DNSOP O. Kolkman
Internet-Draft W. Mekking
Obsoletes: 2541 (if approved) NLnet Labs
Intended status: Informational July 11, 2011
Expires: January 12, 2012

DNSSEC Operational Practices, Version 2


This document describes a set of practices for operating the DNS with security extensions (DNSSEC). The target audience is zone administrators deploying DNSSEC.

The document discusses operational aspects of using keys and signatures in the DNS. It discusses issues of key generation, key storage, signature generation, key rollover, and related policies.

This document obsoletes RFC 4641 as it covers more operational ground and gives more up-to-date requirements with respect to key sizes and the DNSSEC operations.

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 http://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 January 12, 2012.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This document describes how to run a DNS Security (DNSSEC)-enabled environment. It is intended for operators who have knowledge of the DNS (see RFC 1034 [RFC1034] and RFC 1035 [RFC1035]) and want to deploy DNSSEC (RFC 4033 [RFC4033], RFC 4034 [RFC4034], and RFC 4035 [RFC4035]). The focus of the document is on serving authoritative DNS information and is aimed at zone owners, name server operators, registries, registrars and registrants. It assumes that there is no direct relation between those entities and the operators of validating recursive name servers (validators).

During workshops and early operational deployment, operators and system administrators have gained experience about operating the DNS with security extensions (DNSSEC). This document translates these experiences into a set of practices for zone administrators. At the time of writing -the root has just been signed and the first secure delegations are provisioned- there exists relatively little experience with DNSSEC in production environments below the TLD level; this document should therefore explicitly not be seen as representing 'Best Current Practices'. Instead, it describes the decisions that should be made when deploying DNSSEC, gives the choices available for each one, and provides some operational guidelines. The document does not give strong recommendations, that may be subject for a future version of this document.

The procedures herein are focused on the maintenance of signed zones (i.e., signing and publishing zones on authoritative servers). It is intended that maintenance of zones such as re-signing or key rollovers be transparent to any verifying clients.

The structure of this document is as follows. In Section 2, we discuss the importance of keeping the "chain of trust" intact. Aspects of key generation and storage of keys are discussed in Section 3; the focus in this section is mainly on the security of the private part of the key(s). Section 4 describes considerations concerning the public part of the keys. Section 4.1 and Section 4.2 deal with the rollover, or replacement, of keys. Section 4.3 discusses considerations on how parents deal with their children's public keys in order to maintain chains of trust. Section 4.4 covers all kinds of timing issues around keys publication. Section 5 covers the considerations regarding selecting and using NSEC and NSEC3.

The typographic conventions used in this document are explained in Appendix Appendix B.

Since this is a document with operational suggestions and there are no protocol specifications, the RFC 2119 [RFC2119] language does not apply.

This document obsoletes RFC 4641 [RFC4641].

1.1. The Use of the Term 'key'

It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the concept of asymmetric keys on which DNSSEC is based (public key cryptography RFC4949 [RFC4949]). Therefore, this document will use the term 'key' rather loosely. Where it is written that 'a key is used to sign data' it is assumed that the reader understands that it is the private part of the key pair that is used for signing. It is also assumed that the reader understands that the public part of the key pair is published in the DNSKEY Resource Record and that it is the public part that is used in key exchanges.

1.2. Time Definitions

In this document, we will be using a number of time-related terms. The following definitions apply:

2. Keeping the Chain of Trust Intact

Maintaining a valid chain of trust is important because broken chains of trust will result in data being marked as Bogus (as defined in RFC4033 [RFC4033] Section 5), which may cause entire (sub)domains to become invisible to verifying clients. The administrators of secured zones need to realize that to verifying clients their zone is, part of a chain of trust.

As mentioned in the introduction, the procedures herein are intended to ensure that maintenance of zones, such as re-signing or key rollovers, will be transparent to the verifying clients on the Internet.

Administrators of secured zones will need to keep in mind that data published on an authoritative primary server will not be immediately seen by verifying clients; it may take some time for the data to be transferred to other (secondary) authoritative nameservers and clients may be fetching data from caching non-authoritative servers. In this light, note that the time for a zone transfer from master to slave can be negligible when using NOTIFY [RFC1996] and incremental transfer (IXFR) [RFC1995]. It increases when full zone transfers (AXFR) are used in combination with NOTIFY. It increases even more if you rely on full zone transfers based on only the SOA timing parameters for refresh.

For the verifying clients, it is important that data from secured zones can be used to build chains of trust regardless of whether the data came directly from an authoritative server, a caching nameserver, or some middle box. Only by carefully using the available timing parameters can a zone administrator ensure that the data necessary for verification can be obtained.

The responsibility for maintaining the chain of trust is shared by administrators of secured zones in the chain of trust. This is most obvious in the case of a 'key compromise' when a trade-off must be made between maintaining a valid chain of trust and replacing the compromised keys as soon as possible. Then zone administrators will have to decide, between keeping the chain of trust intact - thereby allowing for attacks with the compromised key - or deliberately breaking the chain of trust and making secured subdomains invisible to security-aware resolvers. (Also see Section 4.2.)

3. Keys Generation and Storage

This section describes a number of considerations with respect to the use of keys. For the design of a operational procedure for key generation and storage then a number of decisions need to be made:

The following section discusses the considerations that need to be taken into account when making those choices.

3.1. Operational Motivation for Zone Signing and Key Signing Keys

The DNSSEC validation protocol does not distinguish between different types of DNSKEYs. The motivations to differentiate between keys are purely operational; validators will not make a distinction.

For operational reasons, described below, it is possible to designate one or more keys to have the role of Key Signing Keys (KSKs). These keys will only sign the apex DNSKEY RRSet in a zone. Other keys can be used to sign all the other RRSets in a zone that require signatures. They are referred to as Zone Signing Keys (ZSKs). In case the differentiation between KSK and ZSK is not made, keys have both the role of KSK and ZSK, we talk about a Single Type signing scheme.

If the two functions are separated then, for almost any method of key management and zone signing, the KSK is used less frequently than the ZSK. Once a key set is signed with the KSK, all the keys in the key set can be used as ZSKs. If there has been an event that increases the risk that a ZSK is compromised it can be simply dropped from the key set. The new key set is then re-signed with the KSK.

Changing a key that is a secure entry point (SEP) for a zone can be relatively expensive as it involves interaction with 3rd parties: When a key is only pointed to by a DS record in the parent zone, one needs to complete the interaction with the parent and wait for the updated DS record to appear in the DNS. In the case where a key is configured as a trust-anchor one has to wait until one has sufficient confidence that all trust anchors have been replaced. In fact, it may be that one is not able to reach the complete user-base with information about the key rollover.

Given the assumption that for KSKs the SEP flag is set, the KSK can be distinguished from a ZSK by examining the flag field in the DNSKEY RR: If the flag field is an odd number the RR is a KSK; otherwise it is a ZSK.

There is also a risk that keys are compromised through theft or loss. For keys that are installed on file-systems of nameservers that are connected to the network (e.g. for dynamic updates) that risk is relatively high. Where keys are stored on Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) or stored off-line, such risk is relatively low. However, storing keys off-line or with more limitation on access control has a negative effect on the operational flexibility. By separating the KSK and ZSK functionality these risks can be managed while making the tradeoff against the costs involved. For example, a KSK can be stored off-line or with more limitation on access control than ZSKs which need to be readily available for operational purposes such as the addition or deletion of zone data. A KSK stored on a smartcard, that is kept in a safe, combined with a ZSK stored on a filesystem accessible by operators for daily routine may provide a better protection against key compromise, without losing much operational flexibility. It must be said that some HSMs give the option to have your keys online, giving more protection and hardly affecting the the operational flexibility. In those cases, a KSK-ZSK split is not more beneficial than the Single-Type signing scheme.

Finally there is a risk of cryptanalysis of the key material. The costs of such analysis are correlated to the length of the key. However, cryptanalysis arguments provide no strong motivation for a KSK/ZSK split. Suppose one differentiates between a KSK and a ZSK whereby the KSK effectivity period is X times the ZSK effectivity period. Then, in order for the resistance to cryptanalysis to be the same for the KSK and the ZSK, the KSK needs to be X times stronger than the ZSK. Since for all practical purposes X will somewhere of the order of 10 to 100, the associated key sizes will vary only about a byte in size for symmetric keys. When translated to asymmetric keys, is still too insignificant a size difference to warrant a key-split; it only marginally affects the packet size and signing speed.

The arguments for differentiation between the ZSK and KSK are weakest when:

If the above holds then the costs of the operational complexity of a KSK-ZSK split may outweigh the costs of operational flexibility and choosing a single type signing scheme is a reasonable option. In other cases we advise that the separation between KSKs and ZSKs is made and that the SEP flag is exclusively set on KSKs.

3.2. Practical Consequences of KSK and ZSK Separation

A key that acts only as a Zone Signing Key can be used to sign all the data but the DNSKEY RRset in a zone on a regular basis. When a ZSK is to be rolled, no interaction with the parent is needed. This allows for signature validity periods on the order of days.

A key with only the Key Signing Key role is to be used to sign the DNSKEY RRs in a zone. If a KSK is to be rolled, there may be interactions with other parties. These can include the administrators of the parent zone or administrators of verifying resolvers that have the particular key configured as secure entry points. In the latter case, everyone relying on the trust anchor needs to roll over to the new key, a process that may be subject to stability costs if automated trust-anchor rollover mechanisms (such as e.g. RFC5011 [RFC5011]) are not in place. Hence, the key effectivity period of these keys can and should be made much longer.

3.2.1. Rolling a KSK that is not a trust-anchor

There are 3 schools of thought on rolling a KSK that is not a trust anchor:

There is no widespread agreement on which of these three schools of thought is better for different deployments of DNSSEC. There is a stability cost every time a non-anchor KSK is rolled over, but it is possibly low if the communication between the child and the parent is good. On the other hand, the only completely effective way to tell if the communication is good is to test it periodically. Thus, rolling a KSK with a parent is only done for two reasons: to test and verify the rolling system to prepare for an emergency, and in the case of (preventing) an actual emergency.

Finally, in most cases a zone owner cannot be fully certain that the zone's KSK is not in use as a trust-anchor somewhere. While the configuration of trust-anchors is not the responsibility of the zone owner there may be stability costs for the validator administrator that (wrongfully) configured the trust-anchor when the zone owner roles a KSK.

3.2.2. Rolling a KSK that is a trust-anchor

The same operational concerns apply to the rollover of KSKs that are used as trust-anchors: if a trust anchor replacement is done incorrectly, the entire domain that the trust anchor covers will become bogus until the trust anchor is corrected.

In a large number of cases it will be safe to work from the assumption that one's keys are not in use as trust-anchors. If a zone owner publishes a "DNSSEC Signing Policy and Practice Statement" [I-D.ietf-dnsop-dnssec-dps-framework] that should be explicit about the fact whether the existence of trust anchors will be taken into account in any way or not. There may be cases where local policies enforce the configuration of trust-anchors on zones which are mission critical (e.g. in enterprises where the trust-anchor for the enterprise domain is configured in the enterprise's validator) It is expected that the zone owners are aware of such circumstances.

One can argue that because of the difficulty of getting all users of a trust anchor to replace an old trust anchor with a new one, a KSK that is a trust anchor should never be rolled unless it is known or strongly suspected that the key has been compromised. In other words the costs of a KSK rollover are prohibitively high because some users cannot be reached.

However, the "operational habit" argument also applies to trust anchor reconfiguration at the clients' validators. If a short key effectivity period is used and the trust anchor configuration has to be revisited on a regular basis, the odds that the configuration tends to be forgotten is smaller. In fact, the costs for those users can be minimized by automating the rollover RFC5011 [RFC5011] and by rolling the key regularly (and advertising such) so that the operators of recursive nameservers will put the appropriate mechanism in place to deal with these stability costs, or, in other words, budget for these costs instead of incurring them unexpectedly.

It is therefore recommended, to roll KSKs that are likely to be used as trust-anchors, on a regular basis if and only if those rollovers can be tracked using standardized (e.g. RFC5011) mechanisms.

3.2.3. The use of the SEP flag

The so-called Secure Entry Point (SEP) [RFC4035] flag can be used to distinguish between keys that are intended to be used as the secure entry point into the zone when building chains of trust, e.g they are (to be) pointed to by parental DS RRs or configured as a trust-anchor.

While the SEP flag does not play any role in the failure it is used in practice for operational purposes such as for the rollover mechanism described in RFC5011 [RFC5011]. The common convention is to set the SEP flag on any key that is used for key exchanges with the parent and/or potentially used for configuration as a trust anchor. Therefore it is recommended that the SEP flag is set on keys that are used as KSKs and not on keys that are used as ZSKs, while in those cases where a distinction between KSK and ZSK is not made (i.e. for a Single Type signing scheme) it is recommended that the SEP flag is set on all keys.

Note that signing tools may assume a KSK/ZSK split and use the (non) presence of the SEP flag to determine which key is to be used for signing zone data; these tools may get confused when a single type signing scheme is used.

3.3. Key Effectivity Period

In general the available key length sets an upper limit on the Key Effectivity Period. For all practical purposes it is sufficient to define the Key Effectivity Period based on purely operational requirements and match the key length to that value. Ignoring the operational perspective, a reasonable effectivity period for KSKs that have corresponding DS records in the parent zone is of the order of 2 decades or longer. That is, if one does not plan to test the rollover procedure, the key should be effective essentially forever, and only rolled over in case of emergency.

When one chooses for a regular key-rollover, a reasonable key effectivity period for KSKs that have a parent zone is one year, meaning you have the intent to replace them after 12 months. The key effectivity period is merely a policy parameter, and should not be considered a constant value. For example, the real key effectivity period may be a little bit longer than 12 months, because not all actions needed to complete the rollover could be finished in time.

As argued above, this annual rollover gives operational practice of rollovers for both the zone and validator administrators. Besides, in most environments a year is a time-span that is easily planned and communicated.

Where keys are stored on on-line systems and the exposure to various threats of compromise is fairly high, an intended key effectivity period of a month is reasonable for Zone Signing Keys.

Although very short key effectivity periods are theoretically possible, when replacing keys one has to take into account the rollover considerations from Section 4.1 and Section 4.4. Key replacement endures for a couple of Zone TTLs, depending on the rollover scenario. Therefore, a multiple of Zone TTL is a reasonable lower limit on the key effectivity period. Forcing a smaller key effectivity period will result your zone to have a ever-growing keyset.

The motivation for having the ZSK's effectivity period shorter than the KSK's effectivity period is rooted in the operational consideration that it is more likely that operators have more frequent read access to the ZSK than to the KSK. If ZSK's are maintained on cryptographic Hardware Security Modules (HSM) than the motivation to have different key effectivity periods is weakened.

In fact, if the risk of loss, theft or other compromise is the same for a zone and key signing key there is little reason to choose different effectivity periods for ZSKs and KSKs. And when the split between ZSKs and KSKs is not made, the argument is redundant.

There are certainly cases (e.g. where the the costs and risk of compromise, and the costs and risks involved with having to perform an emergency roll are also low) that the use of a single type signing scheme with a long key effectivity period is a good choice.

3.4. Cryptographic Considerations

3.4.1. Key Algorithm

At the time of writing, there are three types of signature algorithms that can be used in DNSSEC: RSA, DSA and GOST. Proposals for other algorithms are in the making. All three are fully specified in many freely-available documents, and are widely considered to be patent-free. The creation of signatures with RSA and DSA takes roughly the same time, but DSA is about ten times slower for signature verification. Also, DSA in context of DNSSEC is limited to the maximum of 1024 bit keys.

We suggest the use of RSA/SHA-256 as the preferred signature algorithms and RSA/SHA-1 as an alternative. Both have advantages and disadvantages. RSA/SHA-1 has been deployed for many years, while RSA/SHA-256 has only begun to be deployed. On the other hand, it is expected that if effective attacks on either algorithm appear, they will appear for RSA/SHA-1 first. RSA/MD5 should not be considered for use because RSA/MD5 will very likely be the first common-use signature algorithm to have an effective attack.

At the time of publication, it is known that the SHA-1 hash has cryptanalysis issues and work is in progress on addressing them. We recommend the use of public key algorithms based on hashes stronger than SHA-1 (e.g., SHA-256) as soon as these algorithms are available in implementations (see RFC5702 [RFC5702] and RFC4509 [RFC4509]).

3.4.2. Key Sizes

This section assumes RSA keys, as suggested in the previous section.

DNSSEC signing keys should be large enough to avoid all known cryptographic attacks during the effectivity period of the key. To date, despite huge efforts, no one has broken a regular 1024-bit key; in fact, the best completed attack is estimated to be the equivalent of a 700-bit key. An attacker breaking a 1024-bit signing key would need to expend phenomenal amounts of networked computing power in a way that would not be detected in order to break a single key. Because of this, it is estimated that most zones can safely use 1024-bit keys for at least the next ten years (A 1024-bit asymmetric key has an approximate equivalent strength of a symmetric 80-bit key).

Depending on local policy (e.g. owners of keys that are used as extremely high value trust anchors, or non-anchor keys that may be difficult to roll over), you may want to use lengths longer than 1024 bits. Typically, the next larger key size used is 2048 bits, which has the approximate equivalent strength of a symmetric 112-bit key (e.g. RFC3766 [RFC3766]). Signing and verifiying with a 2048-bit key takes of course longer than with a 1024-bit key. The increase depends on software and hardware implementations, but public operations (such as verification) are about four times slower, while private operations (such as signing) slow down about eight times.

Another way to decide on the size of key to use is to remember that the effort it takes for an attacker to break a 1024-bit key is the same regardless of how the key is used. If an attacker has the capability of breaking a 1024-bit DNSSEC key, he also has the capability of breaking one of the many 1024-bit TLS trust anchor keys that are currently installed in web browsers. If the value of a DNSSEC key is lower to the attacker than the value of a TLS trust anchor, the attacker will use the resources to attack the latter.

It is possible that there will be an unexpected improvement in the ability for attackers to break keys, and that such an attack would make it feasible to break 1024-bit keys but not 2048-bit keys. If such an improvement happens, it is likely that there will be a huge amount of publicity, particularly because of the large number of 1024-bit TLS trust anchors build into popular web browsers. At that time, all 1024-bit keys (both ones with parent zones and ones that are trust anchors) can be rolled over and replaced with larger keys.

Earlier documents (including the previous version of this document) urged the use of longer keys in situations where a particular key was "heavily used". That advice may have been true 15 years ago, but it is not true today when using RSA algorithms and keys of 1024 bits or higher.

3.4.3. Private Key Storage

It is recommended that, where possible, zone private keys and the zone file master copy that is to be signed be kept and used in off-line, non-network-connected, physically secure machines only. Periodically, an application can be run to add authentication to a zone by adding RRSIG and NSEC/NSEC3 RRs. Then the augmented file can be transferred.

When relying on dynamic update [RFC3007], or any other update mechanism that runs at a regular interval to manage a signed zone, be aware that at least one private key of the zone will have to reside on the master server (or reside on an HSM to which the server has access). This key is only as secure as the amount of exposure the server receives to unknown clients and the security of the host. Although not mandatory, one could administer a zone using a "hidden master" scheme that minimize the risk. In this arrangement the master that processes the updates is unavailable from general hosts on the Internet; it is not listed in the NS RRSet. The nameservers in the NS RRSet are able to receive zone updates through IXFR, AXFR, or an out-of-band distribution mechanism, possibly in combination with NOTIFY or another mechanism to trigger zone replication.

The ideal situation is to have a one-way information flow to the network to avoid the possibility of tampering from the network. Keeping the zone master on-line on the network and simply cycling it through an off-line signer does not do this. The on-line version could still be tampered with if the host it resides on is compromised. For maximum security, the master copy of the zone file should be off-net and should not be updated based on an unsecured network mediated communication.

The ideal situation may not be achievable because of economic tradeoffs between risks and costs. For instance, keeping a zone file off-line is not practical and will increase the costs of operating a DNS zone. So in practice the machines on which zone files are maintained will be connected to a network. Operators are advised to take security measures to shield unauthorized access to the master copy in order to prevent modification of DNS data before its signed.

Similarly the choice for storing a private key in an HSM will be influenced by a tradeoff between various concerns:

For dynamically updated secured zones [RFC3007], both the master copy and the private key that is used to update signatures on updated RRs will need to be on-line.

3.4.4. Key Generation

Careful generation of all keys is a sometimes overlooked but is an absolutely essential element in any cryptographically secure system. The strongest algorithms used with the longest keys are still of no use if an adversary can guess enough to lower the size of the likely key space so that it can be exhaustively searched. Technical suggestions for the generation of random keys will be found in RFC 4086 [RFC4086] and NIST SP 800-90 [NIST-SP-800-90]. In particular, one should carefully assess whether the random number generator used during key generation adheres to these suggestions. Typically, HSMs tend to provide a good facility for key generation.

Keys with a long effectivity period are particularly sensitive as they will represent a more valuable target and be subject to attack for a longer time than short-period keys. It is strongly recommended that long-term key generation occur off-line in a manner isolated from the network via an air gap or, at a minimum, high-level secure hardware.

3.4.5. Differentiation for 'High-Level' Zones?

In an earlier version of this document (RFC4641 [RFC4641]) we made a differentiation between key lengths for KSKs used for zones that are high in the DNS hierarchy and those for KSKs used low down.

This distinction is now considered not relevant. Longer key lengths for keys higher in the hierarchy are not useful because the cryptographic guidance is that everyone should use keys that no one can break. Also, it is impossible to judge which zones are more or less valuable to an attacker. An attack can only take place if the key compromise goes unnoticed and the attacker can act as a man-in-the-middle (MITM). For example if example.com is compromised and the attacker forges answers for somebank.example.com. and sends them out during an MITM, when the attack is discovered it will be simple to prove that example.com has been compromised and the KSK will be rolled. Designing a long-term successful attack is difficult for keys at any level.

4. Signature Generation, Key Rollover, and Related Policies

4.1. Key Rollovers

Regardless of whether a zone uses periodic key rollovers in order to practice for emergencies, or only rolls over keys in an emergency, key rollovers are a fact of life when using DNSSEC. Zone administrators who are in the process of rolling their keys have to take into account that data published in previous versions of their zone still lives in caches. When deploying DNSSEC, this becomes an important consideration; ignoring data that may be in caches may lead to loss of service for clients.

The most pressing example of this occurs when zone material signed with an old key is being validated by a resolver that does not have the old zone key cached. If the old key is no longer present in the current zone, this validation fails, marking the data "Bogus". Alternatively, an attempt could be made to validate data that is signed with a new key against an old key that lives in a local cache, also resulting in data being marked "Bogus".

4.1.1. Zone Signing Key Rollovers

If the choice for splitting zone and key signing keys has been made than those two types of keys can be rolled separately and zone signing keys can be rolled without taking into account DS records from the parent or the configuration of such a key as trust-anchor.

For "Zone Signing Key rollovers", there are two ways to make sure that during the rollover data still cached can be verified with the new key sets or newly generated signatures can be verified with the keys still in caches. One schema, described in Section, uses double signatures; the other uses key pre-publication (Section The pros, cons, and recommendations are described in Section Pre-Publish Zone Signing Key Rollover

This section shows how to perform a ZSK rollover without the need to sign all the data in a zone twice -- the "Pre-Publish key rollover". This method has advantages in the case of a key compromise. If the old key is compromised, the new key has already been distributed in the DNS. The zone administrator is then able to quickly switch to the new key and remove the compromised key from the zone. Another major advantage is that the zone size does not double, as is the case with the Double Signature ZSK rollover.

Pre-Publish key rollover involves four stages as follows:

  initial            new DNSKEY          new RRSIGs       
  SOA_0              SOA_1               SOA_2              
  RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)    RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)     RRSIG_Z_11(SOA)   

  DNSKEY_K_1         DNSKEY_K_1          DNSKEY_K_1        
  DNSKEY_Z_10        DNSKEY_Z_10         DNSKEY_Z_10       
                     DNSKEY_Z_11         DNSKEY_Z_11

  DNSKEY removal



Initial version of the zone: DNSKEY_K_1 is the Key Signing Key. DNSKEY_Z_10 is used to sign all the data of the zone, the Zone Signing Key.
DNSKEY_Z_11 is introduced into the key set. Note that no signatures are generated with this key yet, but this does not secure against brute force attacks on the public key. The minimum duration of this pre-roll phase is the time it takes for the data to propagate to the authoritative servers plus TTL value of the key set.
new RRSIGs:
At the "new RRSIGs" stage (SOA serial 2), DNSKEY_Z_11 is used to sign the data in the zone exclusively (i.e., all the signatures from DNSKEY_Z_10 are removed from the zone). DNSKEY_Z_10 remains published in the key set. This way data that was loaded into caches from version 1 of the zone can still be verified with key sets fetched from version 2 of the zone. The minimum time that the key set including DNSKEY_Z_10 is to be published is the time that it takes for zone data from the previous version of the zone to expire from old caches, i.e., the time it takes for this zone to propagate to all authoritative servers plus the Maximum Zone TTL value of any of the data in the previous version of the zone.
DNSKEY removal:
DNSKEY_Z_10 is removed from the zone. The key set, now only containing DNSKEY_K_1 and DNSKEY_Z_11, is re-signed with the DNSKEY_K_1 and DNSKEY_Z_11.

The above scheme can be simplified by always publishing the "future" key immediately after the rollover. The scheme would look as follows (we show two rollovers); the future key is introduced in "new DNSKEY" as DNSKEY_Z_12 and again a newer one, numbered 13, in "new DNSKEY (II)":

    initial             new RRSIGs          new DNSKEY
    SOA_0               SOA_1               SOA_2
    RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)     RRSIG_Z_11(SOA)     RRSIG_Z_11(SOA)

    DNSKEY_K_1          DNSKEY_K_1          DNSKEY_K_1
    DNSKEY_Z_10         DNSKEY_Z_10         DNSKEY_Z_11
    DNSKEY_Z_11         DNSKEY_Z_11         DNSKEY_Z_12

    new RRSIGs (II)        new DNSKEY (II)
    SOA_3                  SOA_4
    RRSIG_Z_12(SOA)        RRSIG_Z_12(SOA)

    DNSKEY_K_1             DNSKEY_K_1
    DNSKEY_Z_11            DNSKEY_Z_12
    DNSKEY_Z_12            DNSKEY_Z_13

Note that the key introduced in the "new DNSKEY" phase is not used for production yet; the private key can thus be stored in a physically secure manner and does not need to be 'fetched' every time a zone needs to be signed. Double Signature Zone Signing Key Rollover

This section shows how to perform a ZSK key rollover using the double zone data signature scheme, aptly named "Double Signature rollover".

During the "new DNSKEY" stage the new version of the zone file will need to propagate to all authoritative servers and the data that exists in (distant) caches will need to expire, requiring at least the Maximum Zone TTL.

Double Signature ZSK rollover involves three stages as follows:

   initial             new DNSKEY         DNSKEY removal
   SOA_0               SOA_1              SOA_2
   RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)     RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)    RRSIG_Z_11(SOA)
   DNSKEY_K_1          DNSKEY_K_1         DNSKEY_K_1
   DNSKEY_Z_10         DNSKEY_Z_10
                       DNSKEY_Z_11        DNSKEY_Z_11

Initial Version of the zone: DNSKEY_K_1 is the Key Signing Key. DNSKEY_Z_10 is used to sign all the data of the zone, the Zone Signing Key.
At the "New DNSKEY" stage (SOA serial 1) DNSKEY_Z_11 is introduced into the key set and all the data in the zone is signed with DNSKEY_Z_10 and DNSKEY_Z_11. The rollover period will need to continue until all data from version 0 of the zone has expired from remote caches. This will take at least the Maximum Zone TTL of version 0 of the zone.
DNSKEY removal:
DNSKEY_Z_10 is removed from the zone. All the signatures from DNSKEY_Z_10 are removed from the zone. The key set, now only containing DNSKEY_Z_11, is re-signed with DNSKEY_K_1 and DNSKEY_Z_11.

At every instance, RRSIGs from the previous version of the zone can be verified with the DNSKEY RRSet from the current version and the other way around. The data from the current version can be verified with the data from the previous version of the zone. The duration of the "new DNSKEY" phase and the period between rollovers should be at least the Maximum Zone TTL.

Making sure that the "new DNSKEY" phase lasts until the signature expiration time of the data in the initial version of the zone is recommended. This way all caches are cleared of the old signatures. However, this duration could be considerably longer than the Maximum Zone TTL, making the rollover a lengthy procedure.

Note that in this example we assumed that the zone was not modified during the rollover. New data can be introduced in the zone as long as it is signed with both keys. Pros and Cons of the Schemes

Pre-Publish key rollover:
This rollover does not involve signing the zone data twice. Instead, before the actual rollover, the new key is published in the key set and thus is available for cryptanalysis attacks. A small disadvantage is that this process requires four steps. Also the Pre-Publish scheme involves more parental work when used for KSK rollovers as explained in Section 4.1.3.
Double Signature ZSK rollover:
The drawback of this signing scheme is that during the rollover the number of signatures in your zone doubles; this may be prohibitive if you have very big zones. An advantage is that it only requires three steps.

4.1.2. Key Signing Key Rollovers

For the rollover of a Key Signing Key, the same considerations as for the rollover of a Zone Signing Key apply. However, we can use a Double Signature scheme to guarantee that old data (only the apex key set) in caches can be verified with a new key set and vice versa. Since only the key set is signed with a KSK, zone size considerations do not apply.

 initial            new DNSKEY        DS change    DNSKEY removal
 SOA_0 -----------------------------> SOA_1 ------------------------>
 RRSIG_par(SOA) --------------------> RRSIG_par(SOA) --------------->
 DS_K_1 ----------------------------> DS_K_2 ----------------------->
 RRSIG_par(DS) ---------------------> RRSIG_par(DS) ---------------->

 SOA_0              SOA_1 -----------------------> SOA_2
 RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)    RRSIG_Z_10(SOA) -------------> RRSIG_Z_10(SOA)

 DNSKEY_K_1         DNSKEY_K_1 ------------------>
                    DNSKEY_K_2 ------------------> DNSKEY_K_2
 DNSKEY_Z_10        DNSKEY_Z_10 -----------------> DNSKEY_Z_10
 RRSIG_K_1(DNSKEY)  RRSIG_K_1 (DNSKEY) ---------->
                    RRSIG_K_2 (DNSKEY) ----------> RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)

Initial version of the zone. The parental DS points to DNSKEY_K_1. Before the rollover starts, the child will have to verify what the TTL is of the DS RR that points to DNSKEY_K_1 -- it is needed during the rollover and we refer to the value as TTL_DS.
During the "new DNSKEY" phase, the zone administrator generates a second KSK, DNSKEY_K_2. The key is provided to the parent, and the child will have to wait until a new DS RR has been generated that points to DNSKEY_K_2. After that DS RR has been published on all servers authoritative for the parent's zone, the zone administrator has to wait at least TTL_DS to make sure that the old DS RR has expired from caches.
DS change:
The parent replaces DS_K_1 with DS_K_2.
DNSKEY removal:
DNSKEY_K_1 has been removed.

The scenario above puts the responsibility for maintaining a valid chain of trust with the child. It also is based on the premise that the parent only has one DS RR (per algorithm) per zone. An alternative mechanism has been considered. Using an established trust relation, the interaction can be performed in-band, and the removal of the keys by the child can possibly be signaled by the parent. In this mechanism, there are periods where there are two DS RRs at the parent. Special Considerations for RFC5011 KSK rollover

The scenario sketched above assumes that the KSK is not in use as a trust-anchor too but that validating nameservers exclusively depend on the parental DS record to establish the zone's security. If it is known that validating nameservers have configured trust-anchors then such needs to be taken into account. Here we assume that operators of zones will deploy RFC5011 [RFC5011] style rollovers.

RFC5011 style rollovers increase the duration of key rollovers: the key to be removed must first be revoked. Thus, before the DNSKEY_K_1 removal phase, DNSKEY_K_1 must be published for one more Maximum Zone TTL with the REVOKE bit set. The revoked key must be self-signed, so in this phase the DNSKEY RRset must also be signed with DNSKEY_K_1.

4.1.3. Difference Between ZSK and KSK Rollovers

Note that KSK rollovers and ZSK rollovers are different in the sense that a KSK rollover requires interaction with the parent (and possibly replacing of trust anchors) and the ensuing delay while waiting for it.

A ZSK rollover can be handled in two different ways, meaningful: Pre-Publish (Section and Double Signature (Section

As the KSK is used to validate the key set and because the KSK is not changed during a ZSK rollover, a cache is able to validate the new key set of the zone. A Pre-Publish method is also possible for KSKs, known as the Double-DS rollover. The name being a give away, the record that needs to be pre-published is the DS RR at the parent. The Pre-Publish method has some drawbacks for KSKs. We first describe the rollover scheme and then indicate these drawbacks.

  initial         new DS         new DNSKEY       DS removal
  SOA_0           SOA_1 ------------------------> SOA_2
  RRSIG_par(SOA)  RRSIG_par(SOA) ---------------> RRSIG_par(SOA)
  DS_K_1          DS_K_1 ----------------------->
                  DS_K_2 -----------------------> DS_K_2
  RRSIG_par(DS)   RRSIG_par(DS) ----------------> RRSIG_par(DS)

  SOA_0 -----------------------> SOA_1 ---------------------------->
  RRSIG_Z_10(SOA) -------------> RRSIG_Z_10(SOA) ------------------>

  DNSKEY_K_1 ------------------> DNSKEY_K_2 ----------------------->
  DNSKEY_Z_10 -----------------> DNSKEY_Z_10 ---------------------->
  RRSIG_K_1 (DNSKEY) ----------> RRSIG_K_2 (DNSKEY) --------------->

When the child zone wants to roll, it notifies the parent during the "new DS" phase and submits the new key (or the corresponding DS) to the parent. The parent publishes DS_S_1 and DS_S_2, pointing to DNSKEY_S_1 and DNSKEY_S_2, respectively. During the rollover ("new DNSKEY" phase), which can take place as soon as the new DS set propagated through the DNS, the child replaces DNSKEY_S_1 with DNSKEY_S_2. Immediately after that ("DS/DNSKEY removal" phase), it can notify the parent that the old DS record can be deleted.

The drawbacks of this scheme are that during the "new DS" phase the parent cannot verify the match between the DS_S_2 RR and DNSKEY_S_2 using the DNS -- as DNSKEY_S_2 is not yet published. Besides, we introduce a "security lame" key (see Section 4.3.3). Finally, the child-parent interaction consists of two steps. The "Double Signature" method only needs one interaction.

4.1.4. Rollover for a Single Type Signing Key rollover

The rollover of a DNSKEY when a Single Type Signing Scheme is used is subject to the same requirement as the rollover of a KSK or ZSK: During any stage of the rollover the chain of trust needs to continue to validate for any combination of data in the zone as well as data that may still live in distant caches.

There are two variants for this rollover. Since the choice for a Single Type Signing Scheme is motivated by operational simplicity we first describe the most straightforward rollover scheme first.

  initial           new DNSKEY      DS change     DNSKEY removal
  SOA_0 --------------------------> SOA_1 ---------------------->
  RRSIG_par(SOA) -----------------> RRSIG_par(SOA) ------------->
  DS_S_1 -------------------------> DS_S_2 --------------------->
  RRSIG_par(DS_S_1) --------------> RRSIG_par(DS_S_2) ---------->

  SOA_0             SOA_1 ----------------------> SOA_2
  RRSIG_S_1(SOA)    RRSIG_S_1(SOA) ------------->
                    RRSIG_S_2(SOA) -------------> RRSIG_S_2(SOA)
  DNSKEY_S_1        DNSKEY_S_1 ----------------->
                    DNSKEY_S_2 -----------------> DNSKEY_S_2
  RRSIG_S_1(DNSKEY) RRSIG_S_1(DNSKEY) ---------->
                    RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY) ----------> RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)

Parental DS points to DNSKEY_S_1. All RR sets in the zone are signed with DNSKEY_S_1.
A new key (DNSKEY_S_2) is introduced and all the RR sets are signed with both DNSKEY_S_1 and DNSKEY_S_2.
DS change:
After the DNSKEY RRset with the two keys had time to propagate into distant caches (that is the key set exclusively containing DNSKEY_S_1 has been expired) the parental DS record can be changed.
DNSKEY removal:
After the DS RRset containing DS_S_1 has expired from distant caches DNSKEY_S_1 can be removed from the DNSKEY RRset .

There is a second variety of this rollover during which one introduces a new DNSKEY into the key set and signs the keyset with both keys while signing the zone data with only the original DNSKEY_S_1. One replaces the DNSKEY_S_1 signatures with signatures made with DNSKEY_S_2 at the moment of DNSKEY_S_1 removal.

The second variety of this rollover can be considered when zone size considerations prevent the introduction of double signatures over all of the zone data although in that case choosing for a KSK/ZSK split may be a better option.

A Double-DS rollover scheme is compatible with a rollover using a Single Type Signing Scheme although in order to maintain a valid chain of trust, the zone data would need to be published with double signatures or a double keyset. Since this leads to increase in zone and packet size at both child and parent there are little benefits to a Double-DS rollover with a Single Type Signing Scheme.

There is also a second variety of the Double-DS rollover during which one introduces a new DNSKEY into the key set and submit the new DS to the parent. The new key is not yet used to sign RRsets. One replaces the DNSKEY_S_1 signatures with signatures made with DNSKEY_S_2 at the moment that DNSKEY_S_2 and DS_S_2 have been propagated.

Again, this second variety of this rollover can be considered when zone size considerations prevent the introduction of double signatures over all of the zone data although also in this case, choosing for a KSK/ZSK split may be a better option.

4.1.5. Algorithm rollovers

A special class of key rollover is the one needed for a change of key algorithms (either adding a new algorithm, removing an old algorithm, or both). Additional steps are needed to retain integrity during this rollover. We first describe the generic case, special considerations for rollovers that involve trust-anchors and single type keys are discussed below.

There exist a conservative and a liberal approach for algorithm rollover. This has to do with section 2.2 in RFC4035 [RFC4035]:

When following the more liberal approach, algorithm rollover is just as easy as a regular Double-Signature KSK rollover (Section 4.1.2). Note that the Double-DS rollover method cannot be used, since that would introduce a parental DS of which the apex DNSKEY RRset has not been signed with the introduced algorithm.

However, there are implementations of validators known that follow the more conservative approach. Performing a Double-Signature KSK algorithm rollover will temporarily make your zone appear as Bogus by such validators during the rollover. Therefore, the rollover in this section will explain the stages of deployment assuming the conservative approach.

When adding a new algorithm, the signatures should be added first. After the TTL of RRSIGS has expired, and caches have dropped the old data covered by those signatures, the DNSKEY with the new algorithm can be added.

After the new algorithm has been added, the DS record can be exchanged using Double Signature Key Rollover. You cannot use Pre-Publish key rollover method when you do key algorithm rollover.

When removing an old algorithm, the DNSKEY should be removed first, but only after the DS for the old algorithm was removed from the parent zone.

Figure 7 describes the steps. The underscored number indicates the algorithm and ZSK and KSK indicate the obvious difference in key use. For example DNSKEY_K_1 is a the DNSKEY RR representing the public part of the old key signing key of algorithm type 1 while RRSIG_Z_2(SOA) is the RRSIG RR made with the private part of the new zone signing key of algorithm type 2 over a SOA RR. It is assumed that the key that signs the SOA RR also signes all other non-DNSKEY RRset data.

 initial              new RRSIGs           new DNSKEY
 SOA_0 -------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ----------------------------------------------->
 DS_K_1 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(DS_K_1) -------------------------------------------->

 SOA_0                SOA_1                SOA_2
 RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)
                      RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)
 DNSKEY_K_1           DNSKEY_K_1           DNSKEY_K_1
 DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1
                      RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)

 new DS               DNSKEY removal       RRSIGs removal
 SOA_0 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ---------------------------------------------->
 DS_K_2 ------------------------------------------------------>
 RRSIG_par(DS_K_2) ------------------------------------------->

 -------------------> SOA_3                SOA_4 
 -------------------> RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)     
 -------------------> RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)
 -------------------> DNSKEY_K_2           DNSKEY_K_2
 -------------------> DNSKEY_Z_2           DNSKEY_Z_2
 -------------------> RRSIG_K_1(DNSKEY)
 -------------------> RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)

Describes state of the zone before any transition is done. Number of the keys may vary, but the algorithm of keys in the zone is same for all DNSKEY records.
new RRSIGs:
The signatures made with the new key over all records in the zone are added, but the key itself is not. This includes the signature for the DNSKEY RRset. While in theory, the signatures of the keyset should always be synchronized with the keyset itself, it can be possible that RRSIGS are requested separately, so it is prudent to also sign the DNSKEY set with the new signature.
This step is needed to propagate the signatures created with the new algorithm to the caches. If you do not do that, it might happen that the resolver picks up the new DNSKEY RRset (with the new algorithm included), but still have the old list of signatures stored.
After the cache data has expired, the new key can be added to the zone.
new DS:
After the cache data for the DNSKEY has expired, the DS record for the new key can be added to the parent zone and the DS record for the old key can be removed in the same step.
DNSKEY removal:
After the cache data for the DS has expired, the old algorithm can be removed. This time the key needs to be removed first, before removing the signatures.
RRSIGs removal:
After the cache data for the DNSKEY has expired, the signatures can also be removed during this step.

Below we deal with a few special cases of algorithm rollovers. Figure 13, Figure 14 and Figure 15 in Appendix Appendix C.

1: Single Type Signing Scheme Algorithm Rollover
: when you have chosen not to differentiate between Zone and Key signing keys (Section
2: RFC5011 Algorithm Rollover
: when trust-anchors can track the roll via RFC5011 style rollover (Section
3: 1 and 2 combined
: when a Single Type Signing Scheme Algorithm rollover is RFC5011-enabled (Section

In addition to the narrative below these special cases are represented in Single Type Signing Scheme Algorithm Rollover

If one key is used that acts both as ZSK and KSK, the same scheme and figure as above applies whereby all DNSKEY_Z_* records from the table are removed and all RRSIG_Z_* are replaced with RRSIG_K_*. The requirement to sign with both algorithms and make sure that old RRSIGS have the opportunity to expire from distant caches before introducing the new algorithm in the DNSKEY RRset is still valid.

Also see Figure 13 in Appendix Appendix C. Algorithm rollover, RFC5011 style

Trust anchor algorithm rollover is almost as simple as a regular RFC5011 based rollover. However, the old trust anchor must be revoked before it is removed from the zone.

Take a look at the Figure 7 above. After the "new DS" step, we need an additional step where the DNSKEY is revoked (revoke DNSKEY):

  revoke DNSKEY



There is one exception to the rule above. While all zone data must be signed with an unrevoked key, it is permissible to sign the keyset with a revoked key. The somewhat esoteric argument follows.

Resolvers that do not understand the RFC5011 Revoke flag will handle DNSKEY_K_1_REVOKED the same as if it was DNSKEY_K_1. In other words, they will handle the revoked key as a normal key, and thus RRsets signed with this key will validate. As a result, the signature matches the algorithm listed in the DNSKEY RRset. Resolvers that do implement RFC5011 will remove DNSKEY_K_1 from the set of trust anchors. That is okay, since they have already added DNSKEY_K_2 as the new trust anchor. Thus, algorithm 2 is the only signaled algorithm by now. That means, we only need RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY) to authenticate the DNSKEY RRset, and we still are compliant with section 2.2 from RFC 4035: There must be a RRSIG for each RRset using at least one DNSKEY of each algorithm in the zone apex DNSKEY RRset.

Also see Figure 14 in Appendix Appendix C. Single Signing Type Algorithm Rollover, RFC5011 style

Combining the Single Signing Type Scheme Algorithm Rollover and RFC5011 style rollovers is not trivial.

Should you choose to perform an RFC5011 style rollover with a Single Signing Type key then remember that section 2.1, RFC 5011 states:

In other words, the rule that at every RRset there must be at least one signature for each algorithm used in the DNSKEY RRset still applies. This means that a different key with the same algorithm, other than the revoked key, must sign the entire zone. This can be the ZSK. Thus, more operations are needed if the Single Type Signing Scheme is used. Before rolling the algorithm, a new key must be introduced with the same algorithm as the key that is candidate for revocation. That key can than temporarily act as ZSK during the algorithm rollover.

Just like with algorithm rollover RFC5011 style, while all zone data must be signed with an unrevoked key, it is permissible to sign the keyset with a revoked key, for the same esoteric argument described in Section

The lesson of all of this is that a Single Type Signing scheme algorithm rollover using RFC5011 is as complicated as the name of the rollover implies, one is better off explicitly using a split key temporarily.

Also see Figure 14 in Appendix Appendix C. NSEC to NSEC3 algorithm rollover

A special case is the rollover from an NSEC signed zone to an NSEC3 signed zone. In this case algorithm numbers are used to signal support for NSEC3 but they do not mandate the use of NSEC3. Therefore NSEC records should remain in the zone until the rollover to a new algorithm has completed and the new DNSKEY RR set has populated distant caches(at least one TTL into stage 4, or at any time during stage 5). At that point the validators that have not implemented NSEC3 will treat the zone as unsecured as soon as they follow the chain of trust to DS that points to a DNSKEY of the new algorithm while validators that support NSEC3 will happily validate using NSEC. Turning on NSEC3 can then be done when changing from zone serial number, realizing that that involves a resigning of the zone and the introduction of the NSECPARAM record in order to signal authoritative servers to start serving NSEC3 authenticated denial of existence.

Summarizing, an NSEC to NSEC3 rollover is an ordinary algorithm rollover whereby NSEC is used all the time and only after that rollover finished NSEC3 needs to be deployed.

4.1.6. Considerations for Automated Key Rollovers

As keys must be renewed periodically, there is some motivation to automate the rollover process. Consider the following:

4.2. Planning for Emergency Key Rollover

This section deals with preparation for a possible key compromise. Our advice is to have a documented procedure ready for when a key compromise is suspected or confirmed.

When the private material of one of your keys is compromised it can be used for as long as a valid trust chain exists. A trust chain remains intact for

While a trust chain to your compromised key exists, your namespace is vulnerable to abuse by anyone who has obtained illegitimate possession of the key. Zone operators have to make a trade-off if the abuse of the compromised key is worse than having data in caches that cannot be validated. If the zone operator chooses to break the trust chain to the compromised key, data in caches signed with this key cannot be validated. However, if the zone administrator chooses to take the path of a regular rollover, during the rollover the malicious key holder can continue to spoof data so that it appears to be valid.

4.2.1. KSK Compromise

A zone containing a DNSKEY RRSet with a compromised KSK is vulnerable as long as the compromised KSK is configured as trust anchor or a DS record in the parent zone points to it.

A compromised KSK can be used to sign the key set of an attacker's zone. That zone could be used to poison the DNS.

Therefore, when the KSK has been compromised, the trust anchor or the parent DS record should be replaced as soon as possible. It is local policy whether to break the trust chain during the emergency rollover. The trust chain would be broken when the compromised KSK is removed from the child's zone while the parent still has a DS record pointing to the compromised KSK (the assumption is that there is only one DS record at the parent. If there are multiple DS records this does not apply -- however the chain of trust of this particular key is broken).

Note that an attacker's zone still uses the compromised KSK and the presence of the corresponding DS record in the parent would cause the data in this zone to appear as valid. Removing the compromised key would cause the attacker's zone to appear as valid and the child's zone as Bogus. Therefore, we advise not to remove the KSK before the parent has a DS record for the new KSK in place. Keeping the Chain of Trust Intact

If we follow this advice, the timing of the replacement of the KSK is somewhat critical. The goal is to remove the compromised KSK as soon as the new DS RR is available at the parent. We therefore have to make sure that the signature made with a new KSK over the key set that contains the compromised KSK expires just after the new DS appears at the parent. Expiration of that signature will cause expiration of that key set from the caches.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Introduce a new KSK into the key set, keep the compromised KSK in the key set. Lower the TTL for DNSKEYs so that it will expire faster from caches.
  2. Sign the key set, with a short validity period. The validity period should expire shortly after the DS is expected to appear in the parent and the old DSes have expired from caches. This provides an upper limit on how long the compromised KSK can be used in a replay attack.
  3. Upload the DS for this new key to the parent.
  4. Follow the procedure of the regular KSK rollover: Wait for the DS to appear in the authoritative servers and then wait as long as the TTL of the old DS RRs. If necessary re-sign the DNSKEY RRSet and modify/extend the expiration time.
  5. Remove the compromised DNSKEY RR from the zone and re-sign the key set using your "normal" TTL and signature validity interval.

An additional danger of a key compromise is that the compromised key could be used to facilitate a legitimate DNSKEY/DS rollover and/or nameserver changes at the parent. When that happens, the domain may be in dispute. An authenticated out-of-band and secure notify mechanism to contact a parent is needed in this case.

Note that this is only a problem when the DNSKEY and or DS records are used for authentication at the parent. Breaking the Chain of Trust

There are two methods to break the chain of trust. The first method causes the child zone to appear 'Bogus' to validating resolvers. The other causes the child zone to appear 'insecure'. These are described below.

In the method that causes the child zone to appear 'Bogus' to validating resolvers, the child zone replaces the current KSK with a new one and re-signs the key set. Next, it sends the DS of the new key to the parent. Only after the parent has placed the new DS in the zone is the child's chain of trust repaired. Note that until that time, the child zone is still vulnerable to spoofing: the attacker is still in possesion of the compromised key that the DS points to.

An alternative method of breaking the chain of trust is by removing the DS RRs from the parent zone altogether. As a result, the child zone would become insecure.

4.2.2. ZSK Compromise

Primarily because there is no interaction with the parent required when a ZSK is compromised, the situation is less severe than with a KSK compromise. The zone must still be re-signed with a new ZSK as soon as possible. As this is a local operation and requires no communication between the parent and child, this can be achieved fairly quickly. However, one has to take into account that just as with a normal rollover the immediate disappearance of the old compromised key may lead to verification problems. Also note that until the RRSIG over the compromised ZSK has expired, the zone may be still at risk.

4.2.3. Compromises of Keys Anchored in Resolvers

A key can also be pre-configured in resolvers as a trust-anchor. If trust-anchor keys are compromised, the administrators of resolvers using these keys should be notified of this fact. Zone administrators may consider setting up a mailing list to communicate the fact that a SEP key is about to be rolled over. This communication will of course need to be authenticated by some means, e.g. by using digital signatures.

End-users faced with the task of updating an anchored key should always validate the new key. New keys should be authenticated out-of-band, for example, through the use of an announcement website that is secured using secure sockets (TLS) [RFC5246].

4.2.4. Stand-by keys

Stand-by keys are keys that are published in your zone, but are not used to sign RRsets. There are two reasons why someone would want to use stand-by keys. One is to speed up the emergency key rollover. The other is to recover from a disaster that leaves your production private keys inaccessible.

The way to deal with stand-by keys differs for ZSKs and KSKs. To make a stand-by ZSK, you need to publish its DNSKEY RR. To make a stand-by KSK, you need to get its DS RR published at the parent.

Assuming you have your DNS operation at location A, to prepare stand-by keys you need to:

Now suppose a disaster occurs at location A, that disables the access to your currently used keys. To recover from that situation, follow these procedures:

4.3. Parent Policies

4.3.1. Initial Key Exchanges and Parental Policies Considerations

The initial key exchange is always subject to the policies set by the parent. It is specifically important in a registry-registrar model where the key material is to be passed from the DNS operator, to the (parent) registry via a registrar, where both DNS operator and registrar are selected by the registrant and might be different organisations. When designing a key exchange policy one should take into account that the authentication and authorization mechanisms used during a key exchange should be as strong as the authentication and authorization mechanisms used for the exchange of delegation information between parent and child. That is, there is no implicit need in DNSSEC to make the authentication process stronger than it is for regular DNS.

Using the DNS itself as the source for the actual DNSKEY material has the benefit that it reduces the chances of user error. A DNSKEY query tool can make use of the SEP bit [RFC4035] to select the proper key from a DNSSEC key set, thereby reducing the chance that the wrong DNSKEY is sent. It can validate the self-signature over a key; thereby verifying the ownership of the private key material. Fetching the DNSKEY from the DNS ensures that the chain of trust remains intact once the parent publishes the DS RR indicating the child is secure.

Note: the out-of-band verification is still needed when the key material is fetched via the DNS. The parent can never be sure whether or not the DNSKEY RRs have been spoofed.

With some type of key rollovers, the DNSKEY is not pre-published and a DNSKEY query tool is not able to retrieve the successor key. In this case, the out-of-band method is required. This also allows the child to determine the digest algorithm of the DS record.

4.3.2. Storing Keys or Hashes?

When designing a registry system one should consider whether to store the DNSKEYs and/or the corresponding DSes. Since a child zone might wish to have a DS published using a message digest algorithm not yet understood by the registry, the registry can't count on being able to generate the DS record from a raw DNSKEY. Thus, we recommend that registry systems at least support storing DS records (also see draft-ietf-dnsop-dnssec-trust-anchor [I-D.ietf-dnsop-dnssec-trust-anchor]).

The storage considerations also relate to the design of the customer interface and the method by which data is transferred between registrant and registry; Will the child zone administrator be able to upload DS RRs with unknown hash algorithms or does the interface only allow DNSKEYs? When registries support the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) [RFC5910], that can be used for registrar-registry interactions since that protocol allows the transfer of both DS and optionally DNSKEY RRs. There is no standardized way for moving the data between the customer and the registrar. Different registrars have different mechanisms, ranging from simple web interfaces to various APIs. In some cases the use of the DNSSEC extensions to EPP may be applicable.

Having an out-of-band mechanism, such as a registry directory (e.g., Whois), to find out which keys are used to generate DS Resource Records for specific owners and/or zones may also help with troubleshooting.

4.3.3. Security Lameness

Security lameness is defined as the state whereby the parent has a DS RR pointing to a non-existing DNSKEY RR. Security lameness may occur temporarily during a Double-DS rollover scheme. However care should be taken that not all DS RRs are security lame which may cause the child's zone to be marked "Bogus" by verifying DNS clients.

As part of a comprehensive delegation check, the parent could, at key exchange time, verify that the child's key is actually configured in the DNS. However, if a parent does not understand the hashing algorithm used by child, the parental checks are limited to only comparing the key id.

Child zones should be very careful in removing DNSKEY material, specifically SEP keys, for which a DS RR exists.

Once a zone is "security lame", a fix (e.g., removing a DS RR) will take time to propagate through the DNS.

4.3.4. DS Signature Validity Period

Since the DS can be replayed as long as it has a valid signature, a short signature validity period for the DS RRSIG minimizes the time a child is vulnerable in the case of a compromise of the child's KSK(s). A signature validity period that is too short introduces the possibility that a zone is marked "Bogus" in case of a configuration error in the signer. There may not be enough time to fix the problems before signatures expire (this is a generic argument also see Section 4.4.2). Something as mundane as operator unavailability during weekends shows the need for DS signature validity periods longer than two days. We recommend an absolute minimum for a DS signature validity period of a few days.

The maximum signature validity period of the DS record depends on how long child zones are willing to be vulnerable after a key compromise. On the other hand, shortening the DS signature validity interval increases the operational risk for the parent. Therefore, the parent may have policy to use a signature validity interval that is considerably longer than the child would hope for.

A compromise between the policy/operational constraints of the parent and minimizing damage for the child may result in a DS signature validity period somewhere between a week and months.

In addition to the signature validity period, which sets a lower bound on the number of times the zone owner will need to sign the zone data and which sets an upper bound to the time a child is vulnerable after key compromise, there is the TTL value on the DS RRs. Shortening the TTL reduces the damage of a successful replay attack. It does mean that the authoritative servers will see more queries. But on the other hand, a short TTL lowers the persistence of DS RRSets in caches thereby increasing the speed with which updated DS RRSets propagate through the DNS.

4.3.5. Changing DNS Operators

The parent-child relation is often described in terms of a registry-registrar-registrant model, where a registry maintains the parent zone, and the registrant (the user of the child-domain name) deals with the registry through an intermediary called a registrar. (See [RFC3375] for a comprehensive definition). Registrants may out-source the maintenance of their DNS system, including the maintenance of DNSSEC key material, to the registrar or to another third party, which we will call the DNS operator. The DNS operator that has control over the DNS zone and its keys may prevent the registrant to make a timely move to a different DNS operator.

For various reasons, a registrant may want to move between DNS operators. How easy this move will be depends principally on the DNS operator from which the registrant is moving (the losing operator), as they have control over the DNS zone and its keys. The following sections describe the two cases: where the losing operator cooperates with the new operator (the gaining operator), and where the two do not cooperate. Cooperating DNS operators

In this scenario, it is assumed that losing operator will not pass any private key material to the gaining operator (that would constitute a trivial case) but is otherwise fully cooperative.

In this environment one could proceed with a Pre-Publish ZSK rollover whereby the losing operator pre-publishes the ZSK of the gaining operator, combined with a Double Signature KSK rollover where the two registrars exchange public keys and independently generate a signature over those keysets that they combine and both publish in their copy of the zone. Once that is done they can use their own private keys to sign any of their zone content during the transfer.

 initial            |        pre-publish                    |
  NS_A                            NS_A          
  DS_A                            DS_A           
 Child at A:            Child at A:       Child at B:
  SOA_A0                 SOA_A1            SOA_B0
  NS_A                   NS_A              NS_B
  RRSIG_Z_A(NS)          NS_B              RRSIG_Z_B(NS)

  DNSKEY_Z_A             DNSKEY_Z_A         DNSKEY_Z_A            
                         DNSKEY_Z_B         DNSKEY_Z_B
  DNSKEY_K_A             DNSKEY_K_A         DNSKEY_K_A            
                         DNSKEY_K_B         DNSKEY_K_B
                         RRSIG_K_B(DNSKEY)  RRSIG_K_B(DNSKEY)

       Redelegation                 |   post migration      |
           NS_B                           NS_B
           DS_B                           DS_B
 Child at A:       Child at B:             Child at B:

  SOA_A2             SOA_B1                SOA_B2

  NS_A               NS_B                  NS_B
  NS_B               RRSIG_Z_B(NS)         RRSIG_Z_B(NS)

  DNSKEY_Z_B         DNSKEY_Z_B            DNSKEY_Z_B
  DNSKEY_K_B         DNSKEY_K_B            DNSKEY_K_B            


In this figure A denotes the losing operator and B the gaining operator. RRSIG_Z is the RRSIG produced by a ZSK, RRSIG_K is produced with a KSK, the appended A or B indicates the producers of the key pair. Child at A is how the zone content is represented by the losing DNS operator and Child at B is how the zone content is represented by the gaining DNS operator.

The requirement to exchange signatures has a couple of drawbacks. It requires more operational overhead, because not only the operators have to exchange public keys, they also have to exchange the signatures of the new DNSKEY RRset. Also, it disallows the children to refresh the signatures when they expire for a certain period. Both drawbacks do not exist if you replace the Double Signature KSK rollover with a Double-DS KSK rollover.

Thus, if the registry and registrars allow for DS records to be published, that do not point to a published DNSKEY in the child zone, the Double-DS KSK rollover is preferred (also known as Pre-Publication KSK Rollover, see Figure 5), in combination with the Pre-Publish ZSK rollover. This does not require to share the KSK signatures between the operators. Both the losing and the gaining operator still need to publish the public ZSK of each other. Non Cooperating DNS Operators

In the non-cooperative case matters are more complicated. The losing operator may not cooperate and leave the data in the DNS as is. In the extreme case the losing operator may become obstructive and publish a DNSKEY RR with a high TTL and corresponding signature validity so that registrar A's DNSKEY could end up in caches for (in theory at least) tens of years.

The problem arises when a validator tries to validate with the losing operator's key and there is no signature material produced with the losing operator available in the delegation path after redelegation from the losing operator to the gaining operator has taken place. One could imagine a rollover scenario where the gaining operator pulls all RRSIGs created by the losing operator and publishes those in conjunction with its own signatures, but that would not allow any changes in the zone content. Since a redelegation took place the NS RRset has - by definition - changed so such rollover scenario will not work. Besides if zone transfers are not allowed by the losing operator and NSEC3 is deployed in the losing operator's zone, then the gaining operator's zone will not have certainty that all of A's RRSIGs are transferred.

The only viable option for the registrant is to publish its zone unsigned and ask the registry to remove the DS RR pointing to the losing operator's DNSKEY.

Note that some behavior of resolver implementations may aid in the process of changing DNS operators:

However, there is no operational methodology to work around this business issue, and proper contractual relationships between all involved parties seems to be the only solution to cope with these problems. It should be noted that in many cases, the problem with temporary broken delegations already exists when a zone changes from one DNS operator to another. Besides, it is often the case that when operators are changed the services that that zone references also change operator, possibly involving some downtime.

In any case, to minimise such problems, the classic recommendation is to have relative short TTL on all involved resource records. That will solve many of the problems regarding changes to a zone regardless of whether DNSSEC is used.

4.4. Time in DNSSEC

Without DNSSEC, all times in the DNS are relative. The SOA fields REFRESH, RETRY, and EXPIRATION are timers used to determine the time elapsed after a slave server synchronized with a master server. The Time to Live (TTL) value and the SOA RR minimum TTL parameter [RFC2308] are used to determine how long a forwarder should cache data after it has been fetched from an authoritative server. By using a signature validity period, DNSSEC introduces the notion of an absolute time in the DNS. Signatures in DNSSEC have an expiration date after which the signature is marked as invalid and the signed data is to be considered Bogus.

The considerations in this section are all qualitative and focused on the operational and managerial issues. A more thorough quantitative analysis of rollover timing parameters can be found in draft-ietf-dnsop-dnssec-key-timing [I-D.ietf-dnsop-dnssec-key-timing]

4.4.1. Time Considerations

Because of the expiration of signatures, one should consider the following:

4.4.2. Signature Validation Periods Maximum Value

The first consideration for choosing a maximum signature validity period is the risk of a replay attack. For low-value, long-term stable resources the risks may be minimal and the signature validity period may be several months. Although signature validity periods of many years are allowed the same operational habit arguments as in Section 3.2.2 play a role: when a zone is re-signed with some regularity then operators remain conscious about the operational necessity of re-signing. Minimum Value

The minimum value of the signature validity period is set for the time by which one would like to survive operational failure in provisioning: what is the time that a failure will be noticed, what is the time that action is expected to be taken? By answering these questions availability of operators during (long) weekends or time taken to access to backup media can be taken into account. The result could easily suggest a minimum Signature Validity period of a few days.

Note however, the argument above is assuming that zone data has just been signed and published when the problem occurred. In practice it may be that a zone is signed according to a frequency set by the Re-Sign Period whereby the signer visits the zone content and only refreshes signatures that are close to expiring: the signer will only refresh signatures if they are within the Refresh Period from the signature expiration time. The Re-Sign Period must be smaller than the Refresh Period in order for zone data to be signed in timely fashion.

If an operational problem occurs during resigning then the signatures in the zone to expire first are the ones that have been generated longest ago. In the worst case these signatures are the Refresh Period minus the Re-Sign Period away from signature expiration.

In other words, the minimum Signature Validity interval is set by first choosing the Refresh Period (usually a few days), then defining the Re-Sign period in such a way that the Refresh Period minus the Resign period sets the time in which operational havoc can be resolved.

To make matters slightly more complicated, some signers vary the signature validity period over a small range (the jitter interval) so that not all signatures expire at the same time. The jitter should not influence your calculation as long as it is smaller than the refresh period and the resign period is at least half the refresh period.

 Inception         Signing                             Expiration
 time                time                                time
 |                     |                           |       |       |
 |                     |                           |       |       |
                                                       +/- jitter

 |  Inception offset   |                                   |
 |<------------------->|        Validity Period            |
 |                  |<------------------------------------>|

 Inception      Signing  reuse  reuse  reuse    new      Expiration
 time             time                          signature     time
 |                  |      |      |      |      |             |         
 |                  |      |      |      |      |             |         
                     <----> <----> <----> <---->                    
                 Resign Period
                                             |                  |
                                             |<-Refresh Period->|
                                             |                  |

Note that in the figure the validity of the signature starts shortly before the inception time. That is done to deal with validators that might have some clock skew. The inception offset should be chosen so that you minimize the false negatives to a reasonable level. Differentiation between RR sets

It is possible to vary signature validity periods between signatures over different RR sets in the zone. In practice this could be done when zones contain highly volatile data (which may be the case in dynamic update environments). Note however that the risk of replay (e.g. by stale secondary servers) is what should be leading in determining the signature validity period since the TTL on the data itself still are the primary parameter for cache expiry.

In some cases the risk of replaying existing data might be different from the risk of replaying the denial of data. In those cases the signature validity period on NSEC or NSEC3 records may be tweaked accordingly.

When a zone contains secure delegations then a relatively short signature validity interval protects the child against replay attacks, in the case the child's key is compromised (see Section 4.3.4). Since there is a higher operational risk for the parent registry when choosing a short validity interval and a higher operational risk for the child when choosing a long validity period some (price) differentiation may occur for validity periods between individual DS RRs in a single zone.

There seem to be no other arguments for differentiation in validity periods.

5. Next Record type

One of the design tradeoffs made during the development of DNSSEC was to separate the signing and serving operations instead of performing cryptographic operations as DNS requests are being serviced. It is therefore necessary to create records that cover the very large number of non-existent names that lie between the names that do exist.

There are two mechanisms to provide authenticated proof of non-existence of domain names in DNSSEC: a clear text one and an obfuscated-data one. Each mechanism:

5.1. Differences between NSEC and NSEC3

The clear text mechanism (NSEC) is implemented using a sorted linked list of names in the zone. The obfuscated-data mechanism (NSEC3) is similar but first hashes the names using a one-way hash function, before creating a sorted linked list of the resulting (hashed) strings.

The NSEC record requires no cryptographic operations aside from the validation of its associated signature record. It is human readable and can be used in manual queries to determine correct operation. The disadvantage is that it allows for "zone walking", where one can request all the entries of a zone by following the linked list of NSEC RRs via the "Next Domain Name" field.

Though all agree DNS data is accessible through query mechanisms, a side effect of NSEC is that it allows the contents of a zone file to be enumerated in full by sequential queries. Whilst for some operators this behavior is acceptable or even desirable, for others it is undesirable for policy, regulatory or other reasons. This is the first difference between NSEC and NSEC3.

The second difference between NSEC and NSEC3 is that NSEC requires a signature over every RR in the zonefile, thereby ensuring that any denial of existence is cryptographically signed. However, in a large zonefile containing many delegations very few of which are to signed zones, this may produce unacceptable additional overhead especially where insecure delegations are subject to frequent update (a typical example might be a TLD operator with few registrants using secure delegations). NSEC3 allows intervals between two such delegations to "Opt-out" in which case they may contain one more more insecure delegations, thus reducing the size and cryptographic complexity of the zone at the expense of the ability to cryptographically deny the existence of names in a specific span.

The NSEC3 record uses a hashing method of the requested RRlabel. To increase the workload required to guess entries in the zone, the number of hashing iteration's can be specified in the NSEC3 record. Additionally, a salt can be specified that also modifies the hashes. Note that NSEC3 does not give full protection against information leakage from the zone.

5.2. NSEC or NSEC3

The first motivation to deploy NSEC3, prevention of zone enumeration, only makes sense when zone content is not highly structured or trivially guessable. Highly structured zones such as the in-addr.arpa, ip6.arpa and e164.arpa can be trivially enumerated using ordinary DNS properties while for small zones that only contain contain records in the APEX and a few common RRlabels such as "www" or "mail" guessing zone content and proving completeness is also trivial when using NSEC3.

In those cases the use of NSEC is recommended to ease the work required by signers and validating resolvers.

For large zones where there is an implication of "not readily available" RRlabels, such as those where one has to sign a non-disclosure agreement before obtaining it, NSEC3 is recommended.

The considerations for the second reason to deploy NSEC3 are discussed below (Section 5.3.4).

5.3. NSEC3 parameters

The NSEC3 hashing algorithm is performed on the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) in its uncompressed form. This ensures brute force work done by an attacker for one (FQDN) RRlabel cannot be re-used for another (FQDN) RRlabel attack, as these entries are, by definition unique.

5.3.1. NSEC3 Algorithm

At the moment of writing there is only one NSEC3 Hashing algorithm defined. [RFC5155] specifically calls out that when a new hash algorithm for use with NSEC3 is specified, a transition mechanism MUST also be defined. Therefore this document does not consider NSEC3 hash algorithm transition.

5.3.2. NSEC3 Iterations

One of the concerns with NSEC3 is a pre-calculated dictionary attack could be made in order to assess if certain domain names exist within the zones or not. Two mechanisms are introduced in the NSEC3 specification to increase the costs of such dictionary attacks: Iterations and Salt.

RFC5155 Section 10.3 [RFC5155] considers the trade-offs between incurring cost during the signing process and imposing costs to the validating nameserver, while still providing a reasonable barrier against dictionary attacks. It provides useful limits of iterations for a given RSA key size. These are 150 iterations for 1024 bit keys, 500 iterations for 2048 bit keys and 2,500 iterations for 4096 bit keys. Choosing a value of 100 iterations is deemed to be a sufficiently costly yet not excessive value: In the worst case scenario, the performance of your nameservers would be halved, regardless of key size [nsec3hp].

5.3.3. NSEC3 Salt

While the NSEC3 iterations parameter increases the cost of hashing a dictionary word, the NSEC3 salt reduces the lifetime for which that calculated hash can be used. A change of the salt value by the zone owner would cause an attacker to lose all precalculated work for that zone.

The FQDN RRlabel, which is part of the value that is hashed, already ensures that brute force work for one RRlabel can not be re-used to attack other RRlabel (e.g. in other domains) due to their uniqueness.

The salt of all NSEC3 records in a zone needs to be the same. Since changing the salt requires all the NSEC3 records to be regenerated, and thus requires generating new RRSIG's over these NSEC3 records, it is recommended to align the change of the salt with a change of the Zone Signing Key, as that process in itself already usually requires all RRSIG's to be regenerated (you can have a smooth ZSK rollover by honoring the Refresh period). If there is no critical dependency on incremental signing and the zone can be signed with little effort there is no need for such alignment. However, unlike Zone Signing Key changes, NSEC3 salt changes do not need special rollover procedures. It is possible to change the salt each time the zone is updated.

5.3.4. Opt-out

The Opt-Out mechanism was introduced to allow for a gradual introduction of signed records in zones that contain mostly delegation records. The use of the OPT-OUT flag changes the meaning of the NSEC3 span from authoritative denial of the existence of names within the span to a proof that DNSSEC is not available for the delegations within the span. This allows for the addition or removal of the delegations covered by the span without recalculating or re- signing RRs in the NSEC3 RR chain.

Opt-Out is specified to be used only over delegation points and will therefore only bring relief to zones with a large number of zones and where the number of secure delegations is small. This consideration typically holds for large top-level-domains and similar zones; in most other circumstances Opt-Out should not be deployed. Further considerations can be found in RFC5155 section 12.2 [RFC5155].

6. Security Considerations

DNSSEC adds data integrity to the DNS. This document tries to assess the operational considerations to maintain a stable and secure DNSSEC service. Not taking into account the 'data propagation' properties in the DNS will cause validation failures and may make secured zones unavailable to security-aware resolvers.

7. IANA considerations

There are no IANA considerations with respect to this document

8. Contributors and Acknowledgments

Significant parts of the text of this document is copied from RFC4641 [RFC4641]. That document was edited by Olaf Kolkman and Miek Gieben. Other people that contributed or where otherwise involved in that work were in random order: Rip Loomis, Olafur Gudmundsson, Wesley Griffin, Michael Richardson, Scott Rose, Rick van Rein, Tim McGinnis, Gilles Guette, Olivier Courtay, Sam Weiler, Jelte Jansen, Niall O'Reilly, Holger Zuleger, Ed Lewis, Hilarie Orman, Marcos Sanz, Peter Koch, Mike StJohns, Emma Bretherick, Adrian Bedford, and Lindy Foster, and O. Courtay.

For this version of the document we would like to acknowledge a few people for significant contributions:

Paul Hoffman
for his contribution on the choice of cryptographic parameters and addressing some of the trust anchor issues;
Jelte Jansen
who provided the initial text in Section 4.1.5;
Paul Wouters
who provided the initial text for Section 5 and Alex Bligh who improved it;
Erik Rescorla
whose blogpost on "the Security of ZSK rollovers" inspired text in Section 3.1;
Stephen Morris
who made a pass on English style and grammar;
Matthijs Mekking
thorougly reviewed and provided concrete improvements on the specific types of keyrollovers (e.g. he provided the tables in Appendix Appendix C); and
Olafur Gudmundsson and Ondrej Sury
who provided input on Section 4.1.5 based on actual operational experience.
Rickard Bellgrim
reviewed the document extensively.

The figure in Section 4.4.2 was adapted from the OpenDNSSEC user documentation.

In addition valuable contributions in the form of text, comments, or review where provided by Mark Andrews, Patrik Faltstrom, Tony Finch, Alfred Hines, Bill Manning, Scott Rose, and Wouter Wijngaards.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

[1] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities", STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.
[2] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.
[3] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D. and S. Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC 4033, March 2005.
[4] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D. and S. Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions", RFC 4034, March 2005.
[5] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D. and S. Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security Extensions", RFC 4035, March 2005.

9.2. Informative References

[1] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[2] Ohta, M., "Incremental Zone Transfer in DNS", RFC 1995, August 1996.
[3] Vixie, P., "A Mechanism for Prompt Notification of Zone Changes (DNS NOTIFY)", RFC 1996, August 1996.
[4] Andrews, M., "Negative Caching of DNS Queries (DNS NCACHE)", RFC 2308, March 1998.
[5] Wellington, B., "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Dynamic Update", RFC 3007, November 2000.
[6] Hollenbeck, S., "Generic Registry-Registrar Protocol Requirements", RFC 3375, September 2002.
[7] Orman, H. and P. Hoffman, "Determining Strengths For Public Keys Used For Exchanging Symmetric Keys", BCP 86, RFC 3766, April 2004.
[8] Eastlake, D., Schiller, J. and S. Crocker, "Randomness Requirements for Security", BCP 106, RFC 4086, June 2005.
[9] Kolkman, O. and R. Gieben, "DNSSEC Operational Practices", RFC 4641, September 2006.
[10] Shirey, R., "Internet Security Glossary, Version 2", RFC 4949, August 2007.
[11] StJohns, M., "Automated Updates of DNS Security (DNSSEC) Trust Anchors", RFC 5011, September 2007.
[12] Gould, J. and S. Hollenbeck, "Domain Name System (DNS) Security Extensions Mapping for the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)", RFC 5910, May 2010.
[13] Rose, S., "NIST DNSSEC workshop notes", , June 2001.
[14] Barker, E. and J. Kelsey, "Recommendation for Random Number Generation Using Deterministic Random Bit Generators (Revised) ", NIST Special Publication 800-90, March 2007.
[15] Hardaker, W., "Use of SHA-256 in DNSSEC Delegation Signer (DS) Resource Records (RRs)", RFC 4509, May 2006.
[16] Laurie, B., Sisson, G., Arends, R. and D. Blacka, "DNS Security (DNSSEC) Hashed Authenticated Denial of Existence", RFC 5155, March 2008.
[17] Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.2", RFC 5246, August 2008.
[18] Jansen, J., "Use of SHA-2 Algorithms with RSA in DNSKEY and RRSIG Resource Records for DNSSEC", RFC 5702, October 2009.
[19] Morris, S, Ihren, J and J Dickinson, "DNSSEC Key Timing Considerations", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnsop-dnssec-key-timing-01, October 2010.
[20] Ljunggren, F, Eklund-Lowinder, A and T Okubo, "DNSSEC Policy & Practice Statement Framework", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnsop-dnssec-dps-framework-03, November 2010.
[21] Larson, M and O Gudmundsson, "DNSSEC Trust Anchor Configuration and Maintenance", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-dnsop-dnssec-trust-anchor-04, October 2010.
[22] Schaeffer, Y., "NSEC3 Hash Performance", NLnet Labs document 2010-02, March 2010.

Appendix A. Terminology

In this document, there is some jargon used that is defined in other documents. In most cases, we have not copied the text from the documents defining the terms but have given a more elaborate explanation of the meaning. Note that these explanations should not be seen as authoritative.

Anchored key:
A DNSKEY configured in resolvers around the globe. This key is hard to update, hence the term anchored.
Also see Section 5 of RFC4033 [RFC4033]. An RRSet in DNSSEC is marked "Bogus" when a signature of an RRSet does not validate against a DNSKEY.
Key Signing Key or KSK:
A Key Signing Key (KSK) is a key that is used exclusively for signing the apex key set. The fact that a key is a KSK is only relevant to the signing tool.
Key size:
The term 'key size' can be substituted by 'modulus size' throughout the document for RSA keys. It is mathematically more correct to use modulus size for RSA keys, but as this is a document directed at operators we feel more at ease with the term key size.
Private and public keys:
DNSSEC secures the DNS through the use of public key cryptography. Public key cryptography is based on the existence of two (mathematically related) keys, a public key and a private key. The public keys are published in the DNS by use of the DNSKEY Resource Record (DNSKEY RR). Private keys should remain private.
Key rollover:
A key rollover (also called key supercession in some environments) is the act of replacing one key pair with another at the end of a key effectivity period.
Refresh Period:
The period before the expiration time of the signature, during which the signature is refreshed by the signer.
Re-Signing frequency:
Frequency with which a signing pass on the zone is performed. Alternatively expressed as "Re-Signing Period". It defines when the zone is exposed to the signer. During a signing pass not all signatures in the zone may be refreshed, that depend refresh frequency/interval.
Secure Entry Point (SEP) key:
A KSK that has a DS record in the parent zone pointing to it or is configured as a trust anchor. Although not required by the protocol, we recommend that the SEP flag [RFC4035] is set on these keys.
This only applies to signatures over DNSKEYs; a signature made with DNSKEY x, over DNSKEY x is called a self-signature. Note: without further information, self-signatures convey no trust. They are useful to check the authenticity of the DNSKEY, i.e., they can be used as a hash.
Signing Jitter:
Jitter applied to the signature validty interval.
The system that has access to the private key material and signs the Resource Record sets in a zone. A signer may be configured to sign only parts of the zone, e.g., only those RRSets for which existing signatures are about to expire.
Single Type Signing Scheme:
A signing scheme whereby the distinction between Zone Signing Keys and Key Signing Keys is not made.
Zone Signing Key (ZSK):
A key that is used for signing all data in a zone (except, perhaps, the DNSKEY RRSet). The fact that a key is a ZSK is only relevant to the signing tool.
Singing the zone file:
The term used for the event where an administrator joyfully signs its zone file while producing melodic sound patterns.
Zone administrator:
The 'role' that is responsible for signing a zone and publishing it on the primary authoritative server.

Appendix B. Typographic Conventions

 example.com.  3600  IN SOA   ns1.example.com. olaf.example.net. (
                         2005092303 ; serial
                         450        ; refresh (7 minutes 30 seconds)
                         600        ; retry (10 minutes)
                         345600     ; expire (4 days)
                         300        ; minimum (5 minutes)
        3600    RRSIG    SOA 5 2 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         OMY3rTMA2qorupQXjQ== )
        3600    NS    ns1.example.com.
        3600    NS    ns2.example.com.
        3600    NS    ns3.example.com.
        3600    RRSIG    NS 5 2 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         zAgaJM/MeG08KpeHhg== )
        3600    TXT      "Net::DNS  domain"
        3600    RRSIG    TXT 5 2 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         BcQ1o99vwn+IS4+J1g== )
        300    NSEC      foo.example.com. NS SOA TXT RRSIG NSEC DNSKEY
        300    RRSIG     NSEC 5 2 300 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         PkXNI/Vgf4t3xZaIyw== )
        3600    DNSKEY   256 3 5 (
                         ) ; key id = 14
        3600    DNSKEY   257 3 5 (
                         ) ; key id = 15
        3600    RRSIG    DNSKEY 5 2 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         QhhmMwV3tIxJk2eDRQ== )
        3600    RRSIG    DNSKEY 5 2 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 15 example.com.
                         JWL70YiUnUG3m9OL9w== )
foo.example.com.  3600  IN A
        3600    RRSIG    A 5 3 3600 20120824013000 (
                         20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         JPV/SA4BkoFxIcPrDQ== )
        300    NSEC      example.com. A RRSIG NSEC
        300    RRSIG     NSEC 5 3 300 20120824013000 (
                        20100424013000 14 example.com.
                         Qe000JyzObxx27pY8A== )

The following typographic conventions are used in this document:

Key notation:
A key is denoted by DNSKEY_x_y, where x is an identifier for the type of key: K for Keys Signing Key, Z for Zone Signing Key and S when there is no distinction made between KSK and ZSKs but the key is used as a secure entry point. The 'y' denotes a number or an identifier, y could be thought of as the key id.
RRSet notations:
RRs are only denoted by the type. All other information -- owner, class, rdata, and TTL -- is left out. Thus: "example.com 3600 IN A" is reduced to "A". RRSets are a list of RRs. A example of this would be "A1, A2", specifying the RRSet containing two "A" records. This could again be abbreviated to just "A".
Signature notation:
Signatures are denoted as RRSIG_x_y(RRSet), which means that RRSet is signed with DNSKEY_x_y.
Zone representation:
Using the above notation we have simplified the representation of a signed zone by leaving out all unnecessary details such as the names and by representing all data by "SOA_x"
SOA representation:
SOAs are represented as SOA_x, where x is the serial number.
RRsets ignored:
If the signature of non DNSKEY RRsets have the same parameters as the SOA than those are not mentioned. e.g. In the example below the SOA is signed with the same parameters as the foo.example.com A RRset and the latter is therefore ignored in the abbreviated notation.

Using this notation the following signed zone:

Appendix C. Transition Figures for Special Case Algorithm Rollovers

The figures appendix complement and illustrate the special cases of algorithm rollovers as described in Section 4.1.5

 initial              new RRSIGs           new DNSKEY
 SOA_0 -------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ----------------------------------------------->
 DS_S_1 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(DS_S_1) -------------------------------------------->

 SOA_0                SOA_1                SOA_2
 RRSIG_S_1(SOA)       RRSIG_S_1(SOA)       RRSIG_S_1(SOA)
                      RRSIG_S_2(SOA)       RRSIG_S_2(SOA)
 DNSKEY_S_1           DNSKEY_S_1           DNSKEY_S_1
                      RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)

 new DS               DNSKEY removal       RRSIGs removal
 SOA_1 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ---------------------------------------------->
 DS_S_2 ------------------------------------------------------>
 RRSIG_par(DS_S_2) ------------------------------------------->

 -------------------> SOA_3                SOA_4 
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_1(SOA)     
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_2(SOA)       RRSIG_S_2(SOA)
 -------------------> DNSKEY_S_2           DNSKEY_S_2
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_1(DNSKEY)
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)

 initial              new RRSIGs           new DNSKEY
 SOA_0 -------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ----------------------------------------------->
 DS_K_1 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(DS_K_1) -------------------------------------------->

 SOA_0                SOA_1                SOA_2
 RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)
                      RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)
 DNSKEY_K_1           DNSKEY_K_1           DNSKEY_K_1
 DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1
                      RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)

 new DS               revoke DNSKEY        DNSKEY removal
 SOA_0 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ---------------------------------------------->
 DS_K_2 ------------------------------------------------------>
 RRSIG_par(DS_K_2) ------------------------------------------->

 -------------------> SOA_3                SOA_4 
 -------------------> RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)    
 -------------------> RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_2(SOA)
 -------------------> DNSKEY_K_1_REVOKED
 -------------------> DNSKEY_K_2           DNSKEY_K_2
 -------------------> DNSKEY_Z_2           DNSKEY_Z_2
 -------------------> RRSIG_K_1(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_K_1(DNSKEY)
 -------------------> RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_K_2(DNSKEY)

 RRSIGs removal



 initial              new RRSIGs           new DNSKEY
 SOA_0 -------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ----------------------------------------------->
 DS_S_1 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(DS_S_1) -------------------------------------------->

 SOA_0                SOA_1                SOA_2
 RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)
                      RRSIG_S_2(SOA)       RRSIG_S_2(SOA)

 DNSKEY_S_1           DNSKEY_S_1           DNSKEY_S_1
 DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1           DNSKEY_Z_1
                      RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)

 new DS               revoke DNSKEY        DNSKEY removal
 SOA_0 ------------------------------------------------------->
 RRSIG_par(SOA) ---------------------------------------------->
 DS_S_2 ------------------------------------------------------>
 RRSIG_par(DS_S_2) ------------------------------------------->

 -------------------> SOA_3                SOA_4 
 -------------------> RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)       RRSIG_Z_1(SOA)    
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_2(SOA)       RRSIG_S_2(SOA)
 -------------------> DNSKEY_S_1_REVOKED
 -------------------> DNSKEY_S_2           DNSKEY_S_2
 -------------------> DNSKEY_Z_1           
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_1(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_S_1(DNSKEY)
 -------------------> RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)    RRSIG_S_2(DNSKEY)

 RRSIGs removal



Appendix D. Document Editing History

[To be removed prior to publication as an RFC]

Appendix D.1. draft-ietf-dnsop-rfc4641-00

Version 0 was differs from RFC4641 in the following ways.

In other words it should not contain substantive changes in content as intended by the working group for the original RFC4641.

Appendix D.2. version 0->1

Cryptography details rewritten. (See http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/svn/rfc4641bis/trunk/open-issues/cryptography_flawed)

Applied some differentiation with respect of the use of a KSK for parent or trust-anchor relation http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/svn/rfc4641bis/trunk/open-issues/differentiation_trustanchor_parent


Added Section 4.1.5 as suggested by Jelte Jansen in http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/svn/rfc4641bis/trunk/open-issues/Key_algorithm_roll

Added Section Issue identified by Antoin Verschuren http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/svn/rfc4641bis/trunk/open-issues/non-cooperative-registrars

In Appendix Appendix A: ZSK does not necessarily sign the DNSKEY RRset.

Appendix D.3. version 1->2

Appendix D.4. version 2->3

Appendix D.5. version 3->4

Appendix D.6. version 4->5

Appendix D.7. version 5->6

Appendix D.8. version 6->7

Appendix D.9. Subversion information


$Id: draft-ietf-dnsop-rfc4641bis.xml 105 2011-07-07 09:50:35Z matje $

Authors' Addresses

Olaf M. Kolkman NLnet Labs Science Park 140 Amsterdam, 1098 XG The Netherlands EMail: olaf@nlnetlabs.nl URI: http://www.nlnetlabs.nl
Matthijs Mekking NLnet Labs Science Park 140 Amsterdam, 1098 XG The Netherlands EMail: matthijs@nlnetlabs.nl URI: http://www.nlnetlabs.nl