[Docs] [txt|pdf] [draft-ietf-dnsind...] [Diff1] [Diff2] [Errata]

Updated by: 4035, 4033, 4034, 6604 PROPOSED STANDARD
Errata Exist
Network Working Group                                          M. Andrews
Request for Comments: 2308                                          CSIRO
Updates: 1034, 1035                                            March 1998
Category: Standards Track


              Negative Caching of DNS Queries (DNS NCACHE)

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   [RFC1034] provided a description of how to cache negative responses.
   It however had a fundamental flaw in that it did not allow a name
   server to hand out those cached responses to other resolvers, thereby
   greatly reducing the effect of the caching.  This document addresses
   issues raise in the light of experience and replaces [RFC1034 Section
   4.3.4].

   Negative caching was an optional part of the DNS specification and
   deals with the caching of the non-existence of an RRset [RFC2181] or
   domain name.

   Negative caching is useful as it reduces the response time for
   negative answers.  It also reduces the number of messages that have
   to be sent between resolvers and name servers hence overall network
   traffic.  A large proportion of DNS traffic on the Internet could be
   eliminated if all resolvers implemented negative caching.  With this
   in mind negative caching should no longer be seen as an optional part
   of a DNS resolver.











Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 1]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


1 - Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED",  "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

   "Negative caching" - the storage of knowledge that something does not
   exist.  We can store the knowledge that a record has a particular
   value.  We can also do the reverse, that is, to store the knowledge
   that a record does not exist.  It is the storage of knowledge that
   something does not exist, cannot or does not give an answer that we
   call negative caching.

   "QNAME" - the name in the query section of an answer, or where this
   resolves to a CNAME, or CNAME chain, the data field of the last
   CNAME.  The last CNAME in this sense is that which contains a value
   which does not resolve to another CNAME.  Implementations should note
   that including CNAME records in responses in order, so that the first
   has the label from the query section, and then each in sequence has
   the label from the data section of the previous (where more than one
   CNAME is needed) allows the sequence to be processed in one pass, and
   considerably eases the task of the receiver.  Other relevant records
   (such as SIG RRs [RFC2065]) can be interspersed amongst the CNAMEs.

   "NXDOMAIN" - an alternate expression for the "Name Error" RCODE as
   described in [RFC1035 Section 4.1.1] and the two terms are used
   interchangeably in this document.

   "NODATA" - a pseudo RCODE which indicates that the name is valid, for
   the given class, but are no records of the given type.  A NODATA
   response has to be inferred from the answer.

   "FORWARDER" - a nameserver used to resolve queries instead of
   directly using the authoritative nameserver chain.  The forwarder
   typically either has better access to the internet, or maintains a
   bigger cache which may be shared amongst many resolvers.  How a
   server is identified as a FORWARDER, or knows it is a FORWARDER is
   outside the scope of this document.  However if you are being used as
   a forwarder the query will have the recursion desired flag set.

   An understanding of [RFC1034], [RFC1035] and [RFC2065] is expected
   when reading this document.









Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 2]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


2 - Negative Responses

   The most common negative responses indicate that a particular RRset
   does not exist in the DNS.  The first sections of this document deal
   with this case.  Other negative responses can indicate failures of a
   nameserver, those are dealt with in section 7 (Other Negative
   Responses).

   A negative response is indicated by one of the following conditions:

2.1 - Name Error

   Name errors (NXDOMAIN) are indicated by the presence of "Name Error"
   in the RCODE field.  In this case the domain referred to by the QNAME
   does not exist.  Note: the answer section may have SIG and CNAME RRs
   and the authority section may have SOA, NXT [RFC2065] and SIG RRsets.

   It is possible to distinguish between a referral and a NXDOMAIN
   response by the presense of NXDOMAIN in the RCODE regardless of the
   presence of NS or SOA records in the authority section.

   NXDOMAIN responses can be categorised into four types by the contents
   of the authority section.  These are shown below along with a
   referral for comparison.  Fields not mentioned are not important in
   terms of the examples.

           NXDOMAIN RESPONSE: TYPE 1.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NXDOMAIN
           Query:
               AN.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               AN.EXAMPLE. CNAME TRIPPLE.XX.
           Authority:
               XX. SOA NS1.XX. HOSTMASTER.NS1.XX. ....
               XX. NS NS1.XX.
               XX. NS NS2.XX.
           Additional:
               NS1.XX. A 127.0.0.2
               NS2.XX. A 127.0.0.3

           NXDOMAIN RESPONSE: TYPE 2.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NXDOMAIN
           Query:
               AN.EXAMPLE. A



Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 3]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


           Answer:
               AN.EXAMPLE. CNAME TRIPPLE.XX.
           Authority:
               XX. SOA NS1.XX. HOSTMASTER.NS1.XX. ....
           Additional:
               <empty>

           NXDOMAIN RESPONSE: TYPE 3.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NXDOMAIN
           Query:
               AN.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               AN.EXAMPLE. CNAME TRIPPLE.XX.
           Authority:
               <empty>
           Additional:
               <empty>

           NXDOMAIN RESPONSE: TYPE 4

           Header:
               RDCODE=NXDOMAIN
           Query:
               AN.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               AN.EXAMPLE. CNAME TRIPPLE.XX.
           Authority:
               XX. NS NS1.XX.
               XX. NS NS2.XX.
           Additional:
               NS1.XX. A 127.0.0.2
               NS2.XX. A 127.0.0.3

           REFERRAL RESPONSE.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NOERROR
           Query:
               AN.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               AN.EXAMPLE. CNAME TRIPPLE.XX.
           Authority:
               XX. NS NS1.XX.
               XX. NS NS2.XX.
           Additional:
               NS1.XX. A 127.0.0.2



Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 4]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


               NS2.XX. A 127.0.0.3

   Note, in the four examples of NXDOMAIN responses, it is known that
   the name "AN.EXAMPLE." exists, and has as its value a CNAME record.
   The NXDOMAIN refers to "TRIPPLE.XX", which is then known not to
   exist.  On the other hand, in the referral example, it is shown that
   "AN.EXAMPLE" exists, and has a CNAME RR as its value, but nothing is
   known one way or the other about the existence of "TRIPPLE.XX", other
   than that "NS1.XX" or "NS2.XX" can be consulted as the next step in
   obtaining information about it.

   Where no CNAME records appear, the NXDOMAIN response refers to the
   name in the label of the RR in the question section.

2.1.1 Special Handling of Name Error

   This section deals with errors encountered when implementing negative
   caching of NXDOMAIN responses.

   There are a large number of resolvers currently in existence that
   fail to correctly detect and process all forms of NXDOMAIN response.
   Some resolvers treat a TYPE 1 NXDOMAIN response as a referral.  To
   alleviate this problem it is recommended that servers that are
   authoritative for the NXDOMAIN response only send TYPE 2 NXDOMAIN
   responses, that is the authority section contains a SOA record and no
   NS records.  If a non- authoritative server sends a type 1 NXDOMAIN
   response to one of these old resolvers, the result will be an
   unnecessary query to an authoritative server.  This is undesirable,
   but not fatal except when the server is being used a FORWARDER.  If
   however the resolver is using the server as a FORWARDER to such a
   resolver it will be necessary to disable the sending of TYPE 1
   NXDOMAIN response to it, use TYPE 2 NXDOMAIN instead.

   Some resolvers incorrectly continue processing if the authoritative
   answer flag is not set, looping until the query retry threshold is
   exceeded and then returning SERVFAIL.  This is a problem when your
   nameserver is listed as a FORWARDER for such resolvers.  If the
   nameserver is used as a FORWARDER by such resolver, the authority
   flag will have to be forced on for NXDOMAIN responses to these
   resolvers.  In practice this causes no problems even if turned on
   always, and has been the default behaviour in BIND from 4.9.3
   onwards.

2.2 - No Data

   NODATA is indicated by an answer with the RCODE set to NOERROR and no
   relevant answers in the answer section.  The authority section will
   contain an SOA record, or there will be no NS records there.



Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 5]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   NODATA responses have to be algorithmically determined from the
   response's contents as there is no RCODE value to indicate NODATA.
   In some cases to determine with certainty that NODATA is the correct
   response it can be necessary to send another query.

   The authority section may contain NXT and SIG RRsets in addition to
   NS and SOA records.  CNAME and SIG records may exist in the answer
   section.

   It is possible to distinguish between a NODATA and a referral
   response by the presence of a SOA record in the authority section or
   the absence of NS records in the authority section.

   NODATA responses can be categorised into three types by the contents
   of the authority section.  These are shown below along with a
   referral for comparison.  Fields not mentioned are not important in
   terms of the examples.

           NODATA RESPONSE: TYPE 1.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NOERROR
           Query:
               ANOTHER.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               <empty>
           Authority:
               EXAMPLE. SOA NS1.XX. HOSTMASTER.NS1.XX. ....
               EXAMPLE. NS NS1.XX.
               EXAMPLE. NS NS2.XX.
           Additional:
               NS1.XX. A 127.0.0.2
               NS2.XX. A 127.0.0.3

           NO DATA RESPONSE: TYPE 2.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NOERROR
           Query:
               ANOTHER.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               <empty>
           Authority:
               EXAMPLE. SOA NS1.XX. HOSTMASTER.NS1.XX. ....
           Additional:
               <empty>





Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 6]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


           NO DATA RESPONSE: TYPE 3.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NOERROR
           Query:
               ANOTHER.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               <empty>
           Authority:
               <empty>
           Additional:
               <empty>

           REFERRAL RESPONSE.

           Header:
               RDCODE=NOERROR
           Query:
               ANOTHER.EXAMPLE. A
           Answer:
               <empty>
           Authority:
               EXAMPLE. NS NS1.XX.
               EXAMPLE. NS NS2.XX.
           Additional:
               NS1.XX. A 127.0.0.2
               NS2.XX. A 127.0.0.3


   These examples, unlike the NXDOMAIN examples above, have no CNAME
   records, however they could, in just the same way that the NXDOMAIN
   examples did, in which case it would be the value of the last CNAME
   (the QNAME) for which NODATA would be concluded.

2.2.1 - Special Handling of No Data

   There are a large number of resolvers currently in existence that
   fail to correctly detect and process all forms of NODATA response.
   Some resolvers treat a TYPE 1 NODATA response as a referral.  To
   alleviate this problem it is recommended that servers that are
   authoritative for the NODATA response only send TYPE 2 NODATA
   responses, that is the authority section contains a SOA record and no
   NS records.  Sending a TYPE 1 NODATA response from a non-
   authoritative server to one of these resolvers will only result in an
   unnecessary query.  If a server is listed as a FORWARDER for another
   resolver it may also be necessary to disable the sending of TYPE 1
   NODATA response for non-authoritative NODATA responses.




Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 7]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   Some name servers fail to set the RCODE to NXDOMAIN in the presence
   of CNAMEs in the answer section.  If a definitive NXDOMAIN / NODATA
   answer is required in this case the resolver must query again using
   the QNAME as the query label.

3 - Negative Answers from Authoritative Servers

   Name servers authoritative for a zone MUST include the SOA record of
   the zone in the authority section of the response when reporting an
   NXDOMAIN or indicating that no data of the requested type exists.
   This is required so that the response may be cached.  The TTL of this
   record is set from the minimum of the MINIMUM field of the SOA record
   and the TTL of the SOA itself, and indicates how long a resolver may
   cache the negative answer.  The TTL SIG record associated with the
   SOA record should also be trimmed in line with the SOA's TTL.

   If the containing zone is signed [RFC2065] the SOA and appropriate
   NXT and SIG records MUST be added.

4 - SOA Minimum Field

   The SOA minimum field has been overloaded in the past to have three
   different meanings, the minimum TTL value of all RRs in a zone, the
   default TTL of RRs which did not contain a TTL value and the TTL of
   negative responses.

   Despite being the original defined meaning, the first of these, the
   minimum TTL value of all RRs in a zone, has never in practice been
   used and is hereby deprecated.

   The second, the default TTL of RRs which contain no explicit TTL in
   the master zone file, is relevant only at the primary server.  After
   a zone transfer all RRs have explicit TTLs and it is impossible to
   determine whether the TTL for a record was explicitly set or derived
   from the default after a zone transfer.  Where a server does not
   require RRs to include the TTL value explicitly, it should provide a
   mechanism, not being the value of the MINIMUM field of the SOA
   record, from which the missing TTL values are obtained.  How this is
   done is implementation dependent.

   The Master File format [RFC 1035 Section 5] is extended to include
   the following directive:

                           $TTL <TTL> [comment]







Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 8]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   All resource records appearing after the directive, and which do not
   explicitly include a TTL value, have their TTL set to the TTL given
   in the $TTL directive.  SIG records without a explicit TTL get their
   TTL from the "original TTL" of the SIG record [RFC 2065 Section 4.5].

   The remaining of the current meanings, of being the TTL to be used
   for negative responses, is the new defined meaning of the SOA minimum
   field.

5 - Caching Negative Answers

   Like normal answers negative answers have a time to live (TTL).  As
   there is no record in the answer section to which this TTL can be
   applied, the TTL must be carried by another method.  This is done by
   including the SOA record from the zone in the authority section of
   the reply.  When the authoritative server creates this record its TTL
   is taken from the minimum of the SOA.MINIMUM field and SOA's TTL.
   This TTL decrements in a similar manner to a normal cached answer and
   upon reaching zero (0) indicates the cached negative answer MUST NOT
   be used again.

   A negative answer that resulted from a name error (NXDOMAIN) should
   be cached such that it can be retrieved and returned in response to
   another query for the same <QNAME, QCLASS> that resulted in the
   cached negative response.

   A negative answer that resulted from a no data error (NODATA) should
   be cached such that it can be retrieved and returned in response to
   another query for the same <QNAME, QTYPE, QCLASS> that resulted in
   the cached negative response.

   The NXT record, if it exists in the authority section of a negative
   answer received, MUST be stored such that it can be be located and
   returned with SOA record in the authority section, as should any SIG
   records in the authority section.  For NXDOMAIN answers there is no
   "necessary" obvious relationship between the NXT records and the
   QNAME.  The NXT record MUST have the same owner name as the query
   name for NODATA responses.

   Negative responses without SOA records SHOULD NOT be cached as there
   is no way to prevent the negative responses looping forever between a
   pair of servers even with a short TTL.

   Despite the DNS forming a tree of servers, with various mis-
   configurations it is possible to form a loop in the query graph, e.g.
   two servers listing each other as forwarders, various lame server
   configurations.  Without a TTL count down a cache negative response




Andrews                     Standards Track                     [Page 9]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   when received by the next server would have its TTL reset.  This
   negative indication could then live forever circulating between the
   servers involved.

   As with caching positive responses it is sensible for a resolver to
   limit for how long it will cache a negative response as the protocol
   supports caching for up to 68 years.  Such a limit should not be
   greater than that applied to positive answers and preferably be
   tunable.  Values of one to three hours have been found to work well
   and would make sensible a default.  Values exceeding one day have
   been found to be problematic.

6 - Negative answers from the cache

   When a server, in answering a query, encounters a cached negative
   response it MUST add the cached SOA record to the authority section
   of the response with the TTL decremented by the amount of time it was
   stored in the cache.  This allows the NXDOMAIN / NODATA response to
   time out correctly.

   If a NXT record was cached along with SOA record it MUST be added to
   the authority section.  If a SIG record was cached along with a NXT
   record it SHOULD be added to the authority section.

   As with all answers coming from the cache, negative answers SHOULD
   have an implicit referral built into the answer.  This enables the
   resolver to locate an authoritative source.  An implicit referral is
   characterised by NS records in the authority section referring the
   resolver towards a authoritative source.  NXDOMAIN types 1 and 4
   responses contain implicit referrals as does NODATA type 1 response.

7 - Other Negative Responses

   Caching of other negative responses is not covered by any existing
   RFC.  There is no way to indicate a desired TTL in these responses.
   Care needs to be taken to ensure that there are not forwarding loops.

7.1 Server Failure (OPTIONAL)

   Server failures fall into two major classes.  The first is where a
   server can determine that it has been misconfigured for a zone.  This
   may be where it has been listed as a server, but not configured to be
   a server for the zone, or where it has been configured to be a server
   for the zone, but cannot obtain the zone data for some reason.  This
   can occur either because the zone file does not exist or contains
   errors, or because another server from which the zone should have
   been available either did not respond or was unable or unwilling to
   supply the zone.



Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 10]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   The second class is where the server needs to obtain an answer from
   elsewhere, but is unable to do so, due to network failures, other
   servers that don't reply, or return server failure errors, or
   similar.

   In either case a resolver MAY cache a server failure response.  If it
   does so it MUST NOT cache it for longer than five (5) minutes, and it
   MUST be cached against the specific query tuple <query name, type,
   class, server IP address>.

7.2 Dead / Unreachable Server (OPTIONAL)

   Dead / Unreachable servers are servers that fail to respond in any
   way to a query or where the transport layer has provided an
   indication that the server does not exist or is unreachable.  A
   server may be deemed to be dead or unreachable if it has not
   responded to an outstanding query within 120 seconds.

   Examples of transport layer indications are:

      ICMP error messages indicating host, net or port unreachable.
      TCP resets
      IP stack error messages providing similar indications to those above.

   A server MAY cache a dead server indication.  If it does so it MUST
   NOT be deemed dead for longer than five (5) minutes.  The indication
   MUST be stored against query tuple <query name, type, class, server
   IP address> unless there was a transport layer indication that the
   server does not exist, in which case it applies to all queries to
   that specific IP address.

8 - Changes from RFC 1034

   Negative caching in resolvers is no-longer optional, if a resolver
   caches anything it must also cache negative answers.

   Non-authoritative negative answers MAY be cached.

   The SOA record from the authority section MUST be cached.  Name error
   indications must be cached against the tuple <query name, QCLASS>.
   No data indications must be cached against <query name, QTYPE,
   QCLASS> tuple.

   A cached SOA record must be added to the response.  This was
   explicitly not allowed because previously the distinction between a
   normal cached SOA record, and the SOA cached as a result of a
   negative response was not made, and simply extracting a normal cached
   SOA and adding that to a cached negative response causes problems.



Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 11]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   The $TTL TTL directive was added to the master file format.

9 - History of Negative Caching

   This section presents a potted history of negative caching in the DNS
   and forms no part of the technical specification of negative caching.

   It is interesting to note that the same concepts were re-invented in
   both the CHIVES and BIND servers.

   The history of the early CHIVES work (Section 9.1) was supplied by
   Rob Austein <sra@epilogue.com> and is reproduced here in the form in
   which he supplied it [MPA].

   Sometime around the spring of 1985, I mentioned to Paul Mockapetris
   that our experience with his JEEVES DNS resolver had pointed out the
   need for some kind of negative caching scheme.  Paul suggested that
   we simply cache authoritative errors, using the SOA MINIMUM value for
   the zone that would have contained the target RRs.  I'm pretty sure
   that this conversation took place before RFC-973 was written, but it
   was never clear to me whether this idea was something that Paul came
   up with on the spot in response to my question or something he'd
   already been planning to put into the document that became RFC-973.
   In any case, neither of us was entirely sure that the SOA MINIMUM
   value was really the right metric to use, but it was available and
   was under the control of the administrator of the target zone, both
   of which seemed to us at the time to be important feature.

   Late in 1987, I released the initial beta-test version of CHIVES, the
   DNS resolver I'd written to replace Paul's JEEVES resolver.  CHIVES
   included a search path mechanism that was used pretty heavily at
   several sites (including my own), so CHIVES also included a negative
   caching mechanism based on SOA MINIMUM values.  The basic strategy
   was to cache authoritative error codes keyed by the exact query
   parameters (QNAME, QCLASS, and QTYPE), with a cache TTL equal to the
   SOA MINIMUM value.  CHIVES did not attempt to track down SOA RRs if
   they weren't supplied in the authoritative response, so it never
   managed to completely eliminate the gratuitous DNS error message
   traffic, but it did help considerably.  Keep in mind that this was
   happening at about the same time as the near-collapse of the ARPANET
   due to congestion caused by exponential growth and the the "old"
   (pre-VJ) TCP retransmission algorithm, so negative caching resulted
   in drasticly better DNS response time for our users, mailer daemons,
   etcetera.







Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 12]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   As far as I know, CHIVES was the first resolver to implement negative
   caching.  CHIVES was developed during the twilight years of TOPS-20,
   so it never ran on very many machines, but the few machines that it
   did run on were the ones that were too critical to shut down quickly
   no matter how much it cost to keep them running.  So what few users
   we did have tended to drive CHIVES pretty hard.  Several interesting
   bits of DNS technology resulted from that, but the one that's
   relevant here is the MAXTTL configuration parameter.

   Experience with JEEVES had already shown that RRs often showed up
   with ridiculously long TTLs (99999999 was particularly popular for
   many years, due to bugs in the code and documentation of several
   early versions of BIND), and that robust software that blindly
   believed such TTLs could create so many strange failures that it was
   often necessary to reboot the resolver frequently just to clear this
   garbage out of the cache.  So CHIVES had a configuration parameter
   "MAXTTL", which specified the maximum "reasonable" TTL in a received
   RR.  RRs with TTLs greater than MAXTTL would either have their TTLs
   reduced to MAXTTL or would be discarded entirely, depending on the
   setting of another configuration parameter.

   When we started getting field experience with CHIVES's negative
   caching code, it became clear that the SOA MINIMUM value was often
   large enough to cause the same kinds of problems for negative caching
   as the huge TTLs in RRs had for normal caching (again, this was in
   part due to a bug in several early versions of BIND, where a
   secondary server would authoritatively deny all knowledge of its
   zones if it couldn't contact the primaries on reboot).  So we started
   running the negative cache TTLs through the MAXTTL check too, and
   continued to experiment.

   The configuration that seemed to work best on WSMR-SIMTEL20.ARMY.MIL
   (last of the major Internet TOPS-20 machines to be shut down, thus
   the last major user of CHIVES, thus the place where we had the
   longest experimental baseline) was to set MAXTTL to about three days.
   Most of the traffic initiated by SIMTEL20 in its last years was
   mail-related, and the mail queue timeout was set to one week, so this
   gave a "stuck" message several tries at complete DNS resolution,
   without bogging down the system with a lot of useless queries.  Since
   (for reasons that now escape me) we only had the single MAXTTL
   parameter rather than separate ones for positive and negative
   caching, it's not clear how much effect this setting of MAXTTL had on
   the negative caching code.

   CHIVES also included a second, somewhat controversial mechanism which
   took the place of negative caching in some cases.  The CHIVES
   resolver daemon could be configured to load DNS master files, giving
   it the ability to act as what today would be called a "stealth



Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 13]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   secondary".  That is, when configured in this way, the resolver had
   direct access to authoritative information for heavily-used zones.
   The search path mechanisms in CHIVES reflected this: there were
   actually two separate search paths, one of which only searched local
   authoritative zone data, and one which could generate normal
   iterative queries.  This cut down on the need for negative caching in
   cases where usage was predictably heavy (e.g., the resolver on
   XX.LCS.MIT.EDU always loaded the zone files for both LCS.MIT.EDU and
   AI.MIT.EDU and put both of these suffixes into the "local" search
   path, since between them the hosts in these two zones accounted for
   the bulk of the DNS traffic).  Not all sites running CHIVES chose to
   use this feature; C.CS.CMU.EDU, for example, chose to use the
   "remote" search path for everything because there were too many
   different sub-zones at CMU for zone shadowing to be practical for
   them, so they relied pretty heavily on negative caching even for
   local traffic.

   Overall, I still think the basic design we used for negative caching
   was pretty reasonable: the zone administrator specified how long to
   cache negative answers, and the resolver configuration chose the
   actual cache time from the range between zero and the period
   specified by the zone administrator.  There are a lot of details I'd
   do differently now (like using a new SOA field instead of overloading
   the MINIMUM field), but after more than a decade, I'd be more worried
   if we couldn't think of at least a few improvements.

9.2 BIND

   While not the first attempt to get negative caching into BIND, in
   July 1993, BIND 4.9.2 ALPHA, Anant Kumar of ISI supplied code that
   implemented, validation and negative caching (NCACHE).  This code had
   a 10 minute TTL for negative caching and only cached the indication
   that there was a negative response, NXDOMAIN or NOERROR_NODATA. This
   is the origin of the NODATA pseudo response code mentioned above.

   Mark Andrews of CSIRO added code (RETURNSOA) that stored the SOA
   record such that it could be retrieved by a similar query.  UUnet
   complained that they were getting old answers after loading a new
   zone, and the option was turned off, BIND 4.9.3-alpha5, April 1994.
   In reality this indicated that the named needed to purge the space
   the zone would occupy.  Functionality to do this was added in BIND
   4.9.3 BETA11 patch2, December 1994.

   RETURNSOA was re-enabled by default, BIND 4.9.5-T1A, August 1996.







Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 14]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


10 Example

   The following example is based on a signed zone that is empty apart
   from the nameservers.  We will query for WWW.XX.EXAMPLE showing
   initial response and again 10 minutes later.  Note 1: during the
   intervening 10 minutes the NS records for XX.EXAMPLE have expired.
   Note 2: the TTL of the SIG records are not explicitly set in the zone
   file and are hence the TTL of the RRset they are the signature for.

        Zone File:

        $TTL 86400
        $ORIGIN XX.EXAMPLE.
        @       IN      SOA     NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. HOSTMATER.XX.EXAMPLE. (
                                1997102000      ; serial
                                1800    ; refresh (30 mins)
                                900     ; retry (15 mins)
                                604800  ; expire (7 days)
                                1200 ) ; minimum (20 mins)
                IN      SIG     SOA ...
          1200  IN      NXT     NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. A NXT SIG SOA NS KEY
                IN      SIG     NXT ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
           300  IN      NS      NS1.XX.EXAMPLE.
           300  IN      NS      NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.
                IN      SIG     NS ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
                IN      KEY     0x4100 1 1 ...
                IN      SIG     KEY ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
                IN      SIG     KEY ... EXAMPLE. ...
        NS1     IN      A       10.0.0.1
                IN      SIG     A ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
          1200  IN      NXT     NS2.XX.EXAMPLE. A NXT SIG
                IN      SIG     NXT ...
        NS2     IN      A       10.0.0.2
                IN      SIG     A ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
          1200  IN      NXT     XX.EXAMPLE. A NXT SIG
                IN      SIG     NXT ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...

        Initial Response:

        Header:
            RDCODE=NXDOMAIN, AA=1, QR=1, TC=0
        Query:
            WWW.XX.EXAMPLE. IN A
        Answer:
            <empty>
        Authority:
            XX.EXAMPLE.      1200 IN SOA NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. ...
            XX.EXAMPLE.      1200 IN SIG SOA ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...



Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 15]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


            NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.  1200 IN NXT XX.EXAMPLE. NXT A NXT SIG
            NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.  1200 IN SIG NXT ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
            XX.EXAMPLE.     86400 IN NS  NS1.XX.EXAMPLE.
            XX.EXAMPLE.     86400 IN NS  NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.
            XX.EXAMPLE.     86400 IN SIG NS ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
        Additional
            XX.EXAMPLE.     86400 IN KEY 0x4100 1 1 ...
            XX.EXAMPLE.     86400 IN SIG KEY ... EXAMPLE. ...
            NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. 86400 IN A   10.0.0.1
            NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. 86400 IN SIG A ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
            NS2.XX.EXAMPLE. 86400 IN A   10.0.0.2
            NS3.XX.EXAMPLE. 86400 IN SIG A ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...

         After 10 Minutes:

         Header:
             RDCODE=NXDOMAIN, AA=0, QR=1, TC=0
         Query:
             WWW.XX.EXAMPLE. IN A
         Answer:
             <empty>
         Authority:
             XX.EXAMPLE.       600 IN SOA NS1.XX.EXAMPLE. ...
             XX.EXAMPLE.       600 IN SIG SOA ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
             NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.   600 IN NXT XX.EXAMPLE. NXT A NXT SIG
             NS2.XX.EXAMPLE.   600 IN SIG NXT ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
             EXAMPLE.        65799 IN NS  NS1.YY.EXAMPLE.
             EXAMPLE.        65799 IN NS  NS2.YY.EXAMPLE.
             EXAMPLE.        65799 IN SIG NS ... XX.EXAMPLE. ...
         Additional
             XX.EXAMPLE.     65800 IN KEY 0x4100 1 1 ...
             XX.EXAMPLE.     65800 IN SIG KEY ... EXAMPLE. ...
             NS1.YY.EXAMPLE. 65799 IN A   10.100.0.1
             NS1.YY.EXAMPLE. 65799 IN SIG A ... EXAMPLE. ...
             NS2.YY.EXAMPLE. 65799 IN A   10.100.0.2
             NS3.YY.EXAMPLE. 65799 IN SIG A ... EXAMPLE. ...
             EXAMPLE.        65799 IN KEY 0x4100 1 1 ...
             EXAMPLE.        65799 IN SIG KEY ... . ...


11 Security Considerations

   It is believed that this document does not introduce any significant
   additional security threats other that those that already exist when
   using data from the DNS.






Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 16]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


   With negative caching it might be possible to propagate a denial of
   service attack by spreading a NXDOMAIN message with a very high TTL.
   Without negative caching that would be much harder.  A similar effect
   could be achieved previously by spreading a bad A record, so that the
   server could not be reached - which is almost the same.  It has the
   same effect as far as what the end user is able to do, but with a
   different psychological effect.  With the bad A, I feel "damn the
   network is broken again" and try again tomorrow.  With the "NXDOMAIN"
   I feel "Oh, they've turned off the server and it doesn't exist any
   more" and probably never bother trying this server again.

   A practical example of this is a SMTP server where this behaviour is
   encoded.  With a NXDOMAIN attack the mail message would bounce
   immediately, where as with a bad A attack the mail would be queued
   and could potentially get through after the attack was suspended.

   For such an attack to be successful, the NXDOMAIN indiction must be
   injected into a parent server (or a busy caching resolver).  One way
   this might be done by the use of a CNAME which results in the parent
   server querying an attackers server.  Resolvers that wish to prevent
   such attacks can query again the final QNAME ignoring any NS data in
   the query responses it has received for this query.

   Implementing TTL sanity checking will reduce the effectiveness of
   such an attack, because a successful attack would require re-
   injection of the bogus data at more frequent intervals.

   DNS Security [RFC2065] provides a mechanism to verify whether a
   negative response is valid or not, through the use of NXT and SIG
   records.  This document supports the use of that mechanism by
   promoting the transmission of the relevant security records even in a
   non security aware server.

Acknowledgments

   I would like to thank Rob Austein for his history of the CHIVES
   nameserver. The DNSIND working group, in particular Robert Elz for
   his valuable technical and editorial contributions to this document.













Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 17]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


References

   [RFC1034]
           Mockapetris, P., "DOMAIN NAMES - CONCEPTS AND FACILITIES,"
           STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

   [RFC1035]
           Mockapetris, P., "DOMAIN NAMES - IMPLEMENTATION AND
           SPECIFICATION," STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

   [RFC2065]
           Eastlake, D., and C. Kaufman, "Domain Name System Security
           Extensions," RFC 2065, January 1997.

   [RFC2119]
           Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
           Requirement Levels," BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2181]
           Elz, R., and R. Bush, "Clarifications to the DNS
           Specification," RFC 2181, July 1997.

Author's Address

   Mark Andrews
   CSIRO - Mathematical and Information Sciences
   Locked Bag 17
   North Ryde NSW 2113
   AUSTRALIA

   Phone: +61 2 9325 3148
   EMail: Mark.Andrews@cmis.csiro.au



















Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 18]

RFC 2308                       DNS NCACHE                     March 1998


Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
   English.

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
   "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING
   TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING
   BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION
   HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
























Andrews                     Standards Track                    [Page 19]


Html markup produced by rfcmarkup 1.107, available from http://tools.ietf.org/tools/rfcmarkup/