Feeds

Domain security comes to .co.uk

Will DNSSEC ever be sexy?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Nominet plans to bring a higher level of security to UK domain names within the next two weeks.

The .uk registry manager said on Thursday that it has implemented the new DNSSEC protocol in the .co.uk zone. Companies could be able to cryptographically sign their internet addresses as early as May 18.

"The signing of .co.uk was an important step in securing the .uk zone and continues the deployment of DNSSEC across all .uk zones managed by Nominet," the organisation said.

DNSSEC (domain name system security extensions) is an IETF standard that makes it harder for attackers to steal traffic by spoofing domain-name routing information.

If you own a domain name, DNSSEC means you can cryptographically sign your DNS records and therefore enable resolvers, such as ISPs, to automatically authenticate your servers' IP addresses.

Whenever a user tries to find your web site, they can be assured they're looking at the genuine article rather than an attack site – as long as their ISP and/or browser also supports the technology.

The security extensions are designed to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, in which attackers intercept and rewrite DNS traffic in order to, for example, spoof online banking sites or steal email.

The .uk domain has been signed for months, but because the UK uses second-level domains such as .co.uk and .org.uk, DNSSEC has not yet been made available to everyday domain-name owners.

With .me.uk and .co.uk now signed, Nominet's plan calls for the rest of the namespace to come online with DNSSEC support within the next two weeks. Shortly thereafter, domain registrars will be able to start offering DNSSEC services to UK businesses.

The security upgrade has also recently been rolled out in .com and .net, as well dozens of other country-code and generic top-level domains.

But DNSSEC has a chicken-and-egg problem. The kind of attacks it is designed to prevent are not particularly prevalent or well publicised, and many web folks don't see the point of upgrading, despite a few low-profile campaigns to convince people that DNSSEC is "sexy".

A signed domain is of little value unless ISPs and applications are able to validate the signatures, and few developers or ISPs have shown much interest to date. The upgrade is perceived as complex, sometimes prone to configuration errors, and potentially costly.

In March, Mozilla executives said they were reluctant to put DNSSEC into Firefox natively until they were convinced it would not cause complicated error messages for end users, causing them to switch browsers. Plug-ins do currently offer DNSSEC support, however.

A handful of early adopters have announced implementation plans. Comcast is in the process of adopting DNSSEC in all of its resolvers in the US, and Paypal said it plans to sign its domain names this year, which may be the kind of high-profile support the standard needs.

Due to its complexity, Nominet plans to launch an automated DNSSEC–signing service in July. This will enable .uk registrars to offer relatively simple signing tools to their customers. Similar "one-click" services are already available in domains such as .com and .net, usually at a premium price. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.