Feeds

Comcast (finally) brings security extensions to DNS

Now, if we could just lock down the roots

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.