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VeriSign builds out DNS security defences

Give me DNSSec but not just yet

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VeriSign is pushing ahead with plans to make the internet's Domain Name System (DNS) more resilient to internet attacks. But although it will make its upgraded server infrastructure IPv6 and DNSSec ready, the net infrastructure giant reckons the touted performance improvements promised by the protocols have been delivered by other means.

In the latest phase of what the firm has dubbed Project Titan, VeriSign intends to officially open up new sites in Paris and Brussels later this week. Both centres will be outfitted with proprietary security upgrades designed to make it easier to track and isolate hacking attack traffic. Tata Communications is hosting the two new sites which join the 70 other websites VeriSign runs across the world.

VeriSign, which manages the .com and .net domains, intends to deploy 100 regional internet resolution sites globally by 2010 as part of Project Titan. The roll-out is designed to increase the stability and capacity of the DNS infrastructure while boosting resolution speeds for end users. By 2010 VeriSign hopes to boost its DNS query capacity so that its systems are able to service four trillion queries a day.

Ken Silva, CTO of VeriSign, and leader of Project Titan, explained that VeriSign was adding capacity both to deal with an expanded online population and to deal with attacks.

"Hacking attacks have become more creative. They can range from basic PING flooding attacks to attacks more targeted on the DNS," Silva told El Reg. "In addition, we're seeing more attacks from mobile sources."

Silva added that VeriSign was making its infrastructure IPv6 and DNSSec ready. Both protocols have been talked about as the next big thing in networking for years without much action on the ground. IPv6 offers a far greater address space than the current Internet Protocol, IPv4. DNSSec is an IETF standard that adds cryptographic authentication and integrity checks to DNS systems.

"IPv6 is difficult to roll out onto infrastructures but we're prepared for when people get there. In the case of DNSSec, the security threats it was designed to address have been mitigated by changes to DNS software or in other ways, so the urgency is not there," Silva explained. ®

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