By Carolyn Duffy Marsan
When you file your taxes online, you want to be sure that the Web site
you visit -- www.irs.gov -- is operated by the Internal Revenue Service
and not a scam artist. By the end of next year, you can be confident
that every U.S. government Web page is being served up by the
That.s because the feds have launched the largest-ever rollout of a new
authentication mechanism for the Internet.s DNS. All federal agencies
are deploying DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) on the .gov top-level
domain, and some expect that once that rollout is complete, banks and
other businesses might be encouraged to follow suit for their sites.
DNSSEC prevents hackers from hijacking Web traffic and redirecting it to
bogus sites. The Internet standard prevents spoofing attacks by allowing
Web sites to verify their domain names and corresponding IP addresses
using digital signatures and public-key encryption.
With DNSSEC deployed, federal Web sites "are less prone to be hacked
into, and it means they can offer their services with greater assurances
to the public," says Leslie Daigle, Chief Internet Technology Officer
for the Internet Society. "DNSSEC means more confidence in government
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