DNSEXT Working Group                                    Brian Wellington
INTERNET-DRAFT                                        Olafur Gudmundsson
<draft-ietf-dnsext-ad-is-secure-05.txt>                       March
<draft-ietf-dnsext-ad-is-secure-06.txt>                        June 2002

Updates: RFC 2535

                       Redefinition of DNS AD bit

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
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   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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   Comments should be sent to the authors or the DNSEXT WG mailing list

   This draft expires on September December 25, 2002.

   Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002).  All rights reserved.


   Based on implementation experience, the current RFC2535 definition of the AD
   Authenticated Data (AD) bit in the DNS header is not useful.  This
   draft changes the  specification so that the AD bit is only set on
   answers where signatures have been cryptographically verified or the
   server is authoritative for the data and is allowed to set the bit by

1 - Introduction

   Familiarity with the DNS system [RFC1035] and DNS security extensions
   [RFC2535] is helpful but not necessary.

   As specified in RFC 2535 (section 6.1), the AD (Authenticated Data)
   bit indicates in a response that all data included in the answer and
   authority sections of the response have been authenticated by the
   server according to the policies of that server.  This is not
   especially useful in practice, since a conformant server should SHOULD never
   reply with data that failed its security policy.

   This draft proposes to redefine redefines the AD bit such that it is only set if all data
   in the response has been cryptographically verified or otherwise
   meets the server's local security policy.  Thus, a response
   containing properly delegated insecure data will not have AD set, nor
   will a response from a server configured without DNSSEC keys.  As
   before, data which failed to verify will not be returned.  An
   application running on a host that has a trust relationship with the
   server performing the recursive query can now use the value of the AD
   bit to determine if the data is secure or not.

1.1 - Motivation

   A full DNSSEC capable resolver called directly from an application
   can return to the application the security status of the RRsets in
   the answer.  However, most applications use a limited stub resolver
   that relies on an external full resolver.  The remote resolver can
   use the AD bit in a response to indicate the security status of the
   data in the answer, and the local resolver can pass this information
   to the application.  The application in this context can be either a
   human using a DNS tool or a software application.

   The AD bit SHOULD be used by the local resolver if and only if it has
   been explicitly configured to trust the remote resolver.  The AD bit
   SHOULD be ignored when the remote resolver is not trusted.

   An alternate solution would be to embed a full DNSSEC resolver into
   every application.  This has several disadvantages.

   - DNSSEC validation is both CPU and network intensive, and caching
   SHOULD be used whenever possible.

   - DNSSEC requires non-trivial configuration - the root key must be
   configured, as well as keys for any "islands of security" that will
   exist until DNSSEC is fully deployed.  The number of configuration
   points should be minimized.

1.2 - Requirements

   The key words "MAY", "MAY NOT" "MUST", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD
   NOT", "RECOMMENDED", in this document are to be interpreted as
   described in RFC2119.


1.3 - Updated documents and sections

   The definition of the AD bit in RFC2535, Section 6.1, is changed.

2 - Setting of AD bit

   The presence of the CD (checking disabled) (Checking Disabled) bit in a query does not
   affect the setting of the AD bit in the response.  If the CD bit is
   set, the server will not perform checking, but SHOULD still set the
   AD bit if the data has already been checked cryptographically verified or
   complies with local policy.  The AD bit MUST only be set if DNSSEC
   records have been requested via the OK bit [RFC3225] and relevant SIG
   records are returned.

2.1 - Setting of AD bit by recursive servers

   Section 6.1 of RFC2535 says:

   "The AD bit MUST NOT be set on a response unless all of the RRs in
   the answer and authority sections of the response are either
   Authenticated or Insecure."

   The replacement text reads:

   "The AD bit MUST NOT be set on a response unless all of the RRsets in
   the answer and authority sections of the response are Authenticated."

   "The AD bit SHOULD be set if and only if all RRs in the answer
   section and any relevant negative response RRs in the authority
   section are Authenticated."

   A recursive DNS server following this modified specification will
   only set the AD bit when it has cryptographically verified the data
   in the answer.

2.2 - Setting of AD bit by authoritative servers


   A primary server for a secure zone the data, MAY have the policy of treating
   authoritative secure zones as Authenticated.  Secondary servers MAY
   have the same policy, but SHOULD NOT consider zone data Authenticated
   unless the zone was transfered transferred securely and/or the data was
   verified.  An authoritative server MUST only set the AD bit for
   authoritative answers from a secure zone if it has been explicitly
   configured to do so.  The default for this behavior SHOULD be off.

2.2.1 - Justification for setting AD bit w/o verifying data

   The setting of the AD bit by authoritative servers affects only a
   small set of resolvers that are configured to directly query and
   trust authoritative servers.  This only affects servers that function
   as both recursive and authoritative.  All recursive resolvers SHOULD
   ignore the AD bit.

   The cost of verifying all signatures on load by an authoritative
   server can be high and increases the delay before it can begin
   answering queries.  Verifying signatures at query time is also
   expensive and could lead to resolvers timing out on many queries
   after the server reloads zones.

   Organizations that require that all DNS responses contain
   cryptographically verified data must MUST separate the functions of
   authoritative and recursive servers, as authoritative servers are not
   required to validate local secure data.

3 - Interpretation of the AD bit

   A response containing data marked Insecure in the answer or authority
   section will MUST never have the AD bit set.  In this case, the resolver
   SHOULD treat the data as Insecure whether or not SIG records are

   A resolver MUST NOT blindly trust the AD bit unless it communicates
   with the server full function resolver over a secure transport mechanism or
   using message authentication such as TSIG [RFC2845] or SIG(0)
   [RFC2931] and is explicitly configured to trust this resolver.

4 - Applicability statement

   The AD bit is intended to allow the server. transmission of the indication
   that a resolver has verified the DNSSEC signatures accompanying the
   records in the Answer and Authority section.  The AD bit MUST only be
   trusted when the end consumer of the DNS data has confidence that the
   intermediary resolver setting the AD bit is trustworthy. This can
   only be accomplished via out of band mechanism such as:

    - Fiat: An organization can dictate that it is OK to trust certain DNS
    - Personal: Because of a personal relationship or the reputation of a
      resolver operator, a DNS consumer can decide to trust that
    - Knowledge: If a resolver operator posts the configured policy of a
      resolver a consumer can decide that resolver is trustworthy.

   In the absence of one or more of these factors AD bit from a resolver
   SHOULD NOT be trusted.  For example, home users frequently depend on
   their ISP to provide recursive DNS service; it is not advisable to
   trust these resolvers.  A roaming/traveling host SHOULD not use DNS
   resolvers offered by DHCP when looking up information where security
   status matters.

   When faced with a situation where there are no satisfactory recursive
   resolvers available, running one locally is RECOMMENDED.  This has
   the advantage that it can be trusted, and the AD bit can still be
   used to allow applications to use stub resolvers.

4 - Security Considerations:

   This document redefines a bit in the DNS header.  If a resolver
   trusts the value of the AD bit, it must be sure that the server responder is
   using the updated definition, which is any server DNS server/resolver
   supporting the OK
   bit. bit[RFC3225].

   Authoritative servers that can be explicitly configured to set the AD bit
   on answers without doing cryptographic checks must only do so if explicitly configured to. checks. This behavior MUST be
   off by default.  The only affects affected resolvers are those that directly
   query and trust the authoritative server, and this functionality should only be used on
   servers that act both as authoritative servers and recursive

   Authoritative servers that set the AD bit on answers without doing
   cryptographic checks must only do so on explicit zone by zone
   enablement. This only affects resolvers that trust the server and
   this functionality should
   SHOULD only be used on servers that act both as authoritative servers
   and recursive resolver.

   Resolvers (full or stub) that blindly trust the AD bit without
   knowing the security policy on answers from a
   configured set of the server generating the answer can
   not be considered resolvers are DNSSEC security aware. compliant.

5 - IANA Considerations:


6 - Internationalization Considerations:

   None, this

   None.  This document does not change any textual data in any

7 - Acknowledgments:

   The following people have provided input on this document: Robert
   Elz, Andreas Gustafsson, Bob Halley, Steven Jacob, Erik Nordmark,
   Edward Lewis, Jakob Schlyter, Roy Arends, Ted Lindgreen.

Normative References:

[RFC1035]  P. Mockapetris, ``Domain Names - Implementation and
           Specification'', STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

[RFC2535]  D. Eastlake, ``Domain Name System Security Extensions'', RFC
           2535, March 1999.

[RFC2845]  P. Vixie, O. Gudmundsson, D. Eastlake, B. Wellington,
           ``Secret Key Transaction Authentication for DNS (TSIG)'', RFC
           2845, May 2000.

[RFC2931]  D. Eastlake, ``DNS Request and Transaction Signatures
           (SIG(0))'', RFC 2931, September 2000.

[RFC3225]  D. Conrad, ``Indicating Resolver Support of DNSSEC'', RFC
           3225, December 2001.

Authors Addresses

      Brian Wellington                        Olafur Gudmundsson
      Nominum Inc.
      2385 Bay Street Road                           3826 Legation Street, NW
      Redwood City, CA, 94063                 Washington, DC, 20015
      USA                                     USA
      <Brian.Wellington@nominum.com>          <ogud@ogud.com>

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