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Letting DNS Loose

RFID tags, UPC codes, International characters in email addresses and host names, and a variety of other identifiers could all go into DNS, and folks have occasionally proposed doing just that. Its really just a question of figuring out how to use the DNS -- its ready to carry arbitrary identifiers. And by the way, this isn't a new idea, see RFC 1101 for proof, although even earlier I designed the DNS in the early 1980s to allow it to be so, but it seemed too far fetched to document for a while. ...I was in Geneva for a WSIS meeting of CTOs, and was surprised that the various organizations (ITU, ICANN, ISOC) haven't figured out that they need each other to make this technology work, rather than asserting ownership. more»

Cricket Liu Interviewed: DNS and BIND, 5th Edition

In follow-up to recent announcement on the release of the latest edition of the very popular DNS and BIND book -- often referred to as the bible of DNS -- CircleID has caught up with Cricket Liu, co-author and a world renowned authority on the Domain Name System. In this interview, Cricket Liu talks about emerging issues around DNS such as security and IPv6 support, and important new features such as internationalized domain names, ENUM (electronic numbering), and SPF (the Sender Policy Framework). "Cricket Liu: We're now seeing more frequent attacks against DNS infrastructure. ...Turns out that name servers are terrific amplifiers -- you can get an amplification factor of nearly 100x. These attacks have raised awareness of the vulnerability of Internet name servers, which is possibly the only positive result..." more»

A Fundamental Look at DNSSEC, Deployment, and DNS Security Extensions

In looking at the general topic of trust and the Internet, one of the more critical parts of the Internet's infrastructure that appears to be a central anchor point of trust is that of the Domain Name Service, or DNS. The mapping of "named" service points to the protocol-level address is a function that every Internet user relies upon, one way or another. The ability to corrupt the operation of the DNS is one of the more effective ways of corrupting the integrity of Internet-based applications and services. If an attacker can in some fashion alter the DNS response then a large set of attack vectors are exposed. ...The more useful question is whether it is possible to strengthen the DNS. The DNS is a query -- response application, and the critical question in terms of strengthening its function is whether it is possible to authenticate the answers provided by the DNS. DNSSEC provides an answer to this question. more»

Convergence: ENUM is a Big Deal

Convergence as a technology concept has been around for decades. Many have predicted the convergence of electronics and entertainment, of PC's and TV's, and more recently of WiFi and cellular. All of these areas are in fact undergoing various degrees of convergence but there is another area that many are not as familiar with. It is called ENUM...The idea can be extremely useful when you consider that most telephones are limited to twelve keys on a keypad. Ever tried to enter your alphanumeric login ID and password to a web site on a cell phone or Personal Digital Assistant? It is next to impossible! The biggest impact of ENUM will probably be for Voice Over IP (VoIP). In fact, it could be the tipping point. ENUM is a really big deal. more»

DNSSEC: Once More, With Feeling!

After looking at the state of DNSSEC in some detail a little over a year ago in 2006, I've been intending to come back to DNSSEC to see if anything has changed, for better or worse, in the intervening period... To recap, DNSSEC is an approach to adding some "security" into the DNS. The underlying motivation here is that the DNS represents a rather obvious gaping hole in the overall security picture of the Internet, although it is by no means the only rather significant vulnerability in the entire system. One of the more effective methods of a convert attack in this space is to attack at the level of the DNS by inserting fake responses in place of the actual DNS response. more»

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more»

Why Do We Care About Names and Numbers?

An article based on the most recent study for the European Commission on the Policy Implications of Convergence in the Field of Naming, Numbering and Addressing written by Joe McNamee and Tiina Satuli of Political Intelligence.

"With relation to the Internet and also IP addresses, the "scarcity" is more complicated: there are not only intellectual property issues with regards to domain names, but there is also an issue of managing the integrity of the system. For any naming or numbering system to work, it is essential that the names and addresses used cannot be confused with any other -- in other words, no one system can have two end-points with the same fully qualified number or name..." more»

Address Policies

When does an experiment in networking technology become a public utility? Does it happen on a single date, or is it a more gradual process of incremental change? And at what point do you change that way in which resources are managed to admit a broader of public interests? And how are such interests to be expressed in the context of the network itself, in terms of the players, their motivation and the level of common interest in one network? While many may be of the view that this has already happened some years ago in the case of the Internet, when you take a global perspective many parts of the globe are only coming to appreciate the significant role of the Internet in the broader context of enablers of national wealth. more»

Parsing Hype From Hope: Will ENUM Spark Changes In Telecom?

In the beginning there was silence; then, silence begat communication, and communication begat more communication and, ultimately, group communication formed and begat a primordial "network" of communication that gradually and inevitably increased in effectiveness and complexity: there were only signal fires at first but, then, there were cave drawings, carrier pigeons, shouting from hill-tops, smoke from fire, lines of cannon fire, the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell, and, finally, the network of networks known as the Internet. But, is that it? Is there not something more impressive in its impact upon communication than the Internet? What more might one desire than the dynamic wonders of the Internet, you ask? Well, what about ENUM? "E-What!?" more»

What the Net Did Next

During this slow and long lull of domain name policy and ICANN related news stories, I thought it would be a good time to bring an article by BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward to the attention of the CircleID community. In it, ICANN Chairman of the Board Vint Cerf reflects on the history of the Internet and his involvement as somewhat of a "midwife," rather than the "father" title he doesn't like. He also looks to the future and identifies two key, fundamental changes that will shape the next stage of the Internet. As he puts it, they are VoIP and ENUM. more»

Taking Aim at 8 Myths about ENUM

ENUM has a critical role to play in telephony services convergence. Although many carriers are adopting ENUM there are myths swirling around the confuse newcomers. In data networks, the domain name system (DNS) is responsible for converting Uniform Resource Locators (URL's) to IP addresses in order to route data traffic. The ENUM protocol performs a similar essential function of linking E.164 telephone numbers to Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs) -- enabling communication services to use traditional phone numbers to set up calls over IP networks. Unfortunately, there's a good deal of hype and confusion around ENUM, which might lead carriers to delay ENUM implementations. That delay would be a mistake... more»

ENUM: Mapping the E.164 Number Space into the DNS

Many communications networks are constructed for a single form of communication, and are ill suited to being used for any other form. Although the Internet is also a specialized network in terms of supporting digital communications, its relatively unique flexibility lies in its ability to digitally encode a very diverse set of communications formats, and then support their interaction over the Internet. In this way many communications networks can be mapped into an Internet application and in so doing become just another distributed application overlayed on the Internet. From this admittedly Internet-centric perspective, voice is just another Internet application. And for the growing population of Voice over IP (VoIP) users, this is indeed the case... more»

U.S. Moving Forward with ENUM

One of the pieces of infrastructure that makes all kinds of networks work and yet gets very little attention is the directory. Directories are big business. For example, there's directory of telephone numbers run by NeuStar, Inc. NeuStar has annual revenues of $92 million. Now, according to Light Reading, AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., together with unidentified cable companies, telephone companies, and ISPs are preparing to form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will run a process to define a new company that will run ENUM. more»

Neustar and .GPRS

Ever since Neustar announced they signed a deal with GSMA to oversea global database for the mobile operators last week (see also Washington Post), there are many debates about the deal online. "Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they're going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826" said Steven Bellovin. To the more supportive John Levine: "This isn't quite as stupid as it seems. The GSM industry needs some way to maintain its roaming user database, the database is getting considerably more complicated with 3G features, and it looks to me like they made a reasonable decision to use DNS over IP to implement it rather than inventing yet another proprietary distributed database." more»

With No Privacy Standards Who Knows Who Is Abusing The Whois Database

John Banks is a loan officer in New York. John's supervisor recently warned John about the potential number of bad loans he may be carrying as part of his portfolio. To dump some of the bad loans he might be carrying, John came up with a scheme. He pointed his web browser to www.whois.org and entered terms denoting disease or poor health such as 'cancer' and 'illness'. This query on the Internet's WHOIS database reported results of names and addresses of domain name owners who had developed websites devoted to providing information on certain serious illnesses. John compared these names and addresses with those in his portfolio of loans. For the matches, he canceled the loans and required immediate payment-in-full. more»