[dns-operations] NXDOMAIN vs NOERROR/no answers for non-existant records

Paul Vixie paul at redbarn.org
Tue Apr 7 05:05:25 UTC 2020

On Monday, 6 April 2020 16:19:44 UTC Dave Lawrence wrote:
> Matthew Richardson writes:
> > However, is this going to cause any practical problems?
> Even outside DNSSEC, where it absolutely would be a problem, there are
> some context for specialty applications where the difference between
> the two types of negative answers is meaningful.  The examples I can
> think of off the top of my head are proprietary, but the general idea
> should hold: if two things have semantically different meanings,
> people somewhere are making use of the distinction.

when i first read "dnssec done right", i thought as you describe. hereis:


no mystery: i still think as you describe. the text in question is this:

> DNSSEC Done Right
> January 29, 2015 12:10 PM
> Ólafur Guðmundsson
> ...
> Second, we do negative answers in a special way. Negative answers in DNSSEC
> can get large. For zones signed with NSEC, it’s not uncommon to have SOA +
> RRSIG(SOA) + 2 NSEC records + 2 RRSIG(NSEC) records in the negative
> answers. Even for the weakest RSA keys allowed, this results in an answer
> that is at least 635 bytes. NSEC3 signed answers require, in most cases, 3
> NSEC3 and 3 RRSIG (NSEC3) records to deny the existence of the item asked
> for—that’s at least 1000 bytes. So we selected NSEC as our negative answer
> and use ECC keys. But the biggest saving comes from not having to prove
> that the covering wildcard exists at all, which is the role of the second
> NSEC record. We return an answer that says, “sure, the name exists, but the
> type you asked for does not”. This allows us to return only one NSEC record
> in negative answers!

i hope CF will differentiate NODATA from NXDOMAIN in their signed DNSSEC 
responses, because the difference is absolutely vital to anyone who uses DNS 
analytics as a defense vector.

cc'ing the author of that blog post here, in case this thread wasn't visible.


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