he National Research Center for Applied Cybersecurity ATHENE has uncovered a critical flaw in the design of DNSSEC, the Security Extensions of DNS (Domain Name System). DNS is one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet. The design flaw has devastating consequences for essentially all DNSSEC-validating DNS implementations and public DNS providers, such as Google and Cloudflare. The ATHENE team, led by Prof. Dr. Haya Schulmann from Goethe University Frankfurt, developed “KeyTrap”, a new class of attacks: with just a single DNS packet hackers could stall all widely used DNS implementations and public DNS providers. Exploitation of this attack would have severe consequences for any application using the Internet including unavailability of technologies such as web-browsing, e-mail, and instant messaging. With KeyTrap, an attacker could completely disable large parts of the worldwide Internet. The researchers worked with all relevant vendors and major public DNS providers over several months, resulting in a number of vendor-specific patches, the last ones published on Tuesday, February 13. It is highly recommended for all providers of DNS services to apply these patches immediately to mitigate this critical vulnerability.