Securing the Domain

With DNSSEC we can digitally sign our domain records. Third parties can’t censor our content or point our services to other servers, without anyone noticing. Another benefit is, securing services with TLS keys and certificates, without the need of a certificate authority. Also SSH public keys no longer need to be distributed as files, as the key can be verified with DNSSEC secured DNS records.

While DNSSEC is usually complicated, hard to implement and manage, PowerDNS has made it as easy as possible. See the PowerDNS DNSSEC documentation for complete coverage.

Introduction

Keys used by DNSSEC

All the keys used for DNSSEC are public/private key pairs, aka asynchronous keys.

Key

Description

Key Signing Key (KSK)

Used to sign the zone signing key (ZSK).

Zone Signing Key (ZSK)

Used to sign DNS resource records for a zone.

Common Signing Key (CSK)

I wish I knew.

Record Types used by DNSSEC

Type

Description

DS

Delegation Signer

DNSKEY

Domain Name Signing Public Key

RRSIG

Resource Record Signature

CDNS

Child Copy of DNSKEY

CDS

Child Copy of DS

NSEC

Signature for a non-existing (NXDOMAIN) record

NSEC3

Signature of a hashed NXDOMAIN record

NSEC3PARAM

Parameters used for hashing and signing NXDOMAIN records

The DS record is published by the parent zone, this record authorizes a KSK in the child zone to sign the ZSK of the child zone.

The DNSKEY is used by the child zone to publish any public keys it uses for signing. KSK or ZSK.

RRSIG records are used to publish the signatures of any DNS records.

CDNS and CDS records are published by a child zone during key roll-over. They inform the parent zone about all the keys in use, so that the parent can update its DS (delegation signer) records for the child.

Cryptographic Algorithms

The key pairs can be created using one of the following cryptographic algorithms. The each have a number (defined and managed by IANA). The number then is used in DNS records to identify the key and use the correct algorithms when calculating proof of a signature.

Public Key Algorithm

Nr.

Status

RSAMD5

1

Forbidden

DSA

3

Optional

RSASHA1

5

Mandatory

RSASHA256

8

Recommended

RSASHA1-NSEC3-SHA1

6

Recommended

RSASHA512

10

Recommended

ECC-GOST

12

Optional

ECDSAP256SHA256

13

Recommended

ECDSAP384SHA384

14

Recommended

ED25519

15

Optional

ED448

16

Optional

See RFC 6944.

See DNS Security Algorithm Numbers

Digest Algorithms

Digest Algorithm

Nr.

Status

SHA-1

1

Mandatory

SHA-256

2

Mandatory

GOST R 34.11-94

3

Optional

SHA-384

4

Optional

See Delegation Signer (DS) Resource Record (RR) Type Digest Algorithms

Secure Entry Points

Flag

Meaning

256

Only allowed to sign anything if signed by a key with the SEP flag.

257

Authorized by the parent zone DS record to sign anything in the child zone.

DNSSEC and Time-To-Live

Every record returned in answers from DNS servers has a time-to-live (TTL) value. The tell a client how long a record can be cached, so we don’t have to ask every time we need the same information again.

Typical TTL values for DNS hosts range from one week (86400 seconds) down to five minutes (300 seconds) i.e. for dynamic IPs who might change anytime.

In non-DNSSEC records these are fixed values. The client does not know when the record was created. He just gets the permission to cache it for the said number of seconds, regardless how old the record already was when he asked for it. After expiration the record will be retrieved again by the resolver if needed, regardless if it changed or not.

The authoritative server does not need to do anything, as long a the record does not change.

With DNSSEC things are different. The signatures have fixed time periods in which they are valid. I.e. the signature for the SOA record of example.net is valid exactly from January 2nd at 16:52:12 (20180102162512) until January the 23rd at 13:48:22 (20180123134822).

The records must be re-signed by the authoritative server before they expire or they will not be accepted anymore by resolvers with DNSSEC support.

The DS Record

E.g.:

# dig +multiline example.net. DS

; <<>> DiG 9.10.3-P4-Ubuntu <<>> +multiline example.net. DS
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 33503
;; flags: qr rd ra ad; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 6, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4096
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;example.net.       IN DS

;; ANSWER SECTION:
example.net.        33698 IN DS 61250 8 1 (
                EBF5191249B08ADBA60DC57DE26F8D530FE5D17D )
example.net.        33698 IN DS 31589 8 2 (
                5A9EAEFC7CC7D6946E1D106418427D272D406B835BA9
                EA0219DFBD3974A54A81 )
example.net.        33698 IN DS 31589 8 1 (
                628FCA4806B2E475DA9FD97A1FB57B7E26F8494C )
example.net.        33698 IN DS 54761 8 2 (
                9FDE7678F418E724ACE98537E0EAD92BB96B3109072D
                076A117492DB708CE238 )
example.net.        33698 IN DS 54761 8 1 (
                2B45E49265B30032497E0D61D259F4ACF821A5A0 )
example.net.        33698 IN DS 61250 8 2 (
                984E001501B50F8D7B73935E12A0B15E9DCE5498F088
                5C3C6193B4DCB8DDAD36 )

;; Query time: 0 msec
;; SERVER: 172.20.10.43#53(172.20.10.43)
;; WHEN: Sat Jan 06 11:31:16 CET 2018
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 292

The structure of a DS record is as follows:

Field

Example

Description

Key Tag

61250

Identifies the key across parent and child zones.

Algorithm

8

Which type of key (algorithm) the child key is using.

Digest Type

1

Identifies the digest algorithm used by the parent.

Digest

EBF5…D17D

The digest of the child’s public key.

The digest is calculated by concatenating the domain name and the rdata portion of the zone’s DNSKEY record (flags, protocol, algorithm, and public key), and hashing the result with the algorithm.

The DNSKEY records

Contains the public key of either a KSK or a ZSK:

$ dig +multiline example.net. DNSKEY

; <<>> DiG 9.10.3-P4-Ubuntu <<>> +multiline example.net. DNSKEY
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 50414
;; flags: qr rd ra ad; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 3, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4096
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;example.net.       IN DNSKEY

;; ANSWER SECTION:
example.net.        900 IN DNSKEY 257 3 8 (
                AwEAAcSvBHUuazPyycexMEFH9+oQoJXAugbelISqKM0e
                Qv4jPsp1qws6+rs6mpBgxwE6bOqOqAUDnXqkjPiLE8st
                Q6l2r1jCN/Ad8N+tOqCPMIG93RE233PKm3hDK1KoLEmR
                9us2vRfkM1H/tt0UuL/4RoVdUCHH8jcp9tueMQzQG4RO
                nE/HctTb+WR/zBFa+GjGdoQGdjasr5CDrXvImipyG9fJ
                ZQ+wNtAzjMpl2dR2oJERE9HFnv52GblveqAZcw3HqCn2
                MsF8QKOFcPEXVk1lOtaqb0bBqftLEuoNysbYcKoXOO4Z
                nKcxPB+bHoeHTWSvz5XSoCwulwE15xJ/GrA1rrk=
                ) ; KSK; alg = RSASHA256; key id = 61250
example.net.        900 IN DNSKEY 256 3 8 (
                AwEAAZ/9wpQpBVsh1WLWtgOewqesLtZLV1nOgle7OmKs
                aPSX4gFEWP3znBXICNsuFAaOY0JYZKO6A7Pip+6cmwiR
                A34mr5Xk3XNtTPMfoT55D1qE/l8zMHBspEgulIFPSBPc
                WQpXTkxQKIpYzn4yhak7BKBOm8I0AFDHlehtdf8qys9t
                ) ; ZSK; alg = RSASHA256; key id = 17491
example.net.        900 IN DNSKEY 257 3 8 (
                AwEAAbMqsFTYoin5LDKjSo0Ix0nj29adzS97t2n3QImu
                svDp8llLbKmG3wVX99FbLL232oVfvL1QgP3Uqa88yxrJ
                iwJ+BxT5SWaU0kFbfEvLlAIwkcp8fIpZPiPLo0tXXFu7
                h0LtXWUYMei1Q4wzxVaxTAWBuDnbUM+g629FeI9052lQ
                DYpSa32CzDRXLXJ23hR2lNRecCnTXw+kudfL3oxUTUKi
                Ijjf0zDcoa3G0TCogMhgXnJJ32havw+u3HevDLLQq5hk
                KTR55Ymr8bagm7N0V8ZAxvnCG5ix9SFLvjG/7BQUEOgI
                eeyoZoTGGkeFEA2Hs+j8BNPXwML+ETlYsgeaAwc=
                ) ; KSK; alg = RSASHA256; key id = 51916

;; Query time: 14 msec
;; SERVER: 127.0.0.1#53(172.20.10.43)
;; WHEN: Sat Jan 06 11:26:45 CET 2018
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 740

The structure of a DNSKEY record is as follows:

Field

Example

Description

Flags

256

Zone key and secure entry point (SEP) flags.

Protocol

3

Always 3

Algorithm

8

The public key algorithm used to create the key.

Public Key

AwEA…ys9t

The full public key.

DNSKEY Flags

Bit

Flag

0 - 6

Reserved

7

Zone Key Flag

8 - 14

Reserved

15

Secure Entry Point (SEP) Flag

16

Reserved

Flag Bits

Flag Bits Values

Decimal Value

Description

000000000000000

0

Key is neither a zone key nor a secure entry point.

000000000000001

1

Key is not a zone key but is a secure entry point.

000000100000000

256

Key is a zone key but not a secure entry point.

000000100000001

257

Key is a zone key and a secure entry point.

The RRSIG record

The signatures of DNS answers to queries are not displayed by default. Use the +dnssec option to make them visible:

$ dig +multiline +dnssec example.net. SOA

; <<>> DiG 9.10.3-P4-Ubuntu <<>> +multiline +dnssec example.net. SOA
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 5858
;; flags: qr rd ra ad; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:
; EDNS: version: 0, flags: do; udp: 4096
;; QUESTION SECTION:
;example.net.       IN SOA

;; ANSWER SECTION:
example.net.        3588 IN SOA sns.dns.icann.org. noc.dns.icann.org. (
                2017120519 ; serial
                7200       ; refresh (2 hours)
                3600       ; retry (1 hour)
                1209600    ; expire (2 weeks)
                3600       ; minimum (1 hour)
                )
example.net.        3588 IN RRSIG SOA 8 2 3600 (
                20180123134822 20180102162512 17491 example.net.
                bfE6eVnjxMcX/UH2rzc7HRZ1DwetaTVseDeMVUQEAwno
                ioWhGnsHxaXs6pA7btGEC9ZIZ3PgUiexL1fWxOU4p049
                3dy1wkkUrmEj22viN/cj0S1DhhP2x/8ROqpG+L4Rhovx
                BtvD3H+uOeVGRIXQ781UiXL4po/ti7AdFDSf49I= )

;; Query time: 0 msec
;; SERVER: 127.0.0.1#53(172.20.10.43)
;; WHEN: Sat Jan 06 12:02:54 CET 2018
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 268

The structure of a RRSIG record is as follows:

Field

Example

Description

Original Type

SOA

The type of record that has been signed.

Algorithm

8

The algorithm used for signing

Number of Labels

2

If the answer was formed from a wildcard record.

Original TTL

3600

The time-to-live of the signed record.

Signature Expiration

20180123134822

The expiration time of the signature.

Signature Inception

20180102162512

The time when the record was signed.

Key Tag

17491

The key-tag of the key used for signing.

Name of Signer

example.net.

The name of the zone who signed the record.

Signature

bfE6…49I=

The signature.

Number of Labels

Wildcard records need special handling during verification.

Lets assume the zone has a wildcard record of *.example.net and we ask for the IP address of books.example.net.

The server will return the IP address as A record along with signature for its record *.example.net.

Without DNSSEC the client does not even have to know if the answer was formed out of a wildcard record. But with DNSSEC if it tries to validate the answer books.example.net with the signature for *.example.net the validation fails.

To resolve this problem the “number of labels” field is used. If the number of labels has a value which is the same as we have asked for, its a normal existing record.

In the case of our example we asked for a domain name consisting of three parts: books, example and net.

  • If the “Number of Labels” has a value of 3, the client knows he can validate the signature normally using the host names he asked for.

  • If the “Number of Labels” has value of less, lets say “2”, the client will validate the signature against the *.example.net and not against what he asked for.

Child Copy of DNSKEY (CDNS) Record

Child copy of DNSKEY record, for transfer to parent.

Child Copy of DS (CDS) Record

Child copy of DS record, for transfer to parent

Pre-Requisites

Domain Meta-Data

Note

Some of the following changes will tell PowerDNS to manage the SOA serial number automatically. The serial stored in the database may therefore no longer be relevant. Always check the serial by doing a SOA query on your DNS server like $ dig @192.0.2.41 SOA example.net and not a lookup in the database or your front-end.

The MySQL table domainmetadata in the PowerDNS database is used to store domain-specific configuration settings.

While some things work without it, it is needed for some slave server related configurations and for DNSSEC purposes.

Unfortunately ~`none of the usage friendly front-ends support this features until today`~, so we have to use some SQL-Fu to set our options:

$ mysql -u root -p pdns

All these domain-specific options are described in the PowerDNS Manual in Chapter 15. Per zone settings aka Domain Metadata

 -- Automatically increment the SOA serial number after DNSSEC signatures
 -- have been refreshed.  Avoids slaves to server DNS records with expired
 -- signatures.
 INSERT INTO `domainmetadata` (
     `domain_id`,
     `kind`, `content`
     ) VALUES (
         (SELECT id from domains where name='example.net'),
         'SOA-EDIT', 'INCEPTION-INCREMENT'
         );

 -- Automatically increment the SOA serial number after changes made trough
 -- API calls or signatures have been refreshed. Avoids slaves to server DNS
 -- records with expired signatures.
INSERT INTO `domainmetadata` (
     `domain_id`,
     `kind`, `content`
     ) VALUES (
         (SELECT id from domains where name='example.net'),
         'SOA-EDIT-API', 'INCEPTION-INCREMENT'
         );

 -- Automatically rectify zone (as needed by DNSSEC for NSEC/NSEC3)
 -- after any changes made trough API calls.
 INSERT INTO `domainmetadata` (
     `domain_id`,
     `kind`, `content`
     ) VALUES (
         (SELECT id from domains where name='example.net'),
         'API-RECTIFY', '1'
         );

 -- Allow all slaves to request AXFR zone transfers
 INSERT INTO `domainmetadata` (
     `domain_id`,
     `kind`, `content`
     ) VALUES (
         (SELECT id from domains where name='example.net'),
         'ALLOW-AXFR-FROM', 'AUTO-NS'
         );

To get a list of all your domains meta-data:

SELECT domains.name AS Domain, kind AS Option, content AS Value
    FROM domainmetadata
    LEFT JOIN domains ON domainmetadata.domain_id = domains.id
    ORDER BY Domain, Option, Value ASC;

Domain

Option

Value

example.net

ALLOW-AXFR-FROM

AUTO-NS

example.net

API-RECTIFY

1

example.net

SOA-EDIT

INCEPTION-INCREMENT

example.net

SOA-EDIT-API

INCEPTION-INCREMENT

example.org

ALLOW-AXFR-FROM

AUTO-NS

example.org

API-RECTIFY

1

example.org

SOA-EDIT

INCEPTION-INCREMENT

example.org

SOA-EDIT-API

INCEPTION-INCREMENT

Securing a Zone

Key Generation

The commandline tool pdnssec takes care of all the complicated tasks.

To configures the zone example.net with reasonable DNSSEC settings:

$ sudo pdnssec secure-zone example.net
Securing zone with rsasha256 algorithm with default key size
Zone example.net secured
Adding NSEC ordering information

Calculates the ‘ordername’ and ‘auth’ fields for the zone so they comply with DNSSEC settings:

$ sudo pdnssec rectify-zone example.net

Can be used to fix up migrated data. Can always safely be run, it does no harm. Its advised to run this command on every hosted zone, whether they are secured with DNSSEC or not, to keep the whole database clean:

$ sudo pdnssec rectify-all-zones

Publishing

After the zone has been secured, we can tell the world about it. This is done, by publishing our DS key with our domain registrar.

To get the DS key information:

$ sudo pdnssec show-zone exmaple.com

The command will display a bunch of keys.

In oder to setup DNSEC at your registrar, he will ask you to provide the following information:

  1. Key Tag: Found on the first line of the output. tag = nnn. The tag is a number between 0 and 65,535.

  2. Algorithm: Select algo = 8 or RSA-SHA256.

  3. Digest Type: Refers to one of the long lines starting with DS = example.net IN DS 31085 8. Select number 2 for the preferred SHA256 digest.

  4. Digest: The long digest string, as displayed.

To check whether the domain is now offcially DNSSEC enabled:

$ whois exmaple.com | grep DNSSEC
DNSSEC:signedDelegation

Updating Slaves

Our other DNS slave servers don’t know anything about all of this yet, as PowerDNS will sign DNS records only when he is asked for such a record.

The procedure also did not update the serial number, therefore the slaves don’t know that now would be a good time to ask for updates.

By increasing the serial-number we trick PowerDNS to notify all slaves to get a fresh copy of all our domain records.

When the slave servers receive the update-notification, they will in turn ask for all records in our domain, by requesting a zone-transfer from our server.

PowerDNS digitally signs every record, during the zone-transfer. Slave servers then get signed copies of all records.

To increase the serial number and trigger the update:

$ sudo pdnssec increase-serial example.net

Operations

Algorithm Roll-over

Note

DNSSEC algorithm roll-overs are in many ways similar to normal roll-overs, but with these two caveats:

  • The KSK and ZSK should be rolled at the same time;

  • The old ZSK cannot be withdrawn until the KSK roll-over is complete.

The following procedure should only be be used if a algorithm is considered weak or attacks have been published.

Lets assume that up to today our domain example.net has been signed with the RSASHA1 algorithm which is considered weak today.

From now on our domain records should be signed with ECDSA keys, p-256 elliptic curve cryptography and SHA-256 digest algorithms.

  1. Create a new key-pair with the new algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256 to be used as KSK, but leave it as inactive for now. Also don’t publish the public key anywhere yet.

  2. Create a new key-pair with the new algorithm ECDSAP256SHA256 to be used as ZSK. This one can be activated, so that our zone is getting populated with new signatures using the new algorithm, alongside the old one which also remains active.

  3. Look for the record with highest TTL in your zone. Double that time to wait for the next step. This is to make sure the signatures with the new algorithms are populated everywhere in caches.

  4. After the wait activate the new KSK generated earlier but not activated.

  5. Communicate the new KSK to your registrar and wait for DS delegation records to appear.

  6. Wait for the SOA TTL to expire. This is to make sure all caches picked up you new KSK therefore are able to verify the new signatures.

  7. Let your registrar remove the old KSK.

  8. Wait for the DS TTL of your parent to expire. This is to make sure all caches know that the old KSK is no longer usable for verification.

  9. Deactivate and remove the old ZSK from your zone.

Scheduled KSK Roll⁻Over

The following procedure should be used for the planned roll-over once a year.

A KSK roll-over requires a new public key transmitted to the registrar.

  1. Create a new KSK key/pair.

  2. Activate the key so zone signing keys (ZSK) will be signed by both the new and old KSK during the transition period.

  3. Make sure all records are re-signed and all slaves have picked the changes.

  4. Provide the public key to the registrar of the domain.

  5. Wait for publication of new DS records in the parent domain.

  6. Wait for the domains cache time (TTL in the SOA record) is over.

  7. De-activate the old KSK.

Emergency KSK Roll-Over

This procedure should be followed when ever an emergency roll-over needs to take place (e.g. a suspected key compromise).

Backup Domain Keys

A DNSSEC zone uses one or more Key signing key (KSK) and corresponding zone signing key (ZSK). Each of the ZSK and KSK has a public key and private key.

$ sudo -sH
$ mkdir -p ~/dnssec-keys
$ cd ~/dnssec-keys

List all zones (and check for errors):

$  pdnssec check-all-zones

Proceed as follows for each domain (or zone):

$ export ZONE=example.net

Show DNSSEC properties of the zone, maybe back them up too:

$ pdnssec show-zone $ZONE > $ZONE.dnssec.txt
$ cat $ZONE.dnssec.txt

Export Key Signing Keys (KSK)

Look at lines starting with “ID = <NUMBER> (KSK) …”. There is at least one active, but there might be more:

$ grep '(KSK)' $ZONE.dnssec.txt
$ export KEY_ID=<NUMBER>

Export each of these KSK private a keys:

$ pdnssec export-zone-key $ZONE $KEY_ID > ${ZONE}_ID${KEY_ID}.ksk

Export the corresponding public keys:

$ pdnssec export-zone-dnskey $ZONE $KEY_ID > ${ZONE}_ID${KEY_ID}.ksk.pub

If there are multiple KSK repeat until you have them all:

$ export KEY_ID=<NUMBER>
$ ...

Export Zone Signing Keys (ZSK)

Now repeat these steps for the KSK private and public keys:

$ grep '(ZSK)' $ZONE.dnssec.txt
$ export KEY_ID=<NUMBER>
$ pdnssec export-zone-key $ZONE $KEY_ID > ${ZONE}_ID${KEY_ID}.zsk
$ pdnssec export-zone-dnskey $ZONE $KEY_ID > ${ZONE}_ID${KEY_ID}.zsk.pub