Category Archives: DNS/DNSSEC

Pi-hole Installation Guide

You probably know already the concept of the Pi-hole. If not: It’s a (forwarding) DNS server that you can install on your private network at home. All your clients, incl. every single smartphone, tablet, laptop, and IoT devices such as smart TVs or light bulb bridges, can use this Pi-hole service as their DNS server. Now here’s the point: it not only caches DNS entries, but blocks certain queries for hostnames that are used for ads, tracking, or even malware. That is: You don’t have to use an ad- or track-blocker on your devices (which is not feasible on smart TVs or smartphone apps, etc.), but you’re blocking this kind of sites entirely. Nice approach!

Yes, there are already some setup tutorials for the Pi-hole out there. However, it’s not only about installing the mere Pi-hole, but setting it up with your own recursive DNS server (since the default installation forwards to public DNS servers), using DNSSEC, and adding some more adlists. That’s why I am listing my installation procedure here as well. However, it’s not a complete beginners guide. You’ll need some basic Linux know-how.

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DNS Capture – The Records Edition

Some time ago I published a post called DNS Test Names & Resource Records which lists many different FQDNs with lots of different RRs. You can use those public available DNS names to test your DNS servers or the like. However, I was missing a packet capture showing all these resource records as they appear on the wire. So now, here it is. If you are searching for some packets to test your tools for whatever reason, feel free to download this pcap.

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Dive into delv: DNSSEC Validation

If you’re into DNSSEC, you’ll probably have to troubleshoot or at least to verify it. While there are some good online tools such as DNSViz, there is also a command-line tool to test DNSSEC signatures onsite: delv.

delv will send to a specified name server all queries needed to fetch and validate the requested data; this includes the original requested query, subsequent queries to follow CNAME or DNAME chains, and queries for DNSKEY, DS and DLV records to establish a chain of trust for DNSSEC validation. It does not perform iterative resolution, but simulates the behavior of a name server configured for DNSSEC validating and forwarding.

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DNS Capture: UDP, TCP, IP-Fragmentation, EDNS, ECS, Cookie

It’s not always this simple DNS thing such as “single query – single answer, both via UDP”. Sometimes you have some more options or bigger messages that look and behave differently on the network. For example: IP fragmentation for larger DNS answers that do not fit into a single UDP datagram (hopefully not after the DNS flag day 2020 anymore), or DNS via TCP, or some newer options within the EDNS space such as “EDNS Client Subnet” (ECS) or DNS cookies.

I won’t explain any details about those options, but I am publishing a pcap with that kind of packets along with some Wireshark screenshots. Feel free to dig into it.

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Infoblox Failover Debacle (Works as Designed)

What failover times do you expect from a network security device that claims to have high availability? 1 ms? Or at least <1 second? Not so for a fully featured Infoblox HA cluster which takes about 1-2 minutes, depending on its configuration. Yep. “Works as designed”. Ouch. Some details:

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Single DNS Query – Hundreds of Packets

I was interested in how a recursive DNS server resolves DNS queries in detail. That is, not only the mere AAAA or A record, but also DNSSEC keys and signatures, the authority and additional section when testing with dig , and so on. For this I made two simple DNS queries to my recursive DNS server which resulted in more than 100 DNS packets at all. Wow.

In the following I am publishing a downloadable pcap so that you can analyse it by yourself. Furthermore I am showing some listings and screenshots to get an idea of the DNS resolution process.

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Signed DNS Zone with too long-living TTLs

Implementing DNSSEC for a couple of years now while playing with many different DNS options such as TTL values, I came around an error message from DNSViz pointing to possible problems when the TTL of a signed resource record is longer than the lifetime of the DNSSEC signature itself. Since I was not fully aware of this (and because I did not run into a real error over the last years) I wanted to test it more precisely.

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DNSSEC KSK Emergency Rollover

In my last blogpost I showed how to perform a DNSSEC KSK rollover. I did it quite slowly and carefully. This time I am looking into an emergency rollover of the KSK. That is: What to do if your KSK is compromised and you must replace it IMMEDIATELY.

I am listing the procedures and commands I used to replace the KSK of my delegated subdomain with BIND. And as you might already suggest it, I am showing DNSViz graphs after every step since it greatly reveals the current DNSKEYs etc.

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DNSSEC KSK Key Rollover

Probably the most crucial part in a DNSSEC environment is the maintenance of the key-signing key, the KSK. You should rollover this key on a regular basis, though not that often as the zone signing keys, the ZSKs. I am doing a KSK rollover every 2 years.

In the following I will describe the two existing methods for a KSK rollover along with a step-by-step guide how I performed such a rollover for my zone “”. Of course again with many graphics from DNSViz (with “redundant edges”) that easily reveal the keys and signatures at a glance.

Note that this blogpost is NOT about the Root Zone KSK Rollover that appears in 2017/2018. It is merely about your OWN zone that is secured via DNSSEC.

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Generating SSHFP Records Remotely

Until now I generated all SSHFP resource records on the SSH destination server itself via ssh-keygen -r <name>. This is quite easy when you already have an SSH connection to a standard Linux system. But when connecting to third party products such as routers, firewalls, whatever appliances, you don’t have this option. Hence I searched and found a way to generate SSHFP resource records remotely. Here we go:

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SSHFP: FQDN vs. Domain Search/DNS-Suffix

This is actually a bad user experience problem: To generally omit the manual verification of SSH key fingerprints I am using SSHFP. With fully qualified domain names (FQDN) as the hostname for SSH connections such as ssh this works perfectly. However, admins are lazy and only use the hostname without the domain suffix to connect to their servers since the domain search does the rest: ssh nb10. Not so for SSHFP which fails since the default OpenSSH client does not use canonicalization for its DNS queries. Hence you must explicitly enable canonicalization for OpenSSH.

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I am intensely using the SSH Public Key Fingerprint (SSHFP, RFC 4255) in all of my environments. Since my zones are secured via DNSSEC I got rid of any “authenticity of host ‘xyz’ can’t be established” problems. As long as I am using my central jump host with OpenSSH and the “VerifyHostKeyDNS yes” option I can securely login into any of my servers without any warnings. Great!

However, I encountered a couple of daily problems when using SSHFP. One of them was the question whether SSHFP works behind CNAMEs, that is, when connecting to an  alias. Short answer: yes. Some more details here:

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Benchmarking DNS: namebench & dnseval

If you’re running your own DNS resolver you’re probably interested in some benchmark tests against it, such as: how fast does my own server (read: Raspberry Pi) answer to common DNS queries compared to

In this blogpost I am showing how to use two tools for testing/benchmarking DNS resolvers: namebench & dnseval. I am listing the defaults, giving some hints about them and showing examples in which I tested some private and public DNS resolvers: a Fritzbox router, a Raspberry Pi with Unbound, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Google Public DNS.

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All-in-One DNS Tool: Domain Analyzer

Just a quick glance at the domain_analyzer script from Sebastián García and Verónica Valeros. “Domain analyzer is a security analysis tool which automatically discovers and reports information about the given domain. Its main purpose is to analyze domains in an unattended way.” Nice one. If you’re running your own DNS servers you should check e.g. whether your firewall rules are correct (scanned with Nmap) or whether you’re not allowing zone transfer, etc.

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