One thing we all rely on is the stability of the internet. Sure, it may move slow or crash every now and then, but that's mostly a function of your Wi-Fi connection or a buggy browser.
But there's a warning out about the internet that will send a chill down everybody's spine.
Experts are saying the internet itself might crash in just a few weeks. That may sound like a Hollywood movie hacker's dream come true, but it's real. And it's to prevent a real hack from taking place.
On Oct. 11, the organization that oversees the internet and makes sure it's stable will flip a switch and change some security on the internet.
An organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN, helps coordinate the Domain Name System (DNS), often referred to as "the phone book of the internet." DNS matches domain names with appropriate IP address numbers. ICANN also operates part of the DNS, and manages IP addresses and other protocol numbers.
ICANN is upgrading an encryption key to make sure crooks can't make changes or hijack the internet.
The part affected is the root zone, which is the last part of an internet address, like dot-com or dot-org.
On that date, you might start seeing 'server failure' messages, or it might happen to you a couple of days later, because many websites keep pages cached for up to two days.
Most users won't be affected because the older encryption key will still run for awhile, but up to 1% of people on the internet could have problems. Sounds like a small number, but the internet has about 3.6 billion users, so that means up to 36 million people could have trouble.
What you should do
If you are among the 1% that can't get pages to load, don't panic. The internet itself will be back.
In the meantime, you should definitely try closing your browser and restarting it. And if you're still having trouble, delete all your cookies and your history.
I'm taking you back 28 years to the beginning of the internet
Twenty-eight years ago the promise of the internet was grand: nothing less than the free exchange of ideas and information. Now we have a whole generation of people who have never lived without it. So how are they doing? Tap or click below to listen to a Consumer Tech update.