Feeds

DNS security improves as firms tool up to tackle spam

Configuration errors blot copybook

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Domain name servers on the net are still often vulnerable to attacks despite some marked improvements, according to a new survey.

Many organisations are making efforts to install the most recent versions of BIND and eliminate Microsoft DNS for external servers. But most still leave their systems open to denial of service and pharming attacks by allowing recursion and zone transfers in response to arbitrary requests from unauthenticated parties.

The third annual survey of domain name servers on the internet by network appliance firm Infoblox also found evidence of growing attempts to tackle spam. Infoblox's survey is based on a sample of five per cent of the IPv4 address space of nearly 80m addresses.

DNS servers are essential network infrastructure components that map domain names to IP addresses, directing internet inquiries to the appropriate location. Should an organisation’s DNS systems fail, all internet functions including email, web access, e-commerce, and extranets become unavailable.

Infoblox's survey found that the number of internet-facing DNS servers increased from 9m in 2006 to 11.5m in 2007, indicative of the overall growth of the internet. Percentage usage of the most recent and secure version of open-source domain name server software - BIND 9 - increased from 61 per cent to 65 per cent over the last year. Use of BIND 8, by contrast, dropped from 14 per cent in 2006 to 5.6 per cent this year. Usage of the Microsoft DNS Server on web-facing systems also fell, decreasing to to 2.7 per cent in 2007 from five per cent last year.

Increased efforts to combat spam, at measured by the use of SPF (Sender Policy Framework), was up from five per cent in 2006 to 12.6 per cent this year.

Against this broadly positive picture the Infoblox survey also unearthed some negative developments. Continued deployment and configuration mistakes are leaving the global DNS system vulnerable.

More than 50 per cent of internet name servers allow recursive queries, much the same as last year. Permitting recursive queries leaves systems more vulnerable to pharming attacks, which involves poisoning systems with bogus records.

The number of DNS servers that allow zone transfers in response to arbitrary requests grew from 29 per cent last year to 31 per cent in 2007. The practice leaves systems more vulnerable to denial of service attacks.

Only a practically invisible 0.002 per cent of zones tested support DNSSec, the IETF standard that adds cryptographic authentication and integrity checking to DNS systems. Infoblox reckons sysadmins remain unconvinced of the benefits of the approach, or put off by the complexity of the standard.

Infoblox's complete survey can be found here

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?