Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fixing the holes

Like the roof on my house, the DNS has holes. A really bad DNS hole got patched earlier this year – well, mostly patched. I say “patched”, because the solution isn’t very good, it’s just dried up the worst of the problem, but the fix won’t last.

Kim Davies of IANA has written a very readable account of the problem in DNS security. It makes for scary reading. The bad guys will get control of the Internet unless we deal to this problem.

I have bitten the bullet and agreed to have a new roof on my house. Just patching the old one won’t keep the water out any more – it just comes through another place every time it rains. The DNS needs a new roof as well, and it’s called DNSSEC. It will involve lots of Internet folk in real work, but we need to get on with it.

posted by colin at 7:27 am  


  1. Who do we trust with the root keys? Should the power go to an outfit that answers to the US Commerce Department? To the UN? Who?

    Is there a way to spread the trust, so no single entity has ultimate power over it all?

    Comment by Lawrence D'Oliveiro — 19 November 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  2. Lawrence

    While these are all good questions, there is unlikely to be consensus about the answers. And just doing nothing isn’t an option. So, we need to find a way through this quickly without endless debate.


    Comment by colin — 19 November 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  3. I absolutely reject the need for haste on this. The two main killer apps on the Internet are e-mail and the Web. The Web has TLS/SSL, which protects against DNS holes. E-mail leaks like a sieve anyway, and a secure DNS isn’t going to help with that.

    Other protocols that depend on security, like SSH, also have their own protections. So where, really, is the pressing need for a secure DNS/

    Comment by Lawrence D'Oliveiro — 20 November 2008 @ 4:55 pm

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