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Versions: (draft-sullivan-zone-policy-assertions) 00 01 02 draft-sullivan-domain-policy-authority

Network Working Group                                        A. Sullivan
Internet-Draft                                                 Dyn, Inc.
Intended status: Informational                               May 4, 2012
Expires: November 5, 2012

     Asserting Administrative Boundaries of Origin Using DNS Zones


   Some clients on the Internet make inferences about the administrative
   relationships among servers on the Internet based on the domain names
   of those servers.  Examples include decisions about acceptance of
   cookies and about cross-document information sharing in ECMAScript
   DOM.  Perhaps unfortunately, real administrative boundaries in the
   DNS are not possible to detect, and therefore these inferences can go
   wrong in several ways.  Mitigation strategies deployed so far will
   not scale.  The solution to this is to provide a way to make an
   explicit assertion about the relationships between different domain

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
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on November 5, 2012.

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   publication of this document.  Please review these documents

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   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  Background and terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   3.  Overview of mechanism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     3.1.  Records in the DNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     3.2.  Special target labels  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.2.1.  Underscore target  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       3.2.2.  Wildcards in targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.3.  Wire format of the BOUND Resource Record . . . . . . . . .  7
   4.  An example case  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     4.1.  Examples of using the BOUND record for determining
           boundaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.1.1.  One delegation, eight administrative realms, no
               underscore target  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.1.2.  One delegation, eight administrative realms,
               underscore targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       4.1.3.  Two delegations, seven or eight administrative
               realms, underscore targets . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   5.  Handling truncation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   6.  Limitations of the approach  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   7.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   8.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   9.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   10. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     10.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     10.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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1.  Introduction

   Many network resources are accessed primarily by name.  DNS names
   make up a fundamental part of the name by which people or other
   systems access those network resources.  As a result, DNS names have
   become fundamental elements in building security policies and user
   agent behaviour.  Some such policies attempt to determine the scope
   for data sharing of things like HTTP state management cookies
   [RFC6265] and cross-document information sharing in ECMAScript DOM.
   The idea is to foil the attempts of attackers in (for example)
   attackersite.co.tld from setting cookies for everyone in co.tld.

   Another use of the policy is a user interface convention that
   attempts to display the "real" domain name differently from other
   parts of the fully-qualified domain name, in an effort to decrease
   the success of phishing attacks.  In this strategy, for instance, a
   domain name like "www.bank.example.com.attackersite.tld" is formatted
   to highlight that the name is inside "attackersite.tld", thereby
   hopefully reducing the user's impression that the user is visiting

   Issuers of X.509 certificates make judgements about administrative
   boundaries around domains when issuing the certificates.  For some
   discussion of the relationship between DNS names and X.509
   certificates, see [RFC6125].

   One way to build a reasonable policy is to treat each different
   domain name distinctly.  Under this approach, foo.example.org,
   bar.example.org, and baz.example.org are all just different domains.
   Such an approach can be awkward, however, when (as is often the case)
   the real administrative boundary is a shared one (in this example,
   example.org).  Therefore, clients have attempted to make more
   sophisticated policies.

   Historically, some policies were based on the DNS tree.  Early
   policies (for instance, in the earliest HTTP cookie specifications)
   just made a distinction between top-level domains and everything
   else; but this was too naive, and later attempts were based on
   inferences from the DNS names themselves.  That did not work well,
   because there is no way in the DNS to discover the boundaries of
   administrative control around domain names.

   Some have attempted to use the boundary of zone cuts (i.e. the
   location of the zone's apex and SOA record; see [RFC1034] and
   [RFC1035]).  Unfortunately, that boundary is neither necessary nor
   sufficient for these purposes: it is possible for a large site to
   have many, administratively distinct subdomain-named sites without
   inserting an SOA record, and it is also possible that an

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   administrative entity (like a company) might divide its domain up
   into different zones for administrative reasons unrelated to the
   purposes of sites named in that domain.  It was also, prior to the
   advent of DNSSEC, difficult to find zone cuts.

   What appears to be needed is a mechanism to determine administrative
   boundaries in the DNS.  That is, given two domain names, one needs to
   be able to answer whether the first name lies within the same
   administrative realm as the second. [[anchor2: I've used
   "administrative realm" here in an attempt to come up with yet another
   suitable term.  "Administrative domain" is one other suggestion,
   though I fear a confusion between "administrative domain" and
   "domain" simpliciter, especially given that DNS operators are
   sometimes called domain administrators (so the domain is their
   administrative domain, of course, which is just confusing).  Other
   thoughts on these terms welcome. --ajs@anvilwalrusden.com]]

   A particularly important distinction for security purposes is the one
   between names that are mostly used to contain other domains, as
   compared to those that are mostly used to operate services.  The
   former are often "delegation-centric" domains, delegating parts of
   their name space to others, and are frequently called "public suffix"
   domains.  The term "public suffix" comes from a site,
   publicsuffix.org, which publishes a list of domains (henceforth, the
   "public suffix list") that are used to contain other domains.  Not
   all, but most, delegation-centric domains are public suffix domains;
   and not all public suffix domains need to do DNS delegation, although
   most of them do.  The reason for the public suffix list is to make
   the distinction between names that must never be treated as being in
   the same adminsitrative boundary, and those that may be so treated.

   Unfortunately, the public suffix list has several inherent
   limitations.  To begin with, it is a list that is separately
   maintained from the list of DNS delegations.  As a result, the data
   in the public suffix list can diverge from the actual use of the DNS.
   Second, because its semantics are not the same as those of the DNS,
   it does not capture unusual features of the DNS, such as the empty
   non-terminal name.  Third, as the size of the root zone grows,
   keeping the list both accurate and synchronized with the expanding
   services will become difficult and unreliable.  Perhaps most
   importantly, it puts the power of assertion about the operational
   policies of a domain outside the control of the operators of that
   domain, and in the control of a third party possibly unrelated to
   those operators.

   There have been suggestions for improvements of the public suffix
   list, most notably in [I-D.pettersen-subtld-structure].  It is
   unclear the extent to which those improvements would help, because

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   they represent improvements on the fundamental mechansism of keeping
   metadata about the DNS tree apart from the DNS tree itself.

2.  Background and terminology

   The reader is assumed to be familiar with the DNS ([RFC1034]
   [RFC1035]) and DNSSEC ([RFC4033] [RFC4034] [RFC4035] [RFC5155]).

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

3.  Overview of mechanism

3.1.  Records in the DNS

   The basic mechanism uses resource records in the DNS to provide names
   through which the administrative boundary extends.  The resource
   record is called BOUND (for administrative BOUNDary), RRTYPE TBD.
   [[anchor6: This could perhaps be a NAPTR or some such record with
   underscore conventions on the name, except that then I don't see how
   to make it extend well to underscore names themselves.  Ideas?  The
   disadvatage of a new RRTYPE is the reported difficulty of
   provisioning new RRs. --ajs@anvilwalrusden.com]]

   Each BOUND resource record contains in its RDATA either one fully-
   qualified domain name, or a domain name containing the wildcard
   character "*" in the leftmost label, or the special string "_"; for
   more on the latter two, see Section 3.2.

   There may be more than one BOUND resource record per name in the
   response.  Each domain name in the RDATA is treated as a part of a
   common administrative realm as the owner name in the original QNAME.

   There are three possible responses to a query for the BOUND RRTYPE at
   an owner name that are relevant to determining the administrative
   realm.  The first is Name Error (RCODE=3, also known as NXDOMAIN).
   In this case, the name itself does not exist, and no further
   processing is needed.

   The second is a No Data response [RFC2308] of any type.  The No Data
   response means that the DNS named by the QNAME does not recognize any
   other name as part of a common administrative realm.

   The final is a response with one or more BOUND resource records in
   the Answer section.  Each BOUND resource record asserts that the name

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   identified in its RDATA shares the administrative realm of the owner
   name.  The RDATA either contains a multi-label domain name relative
   to the root zone (see section 3.1 of [RFC1034]) or a string with some
   special characters in it (see Section 3.2.

   Any other response is no different from any other sort of response
   from the DNS, and is not in itself meaningful for determining the
   administrative realm of a name (though it might be meaningful for
   finding the BOUND record).

3.2.  Special target labels

3.2.1.  Underscore target

   A BOUND resource record with the single label "_" (called the
   "underscore target") is a positive assertion that no other domain
   name falls inside the administrative realm of the owner name.  The
   record has a special use: it may be used to bootstrap operation.  A
   client that has encountered the underscore target may remember the
   existence of the underscore target even after the expiry of the TTL
   on the resource record, until such time as a new query for the owner
   name may be made successfully.  This rule permits implementations to
   cache positive statements of administrative isolation during
   disconnected periods, thereby starting a subsequent session with the
   values of prior affirmed policy.  Apart from this bootstrapping use,
   and the ability of such an RR to have a TTL independent of the
   negative TTL value for the zone, this mechanism is semantically
   equivalent to a No Data answer.

   It would be absurd for the underscore target to exist with any other
   BOUND resource record at that owner name.  An authoritative name
   server MAY refuse to serve a zone containing such an inconsistency,
   MAY refuse to load a zone containing such an inconsistency, or MAY
   suppress every BOUND RR at an owner name except that containing the
   underscore target.  The name server side of a recursive resolver MAY
   discard every BOUND RR at an owner name except that containing the
   underscore target.  Conforming servers MUST NOT serve the underscore
   target and any other BOUND RR at the same owner name.  Clients
   receiving a BOUND RRset that includes the underscore target MUST
   accept that RR, and discard any other RR in the RRset.

3.2.2.  Wildcards in targets

   The special character "*" is used to match any label, according to
   the wildcard label rules in section 4.3.3 of [RFC1034].

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3.3.  Wire format of the BOUND Resource Record

   [[anchor8: To be provided if we decide that the BOUND RR is the right
   thing to do. --ajs@anvilwalrusden.com]]

4.  An example case

   For the purposes of discussion, it will be useful to imagine a
   portion of the DNS, using the domain example.tld.  A diagram of the
   tree of this portion is in Figure 1.  In the example, the domain
   example.tld includes several other names: www.example.tld,
   account.example.tld, cust1.example.tld, cust2.example.tld,
   test.example.tld, cust1.test.example.tld, and cust2.test.example.tld.

                ------example --
               /      /  |  \    \
             /      /    |    \    \
           /    www   account   \   cust2
         test                    \
        /   \                  cust1
    cust1   cust2

                                 Figure 1

   In the example, the domain tld delegates the domain example.tld.
   There are other possible cut points in the example, and depending on
   whether the cuts exist there may be implications for the use of the
   examples.  See Section 4.1, below.

   The (admittedly artificial) example permits us to distinguish a
   number of different roles.  To begin with, there are three parties
   involved in the operation of services:
   o  OperatorV, the operator of example.tld;
   o  Operator1, the operator of cust1.example.tld;
   o  Operator2, the operator of cust2.example.tld.

   Since there are three parties, there are likely three admininstrative
   boundaries as well; but the example contains some others.  For
   instance, the names www.example.tld and example.tld are undoubtedly
   in the same administrative realm.  By way of contrast,
   account.example.tld might be treated as completely separate, because
   OperatorV might wish to ensure that the accounts sytem is never
   permitted to share anything with any other name.  By the same token,
   the names underneath test.example.tld are actually the test-instance

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   sites for customers.  So cust1.test.example.tld might be in the same
   administrative realm as cust1.example.tld, but test.example.tld is
   certainly not in the same administrative realm as www.example.tld.

   Finally, supposing that Operator1 and Operator2 merge their
   operations, it seems that it would be useful for cust1.example.tld
   and cust2.example.tld to lie in the same administrative realm,
   without including everything else in example.tld.

4.1.  Examples of using the BOUND record for determining boundaries

   This section provides some examples of different configurations of
   the example tree in Section 4, above.  The examples are not
   exhaustive, but may provide an indication of what might be done with
   the mechanism.

4.1.1.  One delegation, eight administrative realms, no underscore

   In this scenario, the example portion of the DNS name space contains
   all and only the following BOUND records:
      example.tld 86400 IN BOUND www.example.tld
      www.example.tld 86400 IN BOUND example.tld

   Tld is the top-level domain, and has delegated example.tld.  The
   operator of example.tld makes no delegations.  There are four
   operators involved: the operator of tld, the operator of example.tld,
   the operator of the services at cust1.example.tld and
   cust1.test.example.tld, and the operator of the services at
   cust2.example.tld and cust2.test.example.tld.

   In this arrangement, example.tld and www.example.tld positively claim
   to be within the same administrative realm.  Every other name stands
   alone.  A query for a BOUND record at any of those other names will
   result in a No Data response, which means that none of them include
   any other name in the same administrative realm.  As a result, there
   are eight separate administrative realms in this case: tld,
   {example.tld and www.example.tld}, test.example.tld,
   cust1.test.example.tld, cust2.test.example.tld, account.example.tld,
   cust1.example.tld, and cust2.example.tld.

4.1.2.  One delegation, eight administrative realms, underscore targets

   This example mostly works the same way as the one in Section
   Section 4.1.1, but there is a slight difference.  In this case, both
   tld and test.example.tld publish underscore targets in their BOUND

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      tld 86400 IN BOUND _
      test.example.tld 86400 IN BOUND _

   The practical effect of this is largely the same, except that these
   expressions of policy last 86,400 seconds instead of the length of
   time on the negative TTL in the relevant SOA for the zone.  Many
   zones have short negative TTLs because of expectations that newly-
   added records will show up quickly.  This mechanism permits such
   names to express their administrative isolation for predictable
   periods of time.  Moreover, because clients are permitted to retain
   these records during periods when DNS service is not available, a
   client could go offline for several weeks, and return to service with
   the presumption that test.example.tld is still not in any
   administrative realm with any other name.

4.1.3.  Two delegations, seven or eight administrative realms,
        underscore targets

   In this scenario, example.tld delegates the name test.example.tld.
   In this case, there is an SOA record for test.example.tld.  The BOUND
   record at test.example.tld is maintained, however.

   At the same time, the Operator1 determines that it is safe to treat
   the test instance and production instance as being in the same
   adminsitrative realm.  To begin with, Operator1 asks OperatorV to add
   the following record to the test.example.tld zone:
      cust1.test.example.tld 86400 IN BOUND cust1.example.tld

   This arrangement is not complete yet.  Until a record is also added
   at cust1.example.tld, Operator1's intention is only half fulfilled.
   The service at cust1.test.example.tld treats cust1.example.tld as
   part of a common administrative realm, but the converse is not the
   case. [[anchor9: I can't decide whether there's anything useful in
   this configuration.  Thoughts? --ajs@anvilwalrusden.com]]

   To complete the process, Operator1 asks OperatorV to add the
   following record to the example.tld zone:
      cust1.example.tld 86400 IN BOUND cust1.test.example.tld

   Once this is complete, both names treat the other as part of the same
   administrative realm.  In the end, the example segment of the DNS
   expresses the following administrative realms: tld, {example.tld,
   www.example.tld}, test.example.tld, {cust1.test.example.tld,
   cust1.example.tld}, cust2.example.tld, account.example.tld,

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5.  Handling truncation

   It is possible to put enough BOUND records into a zone such that the
   resulting response will exceed DNS or UDP protocol limits.  In such
   cases, a UDP DNS response will arrive with the TC (truncation) bit
   set.  Am BOUND response with the TC bit must be queried again in
   order to retrieve a complete response, in order to ensure that there
   is no missing underscore target (see Section 3.2.1).

6.  Limitations of the approach

   There are three significant problems with this proposal, all of which
   are related to using DNS to deliver the data.

   The first is that new DNS RRTYPEs are difficult to deploy.  While
   adding a new RRTYPE is straightforward, many provisioning systems do
   not have the necessary support and some firewalls and other edge
   systems continue to filter RRTYPEs they do not know.

   The second is that it is difficult for an application to obtain data
   from the DNS.  The TTL on an RRset, in particular, is usually not
   available to an application, even if the application uses the
   facilities of the operating system to deliver other parts of an
   unknown RRTYPE.

   Finally, in many environments the system hosting the application has
   only proxied access to the Internet, and cannot query the DNS
   directly.  It is not clear how such clients could ever possibly
   retrieve the BOUND record for a name.

7.  Security Considerations

   This mechanism enables publication of assertions about administrative
   relationships of different DNS-named systems on the Internet.  If
   such assertions are accepted without checking that both sides agree
   to the assertion, it would be possible for one site to become an
   illegitimate source for data to be consumed in some other site.

   Undertaking any of the inferences suggested in this draft without the
   use of the DNS Security Extensions exposes the user to the
   possibility of forged DNS responses.

8.  IANA Considerations

   IANA will be requested to register the BOUND RRTYPE if this proceeds.

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9.  Acknowledgements

   The author thanks Dave Crocker, Jeff Hodges, Murray Kucherawy,
   Patrick McManus, Yngve N. Pettersen, and Peter St Andre for early
   discussion of this idea.

10.  References

10.1.  Normative 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.

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

   [RFC2308]  Andrews, M., "Negative Caching of DNS Queries (DNS
              NCACHE)", RFC 2308, March 1998.

10.2.  Informative References

              Pettersen, Y., "The Public Suffix Structure file format
              and its use for Cookie domain validation",
              draft-pettersen-subtld-structure-09 (work in progress),
              March 2012.

   [RFC4033]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements",
              RFC 4033, March 2005.

   [RFC4034]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions",
              RFC 4034, March 2005.

   [RFC4035]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security
              Extensions", RFC 4035, March 2005.

   [RFC5155]  Laurie, B., Sisson, G., Arends, R., and D. Blacka, "DNS
              Security (DNSSEC) Hashed Authenticated Denial of
              Existence", RFC 5155, March 2008.

   [RFC6125]  Saint-Andre, P. and J. Hodges, "Representation and

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              Verification of Domain-Based Application Service Identity
              within Internet Public Key Infrastructure Using X.509
              (PKIX) Certificates in the Context of Transport Layer
              Security (TLS)", RFC 6125, March 2011.

   [RFC6265]  Barth, A., "HTTP State Management Mechanism", RFC 6265,
              April 2011.

Author's Address

   Andrew Sullivan
   Dyn, Inc.
   150 Dow St
   Manchester, NH  03101

   Email: asullivan@dyn.com

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