6.033 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate
Computer System Engineering
Week 12: Security Part II

DNSSEC Assignment

Read “Security Vulnerabilities in DNS and DNSSEC (PDF)” by Suranjith Ariyapperuma and Chris Mitchell. This paper is about DNSSEC. DNS, as is, is an insecure system; DNSSEC is a proposed extension to DNS to mitigate some of the security concerns. It is not yet widespread.

  • Section 2 gives an overview of DNS. Read it if you need a refresher on the protocol, but if not, you can skip it.
  • Section 3 details some of the vulnerabilities to which DNS is open.
  • Section 4 describes DNSSEC, which addresses some of the vulnerabilities in Section 3. DNSSEC has its own problems, however, which are detailed in Section 5.

As you read, think about

  • What are the consequences for users (such as yourself) of the vulnerabilities of DNS?
  • Why must DNSSEC be backwards-compatible with DNS?
  • Why are chains of trust necessary?
  • Who should be in charge of the root key?
Questions for Recitation

Before you come to this recitation, write up (on paper) a brief answer to the following (really—we don’t need more than a couple sentences for each question). 

Your answers to these questions should be in your own words, not direct quotations from the paper.

  • From a security standpoint, what does DNSSEC provide? (e.g., confidentially, authentication, etc.)
  • How does it provide that?
  • Why is DNSSEC necessary (or is it necessary?), and why hasn’t it been fully deployed?

As always, there are multiple answers to each of these question

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Spring 2018
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