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Towards forensic analysis of attacks with DNSSEC

: Shulman, Haya; Waidner, Michael


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-; IEEE Computer Society:
IEEE Security and Privacy Workshops, SPW 2014 : 17-18 May 2014, San Jose, California, USA; Proceedings, co-located with the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4799-5104-8
ISBN: 978-1-4799-5103-1
Security and Privacy Workshop (SPW) <2014, San Jose/Calif.>
Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP) <35, 2014, San Jose/Calif.>
International Workshop on Cyber Crime (IWCC) <2014, San Jose/Calif.>
Fraunhofer SIT ()

DNS cache poisoning is a stepping stone towards advanced (cyber) attacks, and can be used to monitor users' activities, for censorship, to distribute malware and spam, and even to subvert correctness and availability of Internet networks and services. The DNS infrastructure relies on challenge-response defences, which are deemed effective for thwarting attacks by (the common) off-path adversaries. Such defences do not suffice against stronger adversaries, e.g., man-in-the-middle (MitM). However, there seems to be little willingness to adopt systematic, cryptographic mechanisms, since stronger adversaries are not believed to be common. In this work we validate this assumption and show that it is imprecise. In particular, we demonstrate that: (1) attackers can frequently obtain MitM capabilities, and (2) even weaker attackers can subvert DNS security. Indeed, as we show, despite wide adoption of challenge-response defences, cache-poisoning attacks against DNS infrastructure are highly prevalent. We evaluate security of domain registrars and name servers, experimentally, and find vulnerabilities, which expose DNS infrastructure to cache poisoning. We review DNSSEC, the defence against DNS cache poisoning, and argue that, not only it is the most suitable mechanism for preventing cache poisoning attacks, but it is also the only proposed defence that enables a-posteriori forensic analysis of attacks. Specifically, DNSSEC provides cryptographic evidences, which can be presented to, and validated by, any third party and can be used in investigations and for detection of attacks eve n long after the attack took place.