Is there really a key to reboot the net?

This doesn’t seem very efficient at all; one of the key-holders is located in Bath, UK, yet the reboot center is located in the USA?

Sort of. Meet one of the seven trusted individuals who can fix the internet in the event of a major catastrophe

It sounds like a Fellowship of the Ring for the internet age – a carefully chosen alliance of technology warriors, safeguarding a mythical key that could one day shut down the internet. According to yesterday’s news reports, these keyholders will share responsibility for “rebooting the web” in the event of a catastrophic global meltdown.

Bath technologist Paul Kane – one of the individuals in the “chain of trust” – spent about 15 minutes revelling in his new-found fame before having to set the record straight. “It’s just not as sexy as that,” he says, in between TV interviews and a chat with Eddie Mair on Radio 4.

Kane, who is chief executive of a Bath-based tech firm called CommunityDNS, is part of a team that has spent 10 years working on a security system (DNSSEC) that companies can use to make their sites safer.

To demonstrate how secure their technology is, the launch included the coronation of seven “keyholders”. In the event of a terrorist attack or major disaster, five of those keyholders would meet in a secure location in the US to restart the system.

So would that giant ctrl+alt+delete reboot the whole internet? “Nope,” says Kane – only the small proportion of internet sites using DNSSEC. “The rest of the internet would continue to function as normal.”

And it’s not actually a key – it’s a swipe card. And technically, just one fifth of a key. “Yes. I have a fragment of the key,” says Kane, whose enthusiasm for dumbing down his hard work is clearly starting to wane.

Is there a chance that this system could be extended to the whole internet – one key to rule them all? “Never. Even if there was such a key, it would trigger the balkanisation of the internet,” says Kane. “The EU wouldn’t want the US to have it, the Middle East wouldn’t want the EU to have it, the US wouldn’t want anyone to have it.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote device management products for IT applications. WTI’s Serial Console Server products, Remote Reboot products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback products are engineered to allow you to securely manage and troubleshoot rack equipment in remote locations.

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