Revisiting the Root

The root of the DNS is widely misunderstood, with some believing the root servers control Internet traffic, are capable of filtering DNS queries, or are invulnerable to attack. This, of course, is not the case. This talk will discuss the DNS root system, exploring why it is the way it is and how it has met the needs of the Internet as the network has grown from a handful of sites to connecting over two billion users; why there are 13 root servers and how that limitation has been addressed; the threats the root faces and the implications of those threats and some mitigations of those threats; and how DNS root service can continue to evolve to meet the users of the Internet’s needs.

Key takeaways will suggest that while the root server operators have provided uninterrupted services from the invention of the DNS, the Internet has changed and solutions that worked in the past are unlikely to be applicable in the future. In particular, since root servers aren’t particularly special, and that decentralization and localization of root service may be one approach to mitigate increased risks.