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Yeti KSK Rollover Experiment (KROLL)

The Yeti KSK rollover experiment is designed to perform a single KSK roll for the Yeti root and observe the effects.

The Yeti root KSK rollover will use the KSK Double-DS rollover as described in RFC 6787, although without publishing the DS in the parent (since the root has no parent):

It will follow the timings described in RFC 5011, to allow resolvers to automatically update their trust anchors.

Note that this is NOT the same as the proposed KSK rollover that ICANN is going to use for the IANA root. This experiment covers a simple KSK roll. An experiment to duplicate conditions similar to the ICANN roll will be performed later.

Description of the Yeti root KSK

The Yeti root KSK uses the RSA/SHA-256 algorithm with a 2048 bit key, the same as the IANA root KSK. It is generated on software, and stored on systems secured with similar security to enterprise computing resources; no HSM is used, and no documented procedures exist for access or updating the KSK.

Experiment Plan

The basic plan is "do it and see what happens".

The approach is:

  1. Generate a new KSK. This will be placed into the DM synchronization repository. The DM synchronization is described here:

    This KSK will appear in the Yeti root, but not be used for signing.

  2. Wait 30 days.

  3. Set the "revoked" flag on the old KSK and place that into the DM synchronization repository. The ZSK will be signed with the old and the new KSK.

  4. Wait 30 days.

  5. Remove the old KSK at each distribution master.

Rollback Procedures

It is unlikely that an error occurs while still using the old KSK for signing. If this happens, then we can simply remove the new KSK.

If an problem happens after changing to the new KSK, we will not be able to simply go back to the old KSK, since it will have the "revoked" flag set. Depending on the nature of the failure, resolver operators may need to update their configurations manually to fix the problem. This will be announced on the Yeti Discuss list as well as on the Yeti website.

What to Measure

We are currently capturing questions at many root servers. We should also change our capture scripts so that they also capture responses.

Since these measurements are occurring at all times, we do not need to add any more captures. We should look monitor the traffic before and after we add the new KSK to see if there are any changes, such as a drop off of packets or a increase in retries.

We set up checks for the MZSK experiment to confirm that we can lookup and validate a range of zones, using both BIND 9 and Unbound. We will keep these in place for the KROLL experiment.

The size of DNSKEY lookups for the root zone will increase, but it will still be less than during the MZSK experiment, when we had 7 DNSKEY at one time for the root.


Since the Yeti DNS Project already has all the necessary infrastructure for this experiment, it is straightforward, requiring no preparation in advance.

We can do preparation and add the new KSK on 2016-07-10 (Sunday).

We can switch signing to the new KSK on 2016-08-12 (Monday), which is more than 30 days later. This will also set the revoked bit on the old KSK.

The old KSK will be totally removed on 2016-09-14 (Thursday), which is more than 30 days after the revoked bit is set.

Report Format

As with prior experiments, when the KROLL experiment is complete we will produce a final report.

This will include the motivation and actions taken, as well as any observations made during the experiment. The results of traffic analysis will be included, along with a conclusion.


Thanks to 龚道彪 (Kevin) at BII for the initial documentation of the KSK roll process.