[dns-operations] DNS Attack over UDP fragmentation

Aaron Campbell aaron at arbor.net
Sat Sep 7 11:27:47 UTC 2013

On 2013-09-06, at 1:42 PM, Robert Edmonds <edmonds at mycre.ws> wrote:

> Aaron Campbell wrote:
>> Here is a thought, but I will defer to the protocol experts on plausibility.  The resolver knows the size of each DNS message it parses.  What if it didn't trust glue records contained within large (i.e., > 1400 bytes or so) responses?  In these cases, the resolver sends a separate query to resolve the dangling authority NS records.  This introduces overhead, but only for large replies.  It also makes a few assumptions, namely that the fragmentation point is something around 1500 bytes (and not something lower), and that the attack is only practical against the glue records, not the authority section.  May be able to play games with name compression there though… perhaps it is as least worth discussing as an additional barrier.
> this sounds vaguely similar to unbound's "harden-referral-path" option,
> though it applies to all lookups.

I researched this, and found that it was first described here:


The option is currently marked "experimental" due to not being RFC standard, and performance concerns.  If the option were applied only to large responses (specifically to mitigate this type of attack), that would reduce the performance impact.


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