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Online security update hits major snag

04 October 2017 - 09:26 by Mike Price

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While many people think of the internet as being an amorphous digital entity that is not exactly unified in its infrastructure, in reality there are quite a few core servers and systems which act as the backbone of most modern online communication. Now the body responsible for overseeing its underpinnings is in the process of taking action to improve security for billions of users worldwide.

This is good news for people who want to shop online with confidence, or use any other web-based service for that matter. But there has been a hitch in the rollout of a major security update which has resulted in unexpected delays, according to the Register.

Experts at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had to put the brakes on its planned changes to the way that security is handled. This is because it was revealed that millions of people may end up without internet access if the update was fully implemented.

While the underlying issues at play here are incredibly complex, the basic idea is that engineers are attempting to provide improved protection for the systems which link website URLs, made up of letters and numbers, with the underlying IP addresses via which they are hosted.

Domain names need to be trusted to be effective and so any weakness in the chain of association could be catastrophic, hence the need for tighter security. But problems with older versions of the system in question have resulted in these delays.

ICANN expects that it will be able to resume the rollout early next year to avoid any disruption. In the meantime, people can continue to carry out safe shopping online with reputable retailers, but it pays to be aware of security issues like this.