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Open DNS - Bad Idea

Security and Paranoia. We sometimes get the two concepts a little mixed up. Some folks get up-tight about allowing AXFR of their zones files. Personally I don't - the data in a public (as opposed to private zone data in a stealth configuration) is meant to be public. Trying to hide information in the DNS is somewhat like pushing water up hill - possible but not very effective in the long term.

My reasons for inhibiting AXFR (and IXFR) operations from anything apart for slaves is because I am persuaded that it can be used as part of a DoS attack not because of privacy considerations.

First let's define an Open DNS - it is a DNS that will accept recursive queries from external locations. Essentially anyone, anywhere can use your DNS to handle recursive queries for genuine or malicious reasons.

I am now persuaded that Open DNS caches are a bad idea - for reasons of DoS attacks and because there is the increased risk of cache poisoning. Somewhat similarly to Open Mail Relays, Open DNSs are not a good thing in this modern world. What used to be a friendly and neighbourly action, an Open DNS, may now be - inadvertently - placing others at risk. In general, I think the rule should be:

If your DNS does not need to be available to the world i.e. you are not an ISP or a generous human being, then limit recursive (or all) queries to your DNS using any of the following techniques.

  1. Inhibit incoming DNS (port 53) queries for caching or forwarding only DNS servers using a firewall

  2. If you run master or slave domains limit the scope of recursion by adding the following statement to the global options clause:

    # use an appropriate local address scope statement
    # to limit recursion requests to local users
    allow-recursion {;};
  3. If you run only a caching or forwarding DNS then limit the scope of all queries by adding the following statement to the global options clause:

    # use an appropriate local address scope statement
    # to limit all query requests to local users
    allow-query {;};

I am in the process of changing both the DNS for Rocket Scientists guide and the files in the book to reflect this change.

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