Marcel Schneider, Manager International Relations SWITCH to the left and Bill Woodcock, Director of PCH at the inauguration of the new Internet security facility
On Monday, 20 February 2012, a new Internet security facility was inaugurated in Zurich. The facility, operated jointly by Packet Clearing House (PCH) and SWITCH, hosts the secret cryptographic keys that allow many countries to secure their national domain names. Two related facilities are in operation, in San José and Singapore.
The domain name security facilities in Zurich, Singapore and San José (California) hold secret cryptographic keys that allow countries to secure their national country-code domains using the DNSSEC security protocol. This project has already been fully taken up by a number of smaller countries such as Montserrat, the Solomon Islands and Tanzania. Their citizens are assured of a higher level of authenticity in their web browsing, online banking, e-mail, and other Internet transactions. DNSSEC provides Internet users with a digital signature, guaranteeing that they will only be shown the actual website that they wish to call up.
A key step in the completion of global domain name security system
Bill Woodcock, Director of Packet Clearing House, came over especially from San Francisco for the inauguration of the Zurich facility, carrying the cryptographic keys in a tamper-proof electronic briefcase. "The inauguration of the Zurich facility is a key step in the completion of this global domain name security system. By hosting the secret keys in Switzerland and Singapore, both widely-trusted neutral countries, we can now provide the geopolitical diversity that countries need when they’re digitally signing the domains of their national banks, universities, and government agencies". SWITCH and Packet Clearing House have enjoyed a long-standing collaboration, as PCH hosts .ch and .li domain name servers on SWITCH’s behalf in more than eighty locations around the world.
What is DNSSEC?
DNSSEC is an extension of the Domain Name System (DNS), which serves to secure the authenticity and integrity of the data in DNS responses. Through technical means, the querying computer (e.g. an Internet browser) is able to establish whether the response for an Internet address in the DNS actually comes from the server that is registered as being competent at SWITCH. At the same time, DNSSEC makes sure that this response has not been modified on its way through the Internet.
As a non-profit organisation, SWITCH has been guaranteeing Switzerland’s access to the Internet for more than 20 years. One hundred employees work on a daily basis on further developing internet technology, facilitating the exchange of knowledge for Swiss universities and increasing the security of the internet in Switzerland. In 2012, the internet service provider with its head office in Zurich will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.
About Packet Clearing House (PCH)
Packet Clearing House is a non-profit research institute that supports operations and analysis in internet traffic exchange, routing economics and global network development. PCH operates name servers for SWITCH for the top-level domains .ch and .li.