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Domain Name System Operations                               J. Livingood
Internet-Draft                                                   Comcast
Intended status: Informational                           August 13, 2019
Expires: February 14, 2020


     In Case of DNSSEC Validation Failures, Do Not Change Resolvers
             draft-livingood-dnsop-dont-switch-resolvers-05

Abstract

   DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) validation by recursive DNS
   resolvers has been deployed at scale.  However, domain signing tools
   and processes are not yet as mature and reliable as is the case for
   non-DNSSEC-related domain administration tools and processes.  This
   sometimes results in DNSSEC validation failures, for which operators
   of validating resolvers are often blamed.  When these failures do
   occur, end users should not change to a non-validating DNS resolver,
   as that would downgrade their security.  They should instead wait
   until the authoritative domain operator updates their DNS records to
   resolve the error and that change propagates across the Internet's
   DNS resolvers, the timing of which may be dependent upon the Time To
   Live (TTL) settings in the old and/or erroneous DNS resource records.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on February 14, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents



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   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Reasons for DNSSEC Validation Failure . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Misunderstanding DNSSEC Validation Failures . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Comparison to Other DNS Misconfigurations . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Switching to a Non-Validating Resolver is NOT Recommended . .   4
   6.  Other Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     6.1.  Recommendations for Validating Resolver Operators . . . .   5
     6.2.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     6.3.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     6.4.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   7.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     8.2.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Appendix A.  Document Change Log  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Appendix B.  Open Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

1.  Introduction

   The Domain Name System (DNS), DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC), and
   related operational practices are defined extensively [RFC1034]
   [RFC1035] [RFC4033] [RFC4034] [RFC4035] [RFC4398] [RFC4509] [RFC6781]
   [RFC5155].

   DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) validation by recursive DNS
   resolvers has been deployed at scale.  However, domain signing tools
   and processes are not yet as mature and reliable as is the case for
   non-DNSSEC-related domain administration tools and processes.  This
   sometimes results in DNSSEC validation failures, for which operators
   of validating resolvers are often blamed.

   When these DNSSEC validation failures do occur, end users SHOULD NOT
   change to a non-validating DNS resolver, as that would downgrade
   their security.  They should instead wait until the authoritative
   domain operator updates their DNS records to resolve the error and
   then for that change to propagate across the Internet's DNS




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   resolvers, the timing of which may be dependent upon the Time To Live
   (TTL) settings in the old and/or erroneous DNS resource records.

   This document is necessary because it has become commonplace for
   reporters, technical users, and others to recommend that people
   change to non-validating resolvers when a DNSSEC validation failure
   occurs.  This is NOT a recommended practice, it actively downgrades
   user security, and it reduces the incentives for authoritative domain
   operators to improve their DNSSEC-related domain administration tools
   and processes.

   As a result, this document provides an authoritative reference point
   to recommend that users SHOULD NOT change DNS resolvers when DNSSEC
   validation failures occur.  Such errors may be due to genuine
   security problems, which DNSSEC validation was designed to protect
   against.  In the same way that a Transport Layer Security (TLS)
   [RFC8446] certificate failure should not be bypassed or ignored, so
   too that DNSSEC validation failures should not be bypassed or
   ignored.

2.  Reasons for DNSSEC Validation Failure

   A domain name can fail DNSSEC validation for two general reasons: an
   actual security failure such as due to an attack or compromise of
   some sort, or as a result of misconfiguration (mistake) on the part
   of a domain administrator.  There is no way for an average end user
   to discern which of these issues has caused a DNSSEC-signed domain to
   fail validation, and so end users should therefore assume that it is
   due to an actual security problem as the most conservative and
   security-protective approach.

3.  Misunderstanding DNSSEC Validation Failures

   End users may incorrectly interpret the failure to reach a domain due
   to DNSSEC-related misconfiguration as their ISP or DNS resolver
   operator purposely blocking access to the domain, or as a
   performance-related failure on the part of that ISP or DNS resolver
   operator.  In reality, these failures may be due to a security issue
   of which the end user is not aware.  If a user ignores such a
   failure, or is instructed to ignore it, and switches to a non-
   validating resolver, they may be subject to the risk of malware
   exposure, phishing attack, and so on.  The root cause of a DNSSEC
   validation failure lies not with a recursive DNS operator but with
   the authoritative domain name owner or administrator [I-D.draft-
   livingood-dnsop-auth-dnssec-mistakes] .






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4.  Comparison to Other DNS Misconfigurations

   Authoritative DNS-related mistakes and errors typically affect the
   entire Internet, and all DNS recursive resolver operators equally.
   So for example, in an A record is incorrect, an end user would get
   the incorrect record in a DNS response no matter what resolver they
   used.

   In contrast to this, DNSSEC-related mistakes, errors, or other
   validation security failures would only affect end users of those
   validating resolvers.  That being said, different validating resolver
   operators may configure their servers slightly differently, have
   different server software, or have different server configurations,
   which can result in slightly different resolver validation behavior.
   It can also be the case that one resolver has cached a DNS resource
   record according to the TTL set by the authoritative domain
   administrator, while another resolver does not have that record
   cached (generally due to the timing of prior user queries for that
   name), which can also cause two resolvers to differ.  Another reason
   for resolution variance may be that the authoritative DNS servers are
   responding differently to various DNS resolvers, perhaps to
   geographic differences, the nature of any delegations to Content
   Delivery Networks (CDNs), a regionally-focused Denial of Service
   (DoS) attack against an authoritative server, or a wide range of
   other potential reasons.

5.  Switching to a Non-Validating Resolver is NOT Recommended

   As noted in Section 3 some end users may not understand why a domain
   fails to validate on one network but not another (or with one DNS
   resolver but not another) Section 4.  As a result, they may consider
   or someone may recommend to them switching to an alternative, non-
   validating resolver themselves.  But if a domain fails DNSSEC
   validation and is inaccessible, this could very well be due to a
   security-related issue.  Changing to a non-validating resolver is a
   critical security downgrade and is NOT advised.

   DNSSEC validation failures may be due to genuine security problems,
   which DNSSEC validation was designed to protect against.  In the same
   way that a Transport Layer Security (TLS) [RFC8446] certificate
   failure should not be bypassed or ignored, so too that DNSSEC
   validation failures should not be bypassed or ignored.

   As a recommended best practice: In order to be as safe and secure as
   possible, end users SHOULD NOT change to DNS resolvers that do not
   perform DNSSEC validation as a workaround when DNSSEC validation
   failures occur.




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   Even if a website in a domain seems to look "normal" and valid,
   according to the DNSSEC protocol, that domain is not secure.  Domains
   that fail DNSSEC validation may fail due to an actual security
   incident or compromise, and may be in control of hackers or there
   could be other significant security issues with the domain.  Thus,
   switching to a non-validating resolver to restore access to a domain
   that fails DNSSEC validation is NOT recommended and is potentially
   harmful to end user security.

6.  Other Considerations

6.1.  Recommendations for Validating Resolver Operators

   Since it is not recommended that end users change to non-validating
   resolvers, operators of validating resolvers may wish to consider
   what tools they might make available to their end users to assist in
   these cases.  For example, there may be a DNS looking glass that
   enables someone to use a web page or other tool to remotely
   (including from a different network) check DNS resolution on the
   operator's servers, as well as possibly another operator's servers.
   Such a web page or tool may also provide a link to independent third
   party sites or tools that can confirm whether or not a DNSSEC-related
   error is present, of which several exist today (e.g.  DNSViz [1],
   Verisign DNSSEC Debugger [2]).  Finally, the operator may also wish
   to consider a web page form or other tool to enable end users to
   report possible DNS resolution issues.

   Resolver operators may also find it helpful to selectively use a
   Negative Trust Anchor [RFC7646] to temporarily mitigate validation
   failures that are absolutely confirmed to be due to authoritative
   domain name administration error by that administrator.  In addition,
   in select cases such as a very high traffic domain name, once an
   administrative DNS error or problem has been fixed a resolver may
   consider clearing the cache of their recursive resolvers in order to
   pickup the authoritative change immediately (rather than waiting
   until the TTL on a cached record expires).

6.2.  Security Considerations

   The use of a non-validating DNS recursive resolver is comparatively
   less secure than using a validating resolver, since one implements
   DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and one does not.

   In the case of a DNSSEC validation failure, if an end user changes to
   a non-validating resolver they can subject themselves to increased
   security risks and threats against which DNSSEC may have provided
   protection.




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   As a result, in order to protect their security, users SHOULD NOT
   switch to a non-validating resolver when a DNSSEC validation failure
   occurs.

6.3.  Privacy Considerations

   In the case of a DNSSEC validation failure, if an end user changes to
   a non-validating resolver they can subject themselves to increased
   security risks and threats against which DNSSEC may have provided
   protection.  This can include threats to their privacy, such as by
   unwittingly visiting a phishing site and sharing sensitive data or
   other private information with a malicious party or some party other
   than that which was originally intended.

   As a result, in order to protect their privacy, users SHOULD NOT
   switch to a non-validating resolver when a DNSSEC validation failure
   occurs.

6.4.  IANA Considerations

   There are no IANA considerations in this document.

7.  Acknowledgements

   - William Brown

   - Peter Koch

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC1034]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities",
              STD 13, RFC 1034, DOI 10.17487/RFC1034, November 1987,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1034>.

   [RFC1035]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
              specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, DOI 10.17487/RFC1035,
              November 1987, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1035>.

   [RFC4033]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements",
              RFC 4033, DOI 10.17487/RFC4033, March 2005,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4033>.







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   [RFC4034]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions",
              RFC 4034, DOI 10.17487/RFC4034, March 2005,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4034>.

   [RFC4035]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security
              Extensions", RFC 4035, DOI 10.17487/RFC4035, March 2005,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4035>.

   [RFC4398]  Josefsson, S., "Storing Certificates in the Domain Name
              System (DNS)", RFC 4398, DOI 10.17487/RFC4398, March 2006,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4398>.

   [RFC4509]  Hardaker, W., "Use of SHA-256 in DNSSEC Delegation Signer
              (DS) Resource Records (RRs)", RFC 4509,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4509, May 2006,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4509>.

   [RFC5155]  Laurie, B., Sisson, G., Arends, R., and D. Blacka, "DNS
              Security (DNSSEC) Hashed Authenticated Denial of
              Existence", RFC 5155, DOI 10.17487/RFC5155, March 2008,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5155>.

   [RFC5914]  Housley, R., Ashmore, S., and C. Wallace, "Trust Anchor
              Format", RFC 5914, DOI 10.17487/RFC5914, June 2010,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5914>.

   [RFC6781]  Kolkman, O., Mekking, W., and R. Gieben, "DNSSEC
              Operational Practices, Version 2", RFC 6781,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6781, December 2012,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6781>.

   [RFC7646]  Ebersman, P., Kumari, W., Griffiths, C., Livingood, J.,
              and R. Weber, "Definition and Use of DNSSEC Negative Trust
              Anchors", RFC 7646, DOI 10.17487/RFC7646, September 2015,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7646>.

   [RFC8446]  Rescorla, E., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol
              Version 1.3", RFC 8446, DOI 10.17487/RFC8446, August 2018,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8446>.

8.2.  URIs

   [1] http://dnsviz.net/

   [2] http://dnssec-debugger.verisignlabs.com/




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Appendix A.  Document Change Log

   [RFC Editor: This section is to be removed before publication]

   Individual-00: First version published as an individual draft.

   Individual-01: Fixed nits identified by William Brown

   Individual-02: Updated prior to IETF-91

   WG-00: Renamed at request of DNSOP co-chairs

   WG-01: Updated doc to keep it from expiring

   WG-02: Addressed some feedback from Peter Koch on RFC 2119 text,
   changed from BCP to Informational since this is more a recommended
   practice, added a section with recommendations for operators.

   WG-03 to 04: Refreshed document

   WG-05: Refreshed to buy time for me to write a combined document

Appendix B.  Open Issues

   [RFC Editor: This section is to be removed before publication]

   Fix I-D xref

Author's Address

   Jason Livingood
   Comcast

   Email: jason_livingood@comcast.com

















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