Measuring the Practical Impact of DNSSEC Deployment

Wilson Lian, Eric Rescorla, Hovav Shacham, and Stefan Savage.

In Proceedings of USENIX Security 2013, pages 573–87. USENIX, Aug. 2013.


DNSSEC extends DNS with a public-key infrastructure, providing compatible clients with cryptographic assurance for DNS records they obtain, even in the presence of an active network attacker. As with many Internet protocol deployments, administrators deciding whether to deploy DNSSEC for their DNS zones must perform cost/benefit analysis. For some fraction of clients—those that perform DNSSEC validation—the zone will be protected from malicious hijacking. But another fraction of clients—those whose DNS resolvers are buggy and incompatible with DNSSEC—will no longer be able to connect to the zone. Deploying DNSSEC requires making a cost-benefit decision, balancing security for some users with denial of service for others.

We have performed a large-scale measurement of the effects of DNSSEC on client name resolution using an ad network to collect results from over 500,000 geographically-distributed clients. Our findings corroborate those of previous researchers in showing that a relatively small fraction of users are protected by DNSSEC-validating resolvers. And we show, for the first time, that enabling DNSSEC measurably increases end-to-end resolution failures. For every 10 clients that are protected from DNS tampering when a domain deploys DNSSEC, approximately one ordinary client (primarily in Asia) becomes unable to access the domain.



@InProceedings{LRSS13, author = {Wilson Lian and Eric Rescorla and Hovav Shacham and Stefan Savage}, title = {Measuring the Practical Impact of {DNSSEC} Deployment}, booktitle = {Proceedings of USENIX Security 2013}, pages = {573-87}, year = 2013, editor = {Sam King}, month = aug, organization = {USENIX} }

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