DNS Flag Day: Global change to Internet could disturb unprepared websites

A global change to the Internet today could hit tens of thousands of unprepared websites around the world. 

It all comes down to what's called DNS Flag Day, an international change to Domain Name System (DNS) software, a key technology that underpins the Internet. 

The changes have been agreed on by software and service giants such as Google, Facebook and Cisco, because non-compliant DNS implementations in the wider Internet are preventing the deployment of new features. 

"The current DNS is unnecessarily slow and inefficient because of efforts to accommodate a few DNS systems that are not in compliance with DNS standards established two decades ago," the DNS Flag Day website says.

"To ensure further sustainability of the system it is time to end these accommodations and remediate the non-compliant systems."

New Zealand's no exception to the disruption, and InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter said the non-profit has been preparing for the change for more than six months. 

"InternetNZ has been hard at work finding which .nz domains are set to break," he said, adding that 8,349 .nz domain names had been deemed at risk of disruption. 

But thanks to InternetNZ's attention, the number of .nz domains at risk has been reduced to only 508, Mr Carter said. 

DNS Flag Day: Global change to Internet could disturb unprepared websites
Photo credit: Supplied

"The team at InternetNZ, led by Chief Scientist Sebastian Castro, has put in the hard yards on this change. Being able to significantly decrease the number of broken .nz domains is a huge success for many New Zealanders."

Among the domains that were set to break were high profile government agencies and banks, according to the non-profit dedicated to protecting New Zealand's Internet. 

Mr Carter said ensuring those domains were fixed was a high priority for InternetNZ as it would have affected many Kiwis.  

Registrars and DNS suppliers have been contacted by InternetNZ and Domain Name Commission staff and were advised to make changes to fix all of the affected domains ahead of DNS Flag Day. 

The changes are expected to make most DNS operations slightly "more efficient", and also allow new functionalities, including new ways to protect against cyber-attacks.

If you're concerned about your website, or one you access, type the address into the checker here.  


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