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Offline Metgod

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DNS inventor calls for security overhaul
« on: April 12, 2003, 09:59:23 PM »
comments on any of this ?

DNS inventor calls for security overhaul

By John Leyden
Posted: 11/04/2003

Web site impersonation could become as great a risk as ID theft, Paul
Mockapetris, the co-inventor of DNS warns.

Waiting in the wings is a better security standard for the Internet's
Domain Name System. It's called DNSSec, and it uses digital signatures
to guard against impersonation. But political wrangles are holding up
adoption, Mockapetris claims.

A denial of service attack last October which took out seven of the
Internet's 13 DNS root-name servers last October, highlighted the
fragility of the Internet's addressing system. Mockapetris, chief
scientist at Internet infrastructure firm Nominum, reckons the threat
has been overplayed: people are neglecting greater, related risks, he
told us.

Since the data in root-name servers changes infrequently a denial of
service attack has relatively little impact, unless it goes on for
days, he argues. That's because key data is cached locally by large
ISPs and enterprises.

However an attack against country level DNS, or worse, a successful
attempt to counterfeit DNS data would have far greater impact.

To date there have been few such attacks, apart from the recent
onslaught against the Al-Jazeera network. But the current DNS system
provides no guarantees against impersonation and must be updated,
Mockapetris argues.

The Internet Engineering Task Force has yet to ratify DNSSec, designed
to underpin the system with security keys and certificates to create a
"chain of trust" in some ways similar to extranet systems. According
to Mockapetris, ratification of the standard, which has been in
development for years, is still at least six months off.

Politics, rather than technology issues, are the main reason for the
delay, he claims. Holding up progress are arguments over whether or
not to grant ICANN the role as a trusted third party signing root
keys, and disagreements over where a company should make all its
domains secure at the same time.

Public Key Infrastructure systems have failed to storm the market as
forecast, largely because of deployment headaches and incompatibility
between different vendors.

Mockapetris believes a lightweight ("lean and mean") PKI
infrastructure built into the DNS system through DNSSec has a much
greater chance of becoming ubiquitous. The system could plug into
browsers and provide for an automatic way to exchange keys.  
Cryptographic work would be done at the client by DNSSec-aware
applications so DNS lookup speed will not suffer. This approach would
allow secure DNS look-up by users - even if their own ISPs hadn't
upgraded their DNS servers.

Government and financial service institutions could be using DNS Sec
within two years and the standard could become ubiquitous in five
years time, Mockapetris believes.

The system would mean surfers are guaranteed that they are taken to
the Web site they intended to visit. DNS Sec would increase safeguards
and detect attempts to impersonate sites, guarding against fraudulent
Web scams.

Mockapetris sees the system as operating at a lower level than site
certificates, which he described as a "complementary technology. I
don't believe in the grand unification theory."

He describes DNS Sec as a first level ID check, which is still vital
to build trust on the Net. "If you don't have secure DNS, how can you
trust higher level protocols?"

A security model for DNS would bolster Web services and help secure IP
telephony. Fraud and impersonation will run rampant without this
security model, according to Mockapetris.

The DNS system provides a means for domain names to be translated into
Internet Protocol addresses. DNS underpins email delivery and Web

Mockapetris co-invented the domain name system (DNS) in collaboration
with the late Jon Postel) in 1983. He received an IEEE Internet Award
this year for this work.

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Offline wilnix

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Re:DNS inventor calls for security overhaul
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2003, 04:13:14 PM »
As with every service designed before security was an issue, i think the "overhaul" is mandatory....hell, i cant wait to go to ipv6..... 8)

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