Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Find: That .gov outage this morning? Blame an error in domain name security

Like optical illusions reveal perceptual truths, web outages reveal Internet truths 

// published on Ars Technica // visit site

That .gov outage this morning? Blame an error in domain name security

This morning, citizens trying to reach US government websites got a bit of a surprise—the entirety of the .gov top level domain appeared to be offline. The reason: a hiccup in the Domain Name Service Security Extension (DNSSEC) information being distributed by .gov's registry.

According to a source at the General Services Administration, which operates the .gov registry, the registry team discovered that the DNSSEC information being distributed by its root domain name server had somehow become corrupted. The corruption affected the root domain's digital signature, making it appear not to be the authoritative server for the government's Internet names. As DNS data aged and expired, government sites disappeared from the Internet's directory and became unreachable by their host names (though the servers remained up).

The team reset the DNS server to correct the error. By around 10:20am Eastern Time today, government sites magically reappeared on the Internet. Resolution of the sites within the government's own networks was never interrupted.

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