The CEO of a UK-based Domain Name Server company has become one of only seven people in the world entrusted with a cryptographic key required to 'restart' the Internet's network of DNS servers in the event of an emergency.
DNS, or 'Domain Name System' servers provide a constantly updated address book that translates the recognisable web addresses we use into the numeric IP addresses used by Internet-attached devices. Without them, the Internet would effectively grind to a halt.
British entrepreneur Paul Kane has been selected to hold the encryption key for Western Europe.
The arrangement is part of a new verification process, named DNSSEC or Domain Name System Security, that is being launched this month to increase security on the Internet. DNSSEC adds a digital signatures to standard DNS queries on order to verify their authenticity.
According to a BBC report, in the event of a major online attack, Kane may be required to undertake an arduous quest to the United States. There he will meet with five fellow key holders at a secure location to perform a mystical ceremony designed to recover the Internet's master signing key, so that order may once again prevail.
Other key holders are believed to include two elves, a wizard, a dwarf and at least one halfling with hairy toes.
Kane's key is now stored in a safety deposit box in Bath, UK.
Rumours of a number of so-called 'black riders' descending on the city, bent on discovering the whereabouts of the key, are said to be unfounded.