Thursday, May 26, 2011

DNS Filtering Legislation Would Derail DNSSEC, Experts Contend

Via -

A key provision in an intellectual property protection bill that was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee could sabotage Internet security and specifically, DNSSEC, according to a who's who of Internet infrastructure and security experts including Dan Kaminsky.

The PROTECT (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) IP Act calls for using recursive DNS servers to blacklist and block domain names of servers offering pirated music or other illegally obtained intellectual property. A group of renowned Internet security experts including Kaminsky released a white paper explaining how forcing these millions of recursive servers on the Internet to filter out DNS requests to those sites would basically cripple the emerging DNSSEC technology. DNSSEC is currently in the process of being adopted on the Internet; it provides verification that the site a user visits is indeed that site and not a spoofed or redirected one.

Along with Kaminsky, who discovered and helped get patched a serious flaw in DNS, the authors of the paper include Steve Crocker, an IETF pioneer and CEO of Shinkuro; David Dagon, a post-doctoral researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology studying DNS security and a co-founder of Damballa; Danny McPherson, chief security officer for Verisign; and Paul Vixie, principal author of the pervasive BIND DNS server software and creator of several DNS standards.

The authors say they support enforcement intellectual property rights, but that the DNS filtering requirement would stymie federal government and private industry efforts for beefing up Internet security -- namely DNSSEC. And the filters could easily be bypassed and therefore would likely be unable to quell online copyright infringement, they say.

"It's like trying to make a telephone that won't carry swear words," Kaminsky says of the DNS-filtering approach.

They maintain that the DNS filtering—which would force the censoring of websites via blacklists published by the Department of Justice--would clash with DNSSEC by encouraging the brand of network manipulation that DNSSEC aims to prevent.


A full copy of the "Security and Other Technical Concerns Raised by the DNS Filtering Requirements in the PROTECT IP Bill" is available here for download.

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