Feeds

Comcast (finally) brings security extensions to DNS

Now, if we could just lock down the roots

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comcast - one of the largest ISPs in the US - has deployed new technology designed to protect the internet against a well-known form of attack that allows attackers to surreptitiously lure end users to impostor websites.

For now, Comcast users who want to use the technology, known as DNSSEC, or DNS Security Extensions, must manually configure their preference by changing their DNS server's IP addresses to 75.75.75.75 and 75.75.76.76, Comcast said on Tuesday. By the end of next year, the ISP plans to make DNSSEC available to all of its customers.

The move came as OpenDNS, which operates publicly available domain name system servers for free, criticized DNSSEC and said it was jump starting a competing measure known as DNSCurve. OpenDNS engineer Matthew Dempsky said it uses much stronger cryptography than DNSSEC and is also much easier to deploy and maintain.

"Aside from its lack of adoption, DNSSEC isn't even a very satisfactory solution," Dempsky wrote. "It adds tremendous complexity to an already fragile protocol, significantly increases DNS traffic in size, encourages questionable security practices, and hamstrings many modern uses of DNS."

A recent survey found that only 20 percent of US government agencies had deployed DNSSEC, despite a December 31 deadline to adopt the standard. The technical imperfections of DNSSEC aside, its uneven adoption is also a major limitation because it is effective only if it is used uniformly across the internet.

DNSSEC uses public key cryptography to digitally validate that IP results returned during a DNS query point to the authentic corresponding domain name. It's designed to counter DNS cache poisoning attacks such as those developed in 2008 by researcher Dan Kaminsky.

The hierarchical system, which was first proposed 15 years ago, requires authentication at every step in the DNS process. At the moment, only two of the 13 root servers are digitally signed and many the net's top level domains still haven't deployed it. The US government in June pledged to sign the root zone it maintains, but so far netizens at large must still rely on the unsecured root for domain lookups. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.