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80% of fed sites miss DNS Security deadline

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The vast majority of US federal agencies have failed to meet a December 31 deadline to deploy new technology that would make it significantly harder for attackers to spoof their websites, according to Network World.

Only 20 percent of agencies were found to have secured their addresses with the measure, which is known as DNSSEC, or DNS Security Extensions, according to the publication. The article cited a study by Domain Name System vendor Secure64, which researched 360 government agencies to see how many had digitally signed their .gov domains.

DNSSEC uses public key encryption and digital authentication to prevent the kinds of DNS cache poisoning attacks researcher Dan Kaminsky warned of in the summer of 2008. It digitally signs each step in the hierarchical DNS structure, making it significantly harder for miscreants to spoof the servers that translate domain names into numerical IP addresses.

The threat of DNS cache poisoning was lessened by changes implemented in the spring of 2008 that added more randomness to DNS queries. But the measure didn't eliminate the vulnerability. The Network World article is here. ®

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