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Misconfiguration Brings Down Entire .SE Domain in Sweden

A incorrect configuration within Swedens .SE zone caused temporary shutdown of all websites under the country code top-level domain. Web monitoring company, Royal Pingdom, also located in Sweden reports: “Last night, a routine maintenance of Sweden’s top-level domain .se went seriously wrong, introducing an error that made DNS lookups for all .se domain names start failing. The entire Swedish Internet effectively stopped working at this point. Swedish (.se) websites could not be reached, email to Swedish domain names stopped working, and for many these problems persist still. According to sources we have inside the Swedish web hosting industry, the .se zone, the central record for the .se top-level domain, broke at 21:45 local time and was not returned to normal until 22:43 local time.”

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DNS Early Warning System Karl Auerbach  –  Oct 13, 2009 6:17 PM

On my very first day on the ICANN board of directors in 2000 I recommended that ICANN establish an “early warning system” to watch root and top level domain behaviour for signs of errors or instability.

It would have been a relatively lightweight system of simple scripts that did queries and applied heuristics to look for patterns suggesting problems.  There was potential buy-in from a company that already had a worldwide array of machines that monitor website activity - in other words ICANN would could have gotten a free ride on an existing infrastructure.

I believe that such a system could have quickly detected the .se error before it had time to propagate widely into DNS caches.

ICANN’s response at the time, and ever since, has been to yawn, as if to say, “we don’t care about real DNS stability, we care only about trademarks.”

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