[dns-operations] DNS .com/.net resolution problems in the Asia/Pacific region

Shumon Huque shuque at gmail.com
Wed Jul 19 15:23:37 UTC 2023

On Wed, Jul 19, 2023 at 3:28 AM Shane Kerr <shane at time-travellers.org>

> Shumon and all,
> On 18/07/2023 21.41, Shumon Huque wrote:
> > On Tue, Jul 18, 2023 at 3:29 PM Viktor Dukhovni <ietf-dane at dukhovni.org
> > <mailto:ietf-dane at dukhovni.org>> wrote:
> >
> > Yes, I agree. A resolver can't really tell that a response with an
> > expired signature wasn't an attacker trying to replay old data. For
> > robustness against attacks, it must re-query other available other
> > servers if they exist.
> I kind of think that a resolver using UDP should just drop a response on
> the floor if it has an expired signature. Otherwise an attacker can
> induce behavior change by spoofing replies, which is itself a security
> problem (in this case, blocking with a response that would arrive later
> and work, effectively removing a name server from the set of name
> servers queried for a given lookup).

The problem is that in the general case the resolver can't really tell if
this was an attack or a misconfiguration. So, it's best to build in robust
behavior to deal with the case more generally. Which in my opinion is
"drop the response on the floor, maybe blacklist the server for a while,
and retry the next server". If a later valid response does come, then be
prepared to accept it (if you've still held on to the query).

This idea mostly applies to UDP without DNS cookies since it is the only
> transport easily vulnerable to spoofing. With other transports you are
> much more sure that the answer actually came from the server you are
> querying, and so you can be confident that the server is giving out
> bogus answers. (TCP is vulnerable to BGP hijacking and the like, but in
> that case you would still expect to get bogus answers for subsequent
> queries to the same server.)

Well, there are inline attackers as well and DNSSEC is designed to protect
against those too. If this only applied to UDP, then other protocols that
connection oriented transport or session oriented frameworks on top of UDP
would not bother with cryptographic authentication either. And yet, they all

Unfortunately I don't think any resolvers hold onto a UDP query until
> after the DNSSEC validation. So there is not really much option other
> than to try again. 🤓

Yeah, but I don't really see that as a problem. I see concerns have been
raised in this thread about the NXNAME attack and such dissuading
resolver implementers from more retries, but in my view the only thing
that taught us is that resolver implementers need to go back to first
principles and sensibly bound the amount of work they are willing to do,
not eliminate retries.

To quote RFC 1034 (published in 1987):

"The recommended priorities for the resolver designer are:

   1. Bound the amount of work (packets sent, parallel processes
      started) so that a request can't get into an infinite loop or
      start off a chain reaction of requests or queries with other

Note: the capitalized phrase for emphasis.

(My addendum: they should also bound the time spent.)

Transient configuration problems are _pervasive_ in deployed DNS
infrastructure. If BIND for example did not have the robust retry
behavior that Mark Andrews documented upthread, we could never
have used them in our infrastructure. In my experience Unbound also
had the same robustness, but I'm now a little concerned by the description
of the Unbound failures reported by Gavin M during this Verisign incident.
Maybe they have limited retries too aggressively? It would be good to
get some NLnetLabs colleagues to chime in with a description of their

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