attacks, such as those famously highlighted by security researcher Dan Kaminsky back in 2008.

The technology has existed for more than a decade and is seen as an important safeguard against certain types of "man in the middle" and cache-poisoning attacks. Despite its longevity, awareness of the importance of the protocol remains patchy.

For example, half the security experts quizzed in a recent survey by internet security firm IID (Internet Identity) admitted they either knew nothing about DNSSEC or only had limited familiarity with the protocol. ®

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