DNSEXT Working Group                                          E. Lewis
INTERNET DRAFT                                                 NeuStar
Expiration Date: July 9, September 13, 2006                          January 9,                     March 13, 2006
Updates RFC 1034, RFC 2672

                            The Role of Wildcards
                          in the Domain Name System

Status of this Memo

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Copyright Notice

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).


    This is an update to the wildcard definition of RFC 1034.  The
    interaction with wildcards and CNAME is changed, an error
    condition removed, and the words defining some concepts central
    to wildcards are changed.  The overall goal is not to change
    wildcards, but to refine the definition of RFC 1034.

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Table of Contents

1.    Introduction   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  3
1 1   Motivation                                                     3
1 2   The Original Definition                                        3
1 3   Roadmap to This Document                                       4
1 3 1 New Terms                                                      4
1.3.2 Changed Text                                                   5
1.3.3 Considerations with Special Types                              5
1.4   Standards Terminology                                          5
2.    Wildcard Syntax   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  6
2.1   Identifying a Wildcard                                         6
2.1.1 Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name and Asterisk Label                        6
2.1.2 Asterisks and Other Characters                                 6
2.1.3 Non-terminal Wild Card Wildcard Domain Names                             6
2.2   Existence Rules                                                7
2.2.1 An Example                                                     7
2.2.2 Empty Non-terminals                                            9
2.2.3 Yet Another Definition of Existence                           10
2.3   When is a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name Not Special                    10
3.    Impact of a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name On a Response  .  .  .  .  . 10
3.1   Step 2                                                        10
3.2   Step 3                                                        11
3.3   Part 'c'                                                      11
3.3.1 Closest Encloser and the Source of Synthesis                  12
3.3.2 Closest Encloser and Source of Synthesis Examples             12
3.3.3 Type Matching                                                 13
4.    Considerations with Special Types   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 13
4.1   SOA RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                           13
4.2   NS RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                            14
4.2.1 Discarded Notions                                             14
4.3   CNAME RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                         15
4.4   DNAME RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                         15
4.5   SRV RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                           16
4.6   DS RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                           16                            17
4.7   NSEC RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                          17
4.8   RRSIG at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                               17
4.9   Empty Non-terminal Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name                       17
5.    Security Considerations .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
6.    IANA Considerations     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
7.    References              .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
8.    Editor                  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18
9.    Others Contributing to the Document    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18
10.   Trailing Boilerplate    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 19

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1. Introduction

    In RFC 1034 [RFC1034], sections 4.3.2 and 4.3.3 describe the
    synthesis of answers from special resource records called
    wildcards.  The definition in RFC 1034 is incomplete and has
    proven to be confusing.  This document describes the wildcard
    synthesis by adding to the discussion and making limited
    modifications.  Modifications are made to close inconsistencies
    that have led to interoperability issues.  This description
    does not expand the service intended by the original definition.

    Staying within the spirit and style of the original documents,
    this document avoids specifying rules for DNS implementations
    regarding wildcards.  The intention is to only describe what is
    needed for interoperability, not restrict implementation choices.
    In addition, consideration is given to minimize any backwards
    compatibility issues with implementations that comply with RFC
    1034's definition.

    This document is focused on the concept of wildcards as defined
    in RFC 1034.  Nothing is implied regarding alternative means of
    synthesizing resource record sets, nor are alternatives discussed.

1.1 Motivation

    Many DNS implementations diverge, in different ways, from the
    original definition of wildcards.  Although there is clearly a
    need to clarify the original documents in light of this alone,
    the impetus for this document lay in the engineering of the DNS
    security extensions [RFC4033].  With an unclear definition of
    wildcards the design of authenticated denial became entangled.

    This document is intended to limit its changes, documenting only
    those based on implementation experience, and to remain as close
    to the original document as possible.  To reinforce that this
    document is meant to clarify and adjust and not redefine
    wildcards, relevant sections of RFC 1034 are repeated verbatim
    to facilitate comparison of the old and new text.

1.2 The Original Definition

    The definition of the wildcard concept is comprised by the
    documentation of the algorithm by which a name server prepares
    a response (in RFC 1034's section 4.3.2) and the way in which
    a resource record (set) is identified as being a source of
    synthetic data (section 4.3.3).

    This is the definition of the term "wildcard" as it appears in
    RFC 1034, section 4.3.3.

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# In the previous algorithm, special treatment was given to RRs with
# owner names starting with the label "*".  Such RRs are called
# wildcards. Wildcard RRs can be thought of as instructions for
# synthesizing RRs.  When the appropriate conditions are met, the name
# server creates RRs with an owner name equal to the query name and
# contents taken from the wildcard RRs.

    This passage follows the algorithm in which the term wildcard
    is first used.   In this definition, wildcard refers to resource
    records.  In other usage, wildcard has referred to domain names,
    and it has been used to describe the operational practice of
    relying on wildcards to generate answers.  It is clear from this
    that there is a need to define clear and unambiguous terminology
    in the process of discussing wildcards.

    The mention of the use of wildcards in the preparation of a
    response is contained in step 3c of RFC 1034's section 4.3.2
    entitled "Algorithm."  Note that "wildcard" does not appear in
    the algorithm, instead references are made to the "*" label.
    The portion of the algorithm relating to wildcards is
    deconstructed in detail in section 3 of this document, this is
    the beginning of the relevant portion of the "Algorithm."

#    c. If at some label, a match is impossible (i.e., the
#       corresponding label does not exist), look to see if [...]
#       the "*" label exists.

    The scope of this document is the RFC 1034 definition of
    wildcards and the implications of updates to those documents,
    such as DNSSEC.  Alternate schemes for synthesizing answers are
    not considered.  (Note that there is no reference listed.  No
    document is known to describe any alternate schemes, although
    there has been some mention of them in mailing lists.)

1.3 Roadmap to This Document

    This document accomplishes these three items.
    o Defines new terms
    o Makes minor changes to avoid conflicting concepts
    o Describes the actions of certain resource records as wildcards

1.3.1 New Terms

    To help in discussing what resource records are wildcards, two
    terms will be defined - "asterisk label" and "wild card "wildcard domain
    name".  These are defined in section 2.1.1.

    To assist in clarifying the role of wildcards in the name server
    algorithm in RFC 1034, 4.3.2, "source of synthesis" and "closest
    encloser" are defined.  These definitions are in section 3.3.2.
    "Label match" is defined in section 3.2.

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    The new terms are used to make discussions of wildcards clearer.
    Terminology doesn't directly have an impact on implementations.

1.3.2 Changed Text

    The definition of "existence" is changed superficially.  This
    change will not be apparent to implementations; it is needed to
    make descriptions more precise.  The change appears in section

    RFC 1034, section 4.3.3., seems to prohibit having two asterisk
    labels in a wildcard owner name.  With this document the
    restriction is removed entirely.  This change and its implications
    are in section 2.1.3.

    The actions when a source of synthesis owns a CNAME RR are
    changed to mirror the actions if an exact match name owns a
    CNAME RR.  This is an addition to the words in RFC 1034,
    section 4.3.2, step 3, part c.  The discussion of this is in
    section 3.3.3.

    Only the latter change represents an impact to implementations.
    The definition of existence is not a protocol impact.  The change
    to the restriction on names is unlikely to have an impact, as
    RFC 1034 contained no specification on when and how to enforce the

1.3.3 Considerations with Special Types

    This document describes semantics of wildcard RRSets for
    "interesting" types as well as empty non-terminal wildcards.
    Understanding these situations in the context of wildcards has
    been clouded because these types incur special processing if
    they are the result of an exact match.  This discussion is in
    section 4.

    These discussions do not have an implementation impact, they cover
    existing knowledge of the types, but to a greater level of detail.

1.4 Standards Terminology

    This document does not use terms as defined in "Key words for use
    in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels." [RFC2119]

    Quotations of RFC 1034 are denoted by a '#' in the leftmost
    column.  References to section "4.3.2" are assumed to refer
    to RFC 1034's section 4.3.2, simply titled "Algorithm."

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2. Wildcard Syntax

    The syntax of a wildcard is the same as any other DNS resource
    record, across all classes and types.  The only significant
    feature is the owner name.

    Because wildcards are encoded as resource records with special
    names, they are included in zone transfers and incremental zone
    transfers[RFC1995] just as non-wildcard resource records are.
    This feature has been under appreciated until discussions on
    alternative approaches to wildcards appeared on mailing lists.

2.1 Identifying a Wildcard

    To provide a more accurate description of wildcards, the
    definition has to start with a discussion of the domain names
    that appear as owners.  Two new terms are needed, "Asterisk
    Label" and "Wild Card "Wildcard Domain Name."

2.1.1 Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name and Asterisk Label

    A "wild card "wildcard domain name" is defined by having its initial
    (i.e., left-most or least significant) label be, in binary format:

         0000 0001 0010 1010 (binary) = 0x01 0x2a (hexadecimal)

    The first octet is the normal label type and length for a 1 octet
    long label, the second octet is the ASCII representation [RFC20]
    for the '*' character.

    A descriptive name of a label equaling that value is an "asterisk

    RFC 1034's definition of wildcard would be "a resource record
    owned by a wild card wildcard domain name."

2.1.2 Asterisks and Other Characters

    No label values other than that in section 2.1.1 are asterisk
    labels, hence names beginning with other labels are never wild
      card wildcard
    domain names.  Labels such as 'the*' and '**' are not asterisk
    labels so these labels do not start wild card wildcard domain names.

2.1.3 Non-terminal Wild Card Wildcard Domain Names

    In section 4.3.3, the following is stated:

# ..........................  The owner name of the wildcard RRs is of
# the form "*.<anydomain>", where <anydomain> is any domain name.
# <anydomain> should not contain other * labels......................

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    The restriction is now removed.  The original documentation of it
    is incomplete and the restriction does not serve any purpose
    given years of operational experience.

    There are three possible reasons for putting the restriction in
    place, but none of the three has held up over time.  One is
    that the restriction meant that there would never be subdomains
    of wild card wildcard domain names, but the restriciton restriction as stated still
    permits "example.*.example." for instance.  Another is that
      wild card
    wildcard domain names are not intended to be empty non-terminals,
    but this situation does not disrupt the algorithm in 4.3.2.
    Finally, "nested" wild card wildcard domain names are not ambiguous once
    the concept of the closest encloser had been documented.

    A wild card wildcard domain name can have subdomains.  There is no need
    to inspect the subdomains to see if there is another asterisk
    label in any subdomain.

    A wild card wildcard domain name can be an empty non-terminal.  (See the
    upcoming sections on empty non-terminals.)  In this case, any
    lookup encountering it will terminate as would any empty
    non-terminal match.

2.2 Existence Rules

    The notion that a domain name 'exists' is mentioned in the
    definition of wildcards.  In section 4.3.3 of RFC 1034:

# Wildcard RRs do not apply:
#   - When the query name or a name between the wildcard domain and
#     the query name is know[n] to exist.  For example, if a wildcard

    "Existence" is therefore an important concept in the understanding
    of wildcards.  Unfortunately, the definition of what exists, in
    RFC 1034, is unclear.  So, in sections 2.2.2. and 2.2.3, another
    look is taken at the definition of existence.

2.2.1 An Example

    To illustrate what is meant by existence consider this complete

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      $ORIGIN example.
      example.                 3600 IN  SOA   <SOA RDATA>
      example.                 3600     NS    ns.example.com.
      example.                 3600     NS    ns.example.net.
      *.example.               3600     TXT   "this is a wild card" wildcard"
      *.example.               3600     MX    10 host1.example.
      sub.*.example.           3600     TXT   "this is not a wild card" wildcard"
      host1.example.           3600     A
      _ssh._tcp.host1.example. 3600     SRV  <SRV RDATA>
      _ssh._tcp.host2.example. 3600     SRV  <SRV RDATA>
      subdel.example.          3600     NS   ns.example.com.
      subdel.example.          3600     NS   ns.example.net.

    A look at the domain names in a tree structure is helpful:

                 /           /         \          \
                /           /           \          \
               /           /             \          \
              *          host1          host2      subdel
              |            |             |
              |            |             |
             sub         _tcp          _tcp
                           |             |
                           |             |
                         _ssh          _ssh

    The following responses would be synthesized from one of the
    wildcards in the zone:

        QNAME=host3.example. QTYPE=MX, QCLASS=IN
             the answer will be a "host3.example. IN MX ..."

        QNAME=host3.example. QTYPE=A, QCLASS=IN
             the answer will reflect "no error, but no data"
             because there is no A RR set at '*.example.'

        QNAME=foo.bar.example. QTYPE=TXT, QCLASS=IN
             the answer will be "foo.bar.example. IN TXT ..."
             because bar.example. does not exist, but the wildcard

    The following responses would not be synthesized from any of the
    wildcards in the zone:

        QNAME=host1.example., QTYPE=MX, QCLASS=IN
             because host1.example. exists

        QNAME=sub.*.example., QTYPE=MX, QCLASS=IN
             because sub.*.example. exists

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        QNAME=_telnet._tcp.host1.example., QTYPE=SRV, QCLASS=IN
             because _tcp.host1.example. exists (without data)

        QNAME=host.subdel.example., QTYPE=A, QCLASS=IN
             because subdel.example. exists (and is a zone cut)

        QNAME=ghost.*.example., QTYPE=MX, QCLASS=IN
             because *.example. exists

    The final example highlights one common misconception about
    wildcards.  A wildcard "blocks itself" in the sense that a
    wildcard does not match its own subdomains.  I.e. "*.example."
    does not match all names in the "example." zone, it fails to
    match the names below "*.example." To cover names under
    "*.example.", another wild card wildcard domain name is needed -
    "*.*.example." - which covers all but it's its own subdomains.

2.2.2 Empty Non-terminals

    Empty non-terminals [RFC2136, Section 7.16] are domain names
    that own no resource records but have subdomains that do.  In
    section 2.2.1, "_tcp.host1.example." is an example of a empty
    non-terminal name.  Empty non-terminals are introduced by this
    text in section 3.1 of RFC 1034:

# The domain name space is a tree structure.  Each node and leaf on
# the tree corresponds to a resource set (which may be empty).  The
# domain system makes no distinctions between the uses of the
# interior nodes and leaves, and this memo uses the term "node" to
# refer to both.

    The parenthesized "which may be empty" specifies that empty non-
    terminals are explicitly recognized, and that empty non-terminals

    Pedantically reading the above paragraph can lead to an
    interpretation that all possible domains exist - up to the
    suggested limit of 255 octets for a domain name [RFC1035].
    For example, www.example. may have an A RR, and as far as is
    practically concerned, is a leaf of the domain tree.  But the
    definition can be taken to mean that sub.www.example. also
    exists, albeit with no data.  By extension, all possible domains
    exist, from the root on down.

    As RFC 1034 also defines "an authoritative name error indicating
    that the name does not exist" in section 4.3.1, so this apparently
    is not the intent of the original definition, justifying the
    need for an updated definition in the next section.

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2.2.3 Yet Another Definition of Existence

    RFC1034's wording is fixed by the following paragraph:

    The domain name space is a tree structure.  Nodes in the tree
    either own at least one RRSet and/or have descendants that
    collectively own at least one RRSet.  A node may exist with no
    RRSets only if it has descendents descendants that do, do; this node is an empty

    A node with no descendants is a leaf node.  Empty leaf nodes do
    not exist.

    Note that at a zone boundary, the domain name owns data,
    including the NS RR set.  In the delegating zone, the NS RR
    set is not authoritative, but that is of no consequence here.
    The domain name owns data, therefore, it exists.

2.3 When is a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name Not Special

    When a wild card wildcard domain name appears in a message's query section,
    no special processing occurs.  An asterisk label in a query name
    only matches a single, corresponding asterisk label in the
    existing zone tree when the 4.3.2 algorithm is being followed.

    When a wild card wildcard domain name appears in the resource data of a
    record, no special processing occurs.  An asterisk label in that
    context literally means just an asterisk.

3. Impact of a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name On a Response

    RFC 1034's description of how wildcards impact response
    generation is in its section 4.3.2.  That passage contains the
    algorithm followed by a server in constructing a response.
    Within that algorithm, step 3, part 'c' defines the behavior of
    the wildcard.

    The algorithm in section 4.3.2. is not intended to be pseudo-code,
    i.e., its steps are not intended to be followed in strict order.
    The "algorithm" is a suggested means of implementing the
    requirements.  As such, in step 3, parts a, b, and c, do not have
    to be implemented in that order, provided that the result of the
    implemented code is compliant with the protocol's specification.

3.1 Step 2

    Step 2 of section 4.3.2 reads:

#   2. Search the available zones for the zone which is the nearest
#      ancestor to QNAME.  If such a zone is found, go to step 3,
#      otherwise step 4.

    In this step, the most appropriate zone for the response is
    chosen.  The significance of this step is that it means all of
    step 3 is being performed within one zone.  This has significance
    when considering whether or not an SOA RR can be ever be used for

3.2 Step 3

    Step 3 is dominated by three parts, labelled 'a', 'b', and 'c'.
    But the beginning of the step is important and needs explanation.

#   3. Start matching down, label by label, in the zone.  The
#      matching process can terminate several ways:

    The word 'matching' refers to label matching.  The concept
    is based in the view of the zone as the tree of existing names.
    The query name is considered to be an ordered sequence of
    labels - as if the name were a path from the root to the owner
    of the desired data.  (Which it is - 3rd paragraph of RFC 1034,
    section 3.1.)

    The process of label matching a query name ends in exactly one of
    three choices, the parts 'a', 'b', and 'c'.  Either the name is
    found, the name is below a cut point, or the name is not found.

    Once one of the parts is chosen, the other parts are not
    considered.  (E.g., do not execute part 'c' and then change
    the execution path to finish in part 'b'.)  The process of label
    matching is also done independent of the query type (QTYPE).

    Parts 'a' and 'b' are not an issue for this clarification as they
    do not relate to record synthesis.  Part 'a' is an exact match
    that results in an answer, part 'b' is a referral.

3.3 Part 'c'

    The context of part 'c' is that the process of label matching the
    labels of the query name has resulted in a situation in which
    there is no corresponding label in the tree.  It is as if the
    lookup has "fallen off the tree."

#     c. If at some label, a match is impossible (i.e., the
#        corresponding label does not exist), look to see if [...]
#        the "*" label exists.

    To help describe the process of looking 'to see if [...] the "*"
    label exists' a term has been coined to describe the last domain
    (node) matched.  The term is "closest encloser."

3.3.1 Closest Encloser and the Source of Synthesis

    The closest encloser is the node in the zone's tree of existing
    domain names that has the most labels matching the query name
    (consecutively, counting from the root label downward). Each match
    is a "label match" and the order of the labels is the same.

    The closest encloser is, by definition, an existing name in the
    zone.  The closest encloser might be an empty non-terminal or even
    be a wild card wildcard domain name itself.  In no circumstances is the
    closest encloser to be used to synthesize records for the current

    The source of synthesis is defined in the context of a query
    process as that wild card wildcard domain name immediately descending
    from the closest encloser, provided that this wild card wildcard domain
    name exists.  "Immediately descending" means that the source
    of synthesis has a name of the form:
          <asterisk label>.<closest encloser>.
    A source of synthesis does not guarantee having a RRSet to use
    for synthesis.  The source of synthesis could be an empty

    If the source of synthesis does not exist (not on the domain
    tree), there will be no wildcard synthesis.  There is no search
    for an alternate.

    The important concept is that for any given lookup process, there
    is at most one place at which wildcard synthetic records can be
    obtained.  If the source of synthesis does not exist, the lookup
    terminates, the lookup does not look for other wildcard records.

3.3.2 Closest Encloser and Source of Synthesis Examples

    To illustrate, using the example zone in section 2.2.1 of this
    document, the following chart shows QNAMEs and the closest

    QNAME                       Closest Encloser    Source of Synthesis
    host3.example.              example.            *.example.
    _telnet._tcp.host1.example. _tcp.host1.example. no source
    _dns._udp.host2.example.    host2.example.      no source
    _telnet._tcp.host3.example. example.            *.example.
    _chat._udp.host3.example.   example.            *.example.
    foobar.*.example.           *.example.          no source

3.3.3 Type Matching

     RFC 1034 concludes part 'c' with this:

#            If the "*" label does not exist, check whether the name
#            we are looking for is the original QNAME in the query
#            or a name we have followed due to a CNAME.  If the name
#            is original, set an authoritative name error in the
#            response and exit.  Otherwise just exit.
#            If the "*" label does exist, match RRs at that node
#            against QTYPE.  If any match, copy them into the answer
#            section, but set the owner of the RR to be QNAME, and
#            not the node with the "*" label.  Go to step 6.

    The final paragraph covers the role of the QTYPE in the lookup

    Based on implementation feedback and similarities between step
    'a' and step 'c' a change to this passage has been made.

    The change is to add the following text to step 'c' prior to the
    instructions to "go to step 6":

             If the data at the source of synthesis is a CNAME, and
             QTYPE doesn't match CNAME, copy the CNAME RR into the
             answer section of the response changing the owner name
             to the QNAME, change QNAME to the canonical name in the
             CNAME RR, and go back to step 1.

    This is essentially the same text in step a covering the
    processing of CNAME RRSets.

4. Considerations with Special Types

    Sections 2 and 3 of this document discuss wildcard synthesis
    with respect to names in the domain tree and ignore the impact
    of types.  In this section, the implication of wildcards of
    specific types are discussed.  The types covered are those
    that have proven to be the most difficult to understand.  The
    types are SOA, NS, CNAME, DNAME, SRV, DS, NSEC, RRSIG and
    "none," i.e., empty non-terminal wild card wildcard domain names.

4.1 SOA RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    A wild card wildcard domain name owning an SOA RRSet means that the
    domain is at the root of the zone (apex).  The domain can not
    be a source of synthesis because that is, by definition, a
    descendent node (of the closest encloser) and a zone apex is
    at the top of the zone.

    Although a wild card wildcard domain name owning an SOA RRSet can never
    be a source of synthesis, there is no reason to forbid the
    ownership of an SOA RRSet.

    E.g., given this zone:
           $ORIGIN *.example.
           @                 3600 IN  SOA   <SOA RDATA>
                             3600     NS    ns1.example.com.
                             3600     NS    ns1.example.net.
           www               3600     TXT   "the www txt record"

    A query for www.*.example.'s TXT record would still find the
    "the www txt record" answer.  The asterisk label only becomes
    significant when section 4.3.2, step 3 part 'c' is in effect.

    Of course, there would need to be a delegation in the parent
    zone, "example." for this to work too.  This is covered in the
    next section.

4.2 NS RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    With the definition of DNSSEC [RFC4033, RFC4034, RFC4035] now
    in place, the semantics of a wild card wildcard domain name owning an
    NS RRSet has come to be poorly defined.  The dilemma relates to
    a conflict between the rules for synthesis in part 'c' and the
    fact that the resulting synthesis generates a record for which
    the zone is not authoritative.  In a DNSSEC signed zone, the
    mechanics of signature management (generation and inclusion
    in a message) have become unclear.

    Salient points of the working group discussion on this topic is
    summarized in section 4.2.1.

    As a result of these discussion, there is no definition given for
      wild card
    wildcard domain names owning an NS RRSet.  The semantics are
    left undefined until there is a clear need to have a set defined,
    and until there is a clear direction to proceed.  Operationally,
    inclusion of wild card wildcard NS RRSets in a zone is discouraged, but
    not barred.

4.2.1 Discarded Notions

    Prior to DNSSEC, a wild card wildcard domain name owning a NS RRSet
    appeared to be workable, and there are some instances in which
    it is found in deployments using implementations that support
    this.  Continuing to allow this in the specification is not
    tenable with DNSSEC.  The reason is that the synthesis of the
    NS RRSet is being done in a zone that has delegated away the
    responsibility for the name.  This "unauthorized" synthesis is
    not a problem for the base DNS protocol, but DNSSEC, in affirming
    the authorization model for DNS exposes the problem.

    Outright banning of wildcards of type NS is also untenable as
    the DNS protocol does not define how to handle "illegal" data.
    Implementations may choose not to load a zone, but there is no
    protocol definition.  The lack of the definition is complicated
    by having to cover dynamic update [RFC 2136], zone transfers,
    as well as loading at the master server.  The case of a client
    (resolver, caching server) getting a wildcard of type NS in
    a reply would also have to be considered.

    Given the daunting challenge of a complete definition of how to
    ban such records, dealing with existing implementations that
    permit the records today is a further complication.  There are
    uses of wild card wildcard domain name owning NS RRSets.

    One compromise proposed would have redefined wildcards of type
    NS to not be used in synthesis, this compromise fell apart
    because it would have required significant edits to the DNSSEC
    signing and validation work.  (Again, DNSSEC catches
    unauthorized data.)

    With no clear consensus forming on the solution to this dilemma,
    and the realization that wildcards of type NS are a rarity in
    operations, the best course of action is to leave this open-ended
    until "it matters."

4.3 CNAME RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    The issue of a CNAME RRSet owned by a wild card wildcard domain name has
    prompted a suggested change to the last paragraph of step 3c of
    the algorithm in 4.3.2.  The changed text appears in section
    3.3.3 of this document.

4.4 DNAME RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    Ownership of a DNAME [RFC2672] RRSet by a wild card wildcard domain name
    represents a threat to the coherency of the DNS and is to be
    avoided or outright rejected.  Such a DNAME RRSet represents
    non-deterministic synthesis of rules fed to different caches.
    As caches are fed the different rules (in an unpredictable
    manner) the caches will cease to be coherent.  ("As caches
    are fed" refers to the storage in a cache of records obtained
    in responses by recursive or iterative servers.)

    For example, assume one cache, responding to a recursive
    request, obtains the record:
       "a.b.example. DNAME foo.bar.example.net."
    and another cache obtains:
       "b.example.  DNAME foo.bar.example.net."
    both generated from the record:
       "*.example. DNAME foo.bar.example.net."
    by an authoritative server.

    The DNAME specification is not clear on whether DNAME records
    in a cache are used to rewrite queries.  In some interpretations,
    the rewrite occurs, in some, it is not.  Allowing for the
    occurrence of rewriting, queries for "sub.a.b.example. A" may
    be rewritten as "sub.foo.bar.tld. A" by the former caching
    server and may be rewritten as "sub.a.foo.bar.tld. A" by the
    latter.  Coherency is lost, an operational nightmare ensues.

    Another justification for banning or avoiding a recommendation to avoid the use of
    wildcard DNAME records is the observation that such a record
    could synthesize a DNAME owned by "sub.foo.bar.example." and
    "foo.bar.example."  There is a restriction in the DNAME
    definition that no domain exist below a DNAME-owning domain,
    hence, the wildcard DNAME is not to be permitted. avoided.

4.5 SRV RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    The definition of the SRV RRset is RFC 2782 [RFC2782].  In the
    definition of the record, there is some confusion over the term
    "Name."  The definition reads as follows:

# The format of the SRV RR
#    _Service._Proto.Name TTL Class SRV Priority Weight Port Target
#  Name
#   The domain this RR refers to.  The SRV RR is unique in that the
#   name one searches for is not this name; the example near the end
#   shows this clearly.

    Do not confuse the definition "Name" with the owner name.  I.e.,
    once removing the _Service and _Proto labels from the owner name
    of the SRV RRSet, what remains could be a wild card wildcard domain name
    but this is immaterial to the SRV RRSet.

    E.g.,  If an SRV record is:
       _foo._udp.*.example. 10800 IN SRV 0 1 9 old-slow-box.example.

    *.example is a wild card wildcard domain name and although it is the Name
    of the SRV RR, it is not the owner (domain name).  The owner
    domain name is "_foo._udp.*.example." which is not a wild card wildcard
    domain name.

    A query for the SRV RRSet of "_foo._udp.bar.example." (class IN),
    will result in a match of the name "*.example." (assuming there
    is no bar.example.) and not a match of the SRV record shown.  If
    there is no SRV RRSet at "*.example." the answer section will
    reflect that (be empty or a CNAME RRset).

    The confusion is likely based on the mixture of the specification
    of the SRV RR and the description of a "use case."

4.6 DS RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    A DS RRSet owned by a wild card wildcard domain name is meaningless and
    harmless.  This statement is made in the context that an NS RRSet
    at a wild card wildcard domain name is undefined.  At a non-delegation
    point, a DS RRSet has no value (no corresponding DNSKEY RRSet
    will be used in DNSSEC validation).  If there is a synthesized
    DS RRSet, it alone will not be very useful as it exists in the
    context of a delegation point.

4.7 NSEC RRSet at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

      Wild card

    Wildcard domain names in DNSSEC signed zones will have an NSEC
    RRSet.  Synthesis of these records will only occur when the
    query exactly matches the record.  Synthesized NSEC RR's will not
    be harmful as they will never be used in negative caching or to
    generate a negative response.  [RFC2308]

4.8 RRSIG at a Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    RRSIG records will be present at a wild card wildcard domain name in a
    signed zone, and will be synthesized along with data sought in a
    query.  The fact that the owner name is synthesized is not a
    problem as the label count in the RRSIG will instruct the
    verifying code to ignore it.

4.9 Empty Non-terminal Wild Card Wildcard Domain Name

    If a source of synthesis is an empty non-terminal, then the
    response will be one of no error in the return code and no RRSet
    in the answer section.

5. Security Considerations

    This document is refining the specifications to make it more
    likely that security can be added to DNS.  No functional
    additions are being made, just refining what is considered
    proper to allow the DNS, security of the DNS, and extending
    the DNS to be more predictable.

6. IANA Considerations


7. References

    Normative References

    [RFC20]   ASCII Format for Network Interchange, V.G. Cerf,
    [RFC1034] Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities,
              P.V. Mockapetris, Nov-01-1987

    [RFC1035] Domain Names - Implementation and Specification, P.V
              Mockapetris, Nov-01-1987

    [RFC1995] Incremental Zone Transfer in DNS, M. Ohta, August 1996

    [RFC2119] Key Words for Use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
              Levels, S Bradner, March 1997

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

    [RFC2672] Non-Terminal DNS Name Redirection, M. Crawford,
              August 1999.

    [RFC2782] A DNS RR for specifying the location of services (DNS
              SRV), A. Gulbrandsen, et.al., February 2000

    [RFC3978] IETF Rights in Contributions, S. Bradner, March 2005

    [RFC4033] DNS Security Introduction and Requirements, R. Arends,
              et.al., March 2005

    [RFC4034] Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions,
              R. Arends, et.al., March 2005

    [RFC4035] Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security Extensions,
              R. Arends, et.al., March 2005

    Informative References

    [RFC2136] Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE),
              P. Vixie, Ed., S. Thomson, Y. Rekhter, J. Bound,
              April 1997

8. Editor

         Name:         Edward Lewis
         Affiliation:  NeuStar
         Address:      46000 Center Oak Plaza, Sterling, VA, 20166, US
         Phone:        +1-571-434-5468
         Email:        ed.lewis@neustar.biz

    As required by law, as stated in RFC 3978, Section 3.4,
    subsection a [RFC3978], this section comprises an
    "Authors Section."

    Comments on this document can be sent to the editor or the mailing
    list for the DNSEXT WG, namedroppers@ops.ietf.org.

9. Others Contributing to the Document

    This document represents the work of a large working group.  The
    editor merely recorded the its collective wisdom of the working group. wisdom.

    As required by law, as stated in RFC 3978, Section 3.4,
    subsection a [RFC3978], this section comprises an
    "Acknowledgements Section."

10. Trailing Boilerplate

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