Black Hat: Internet gets 'biggest upgrade since World Wide Web'

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Black Hat: Internet gets 'biggest upgrade since World Wide Web'

DNS Security Extensions could cripple man-in-the-middle attacks.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has announced what it claims is the biggest upgrade to the internet's infrastructure since the introduction of the World Wide Web.

Domain owners will be able to certify themselves under the DNS Security Extensions system to ensure that a web page is from the stated provider, and eliminate many popular attacks.

Rod Beckstrom, chairman and chief executive of Icann, told V3.co.uk that Vint Cerf, chief internet evangelist at Google, had called the new system the most important change in the internet since the development of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Beckstrom held a press conference at Black Hat 2010 with Dan Kaminsky, the hacker who broke the existing DNS system, to explain the change.

"What DNSSec allows is that each party online can say not only am I sending you a mail but I can put a stamp on it so you can see it's real," said Kaminsky. "This isn't something we've had the ability to do on a wide scale."

The new system has already been integrated into the .org and .uk DNS, and the team hopes that the low cost of entry and the security provided will prompt a major rollout.

Such a system could cripple spoofers and man-in-the-middle attacks by eliminating the ability of hackers to create false identities.

The system is not perfect, Kaminsky admitted, but will raise the bar for hackers seeking to exploit the system.

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