[dns-operations] summary of recent vulnerabilities in DNS security.

Jo Rhett jrhett at netconsonance.com
Tue Oct 22 23:28:28 UTC 2013

I am not at liberty to disclose location or vendor, but I'm aware of linux boxes handling 20k PPS mixed UDP/TCP at an average 2% CPU. They aren't even modern boxes although a bit newer than the dual core that Vernon mentions below. In short, I agree completely with everything Vernon said here. I suspect outdated information or some other factor was involved.

On Oct 22, 2013, at 4:03 PM, Vernon Schryver <vjs at rhyolite.com> wrote:
> I'm puzzled by the explanation of Socket Overloading in 
> https://sites.google.com/site/hayashulman/files/NIC-derandomisation.pdf
> I understand it to say that Linux on a 3 GHz CPU receiving 25,000
> packets/second (500 bytes @ 100 Mbit/sec) spends so much time in
> interrupt code that low level packet buffers overflow.
> That puzzles me for reasons that might be summarized by considering
> my claim of 20 years ago that ttcp ran at wirespeed over FDDI with
> only 40-60% of a 100 MHz CPU.
> https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.sys.sgi.hardware/S0ZFRpGMPWA
> https://www.google.com/search?q=ttcp
> Those tests used a 4 KByte MTU and so about 3K pps instead of 25K pps.
> The FDDI firmware and driver avoided all interrupts when running at
> speed, but I think even cheap modern PCI Ethernet cards have "interrupt
> bursting." Reasonable network hardware interrupts the host only when
> the input queue goes from empty to not empty or the output queue goes
> below perhaps half full full, and then only interupts after a delay
> equal to perhaps half a minimum sized packet on the medium.  I wouldn't
> expect cheap PCI cards to be that reasonable, or have hacks such as
> ring buffer with prime number lengths to avoid other interrupts.
> Still, ...
> IRIX did what I called "page flipping" and what most call "zero copy I/O"
> for user/kernel-space copying, but modern CPUs are or can be screaming
> monsters while copying bytes which should reduce that advantage.  It
> would be irrelevant for packets dropped in the driver, but not if the
> bottleneck is in user space such as overloaded DNS server.
> That old ttcp number was for TCP instead of UDP, which would be an
> advantage for modern Linux.
> So I would have guessed, without having looked at Linux network
> code for many years, that even Linux should be using less than 20%
> of a 3 GHz CPU doing not only interrupts but all of UDP/IP.
>  100MHz/3GHz * 60% * 25000 pps /3000 pps = 17%
> Could the packet losses have been due to the system trying to send
> lots of ICMP Port-Unreachables?  I have the confused impression that
> Socket Overloading can involve flooding unrelated ports.
> How was it confirmed that kernel interrupt handling was the cause
> of the packet losses instead of the application (DNS server) getting
> swamped and forcing the kernel to drop packets instead of putting
> them into the application socket buffer?  Were giant application
> socket buffers tried, perhaps with the Linux SO_RCVBUFFORCE?
> (probably a 30 second change for BIND)
> 25K qps is not a big queryperf number, which is another reason why I
> don't understand how only 25K UDP qps could swamp a Linux kernel.  Just
> now the loopback smoke-test for RPZ for BIND 9.9.4 with the rpz2 patch
> reported "24940 qps without RPZ" on a 2-core 2.4 GHz CPU running FreeBSD 9.0.
> What about the claims of Gbit/sec transfer speeds with Linux?
> https://www.google.com/search?q=linux+gigabit+ethernet+speed
> I'm not questioning the reported measurements; they are what they are.
> However, if they were due to application overload instead of interrupt
> processing, then there might be defenses such as giant socket buffers.
> Vernon Schryver    vjs at rhyolite.com
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Jo Rhett
Net Consonance : net philanthropy to improve open source and internet projects.

Author of Instant Puppet 3 Starter: http://www.netconsonance.com/instant-puppet-3-starter-book/

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