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DNS on Windows 2000, Second Edition by Cricket Liu, Matt Larson

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Dynamic Update

Dynamic update is a major new feature implemented in the Microsoft DNS Server. Like many other protocols used by Windows 2000, it’s an Internet standard, defined in RFC 2136. Dynamic update is simply a protocol that allows a name server to be updated by sending it a message over the network. This is a big improvement over the traditional method, which requires a human to fire up the DNS console to make the change in person. Dynamic update allows nonhumans—i.e., programs—to easily update DNS information.

No security is built into the dynamic update protocol. It’s up to an individual name server to decide whether or not to accept an update message. About the only means of authentication a name server has is to look at the source IP address of the dynamic update message, and that’s not a very strong means of authentication at all: it’s easy to “spoof” or forge a packet’s source IP address. And since a complete dynamic update message travels in a single UDP packet, all an attacker needs to know is an IP address that the name server accepting dynamic updates trusts. The Bad Guy just creates a dynamic update with a spoofed source IP address and sends it to the unsuspecting name server.

This deficiency begs for some stronger security based on cryptography, which fortunately has been developed. The DNS standards community developed a protocol extension to use transaction signatures to sign any kind of DNS message—including dynamic updates—sent between two parties: client ...

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