Deploy360 1 May 2013

Confirmed – Google’s Public DNS Now Performs DNSSEC Validation For ALL Queries By Default

By Dan YorkDirector, Internet Technology

Google logoIt’s official… Google’s Public DNS service is now performing DNSSEC validation for all DNS queries by default!

When news broke back on March 19 that Google had enabled DNSSEC validation on its Public DNS service, there was some initial concern after people noticed that Google was only performing the DNSSEC validation when requested. This led to a clarification a few days later from Google that their initial rollout required a client to request DNSSEC validation so that they could test out the service – and that full validation was coming soon.

The Official Word

Yesterday, Google’s Warren Kumari posted in the dnssec-deployment mailing list that full validation IS now happening:

We have recently enabled validation by default globally, and you should now get SERVFAIL for validation failures.  Apologies again for the original, unclear announcement.

The blog / documentation has not been updated yet (that will probably happen in the next few days) but we wanted to give you the good news as soon as possible.

And indeed a quick test to see if I could get the DNS records for a test domain known to have a bad DNSSEC signature did produce the expected “SERVFAIL” message and correctly did not return any DNS records:

$ dig @

; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> @
; (1 server found)
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: SERVFAIL, id: 60286
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;        IN    A

This is great news for those of us who are advocates of DNSSEC and means that anyone using Google’s Public DNS servers for DNS name resolution are now automatically receiving the greater security of DNSSEC. Anyone using those servers will know that (for signed domains) the information they are getting out of DNS is the same information that the domain operator put into DNS – and not that of an attacker seeking to have you go to some other site.

If you, too, want to gain access to the increased security of DNSSEC, all you have to do is configure your computer or home router to have as its DNS servers the Google Public DNS servers:


That’s it!

Moving DNSSEC Validation Even Closer

As awesome as this move by Google is (and it is awesome), you could still increase the security provided by DNSSEC a bit more.  Because Google’s Public DNS servers are not on your local network and are rather somewhere out across the Internet, there is still a chance that an attacker could insert himself or herself between you and Google’s DNS servers.  The attacker could then pretend to be sending you back the correct information and masquerading as Google’s Public DNS servers.

To get the highest level of DNSSEC security, you ideally want to be performing the DNSSEC validation on at least your local network and potentially even your local computer. There’s a great whitepaper out from the folks at SURFnet called “Deploying DNSSEC: Validation on recursive caching name servers” that explains how you can simply enable DNSSEC validation for three of the common DNS servers used by enterprises and networks today.

Hey, if Google can enable DNSSEC validation, why can’t you?

If you can’t do DNSSEC validation locally (for example, if you only have a home WiFi router that doesn’t perform validation) then getting the validation performed at your ISP may be the next step… and if your ISP won’t do DNSSEC validation then you really have no other choice but to use a service like Google’s Public DNS services. Their DNSSEC validation is definitely far better protection than none at all!

Again, kudos to Google’s Public DNS team for taking this step and we look forward to the day when all DNS resolvers just perform DNSSEC validation automatically.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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