The 7 people who can restart the Internet

ICANN picks the team that will reignite the fire shoud it go out

Call them this era's Magnificent Seven. Seven people around the world hold the keys to the Internet, uniquely charged to restart the global network should a terrorist attack, hacking event or other calamity put it out of commission.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers developed the plan and chose the seven keyholders, according to a report at NewScientist.com. In the event of a major attack, the keyholders would combine the code they hold to recover the master signing key, necessary to restore the Web servers that power much of the Internet.

While no one could actually turn off the entire Internet, the new Domain Name System Security Extensions being deployed throughout the system ensures that Web sites had official approval and are digitally signed to document their authenticity. In the event of a major attack, DNSSEC could break the connections to the signed sites to protect them, according to a report in Metro in the United Kingdom.

The keyholders would be summoned to a base in the United States to oversee a reboot of the system, using their keys to enable it.

ICANN has chosen not to keep the keyholders' identies secret. They are:

  • Paul Kane, chief executive officer of CommunityDN in England;
  • Dan Kaminsky, chief scientist at Recursion Ventures in New York City;
  • Jiankang Yao of China;
  • Moussa Guebre of Burkina Faso;
  • Bevil Wooding from Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Ondrej Sury of the Czech Republic, and;
  • Norm Ritchie of Canada.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.