SWITCH, the Registry responsible for running the .CH country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), recently announced that in late December 2019 some 100,000 .CH domain names had been registered using Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC).  Although the percentage of .CH domain names that are registered with DNSSEC is below 5%, the number of domain names registered with DNSSEC increased by 54% over the course of 2019.

DNSSEC was designed and implemented as a response to the inherent security vulnerabilities in the way that the Domain Name System (DNS) operates.  Due to these inherent vulnerabilities, it is possible to divert Internet users away from intended website destinations, redirecting users to third party websites without their knowledge.  This can result in the dissemination of computer viruses, malware and even theft of sensitive financial and personal data. 

DNSSEC seeks to mitigate the risk of harm to Internet users by introducing additional security at the level of the domain name servers, which ensures that Internet users are alerted to any possible redirection to third-party websites that are not their intended online destination.  This additional layer of security aims protect websites associated with .CH domain names from online attacks. 

These online attacks can take the form of "DNS spoofing" (gaining unauthorized access to domain name servers on which a domain name is hosted in order to redirect visitors to an alternative website) or "DNS hijacking" (modifying a domain name's server data to gain control of it).  Online attacks may also attempt to obtain Internet users' confidential personal information, such as email or social media credentials, or bank details.  This type of fraudulent activity is a serious threat to users, and may have a detrimental effect on the domain name holder and their online business, potentially resulting in a loss of revenue as well as a loss in consumer confidence in relation to the business in question.  Thus, DNSSEC aims to build a "chain of trust" between Internet users and the websites they visit.

Authored by Anchovy Domain Names Team

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