Subverting protection into DDoS attacks
On average, DNSSEC reflection can transform an 80-byte query into a 2,313-byte response, an amplification factor of nearly 30 times, which can easily cause a network service outage during a DDoS attack, resulting in lost revenue and data breaches, according to Neustar.
DNSSEC was designed to provide integrity and authentication to DNS, which it accomplishes with complex digital signatures and key exchanges. As a result, when a DNS record is transferred to DNSSEC, an extraordinary amount of additional information is created.
Additionally, when issuing the DNS command, “ANY,” the amplified response from DNSSEC is exponentially larger than a normal DNS reply.
Key findings and recommendations
DNSSEC vulnerabilities are prolific – Neustar examined one industry with 1,349 domains and determined 1,084 of them (80 percent) could be maliciously repurposed as a DDoS attack amplifier (they were signed with DNSSEC and responded to the “ANY” command).
The average DNSSEC amplification factor is 28.9 – Neustar tested DNSSEC vulnerabilities with an 80-byte query, which returned an average response of 2,313-bytes. The largest amplification response was 17,377-bytes, 217 times greater than the 80-byte query.
Best practices for mitigation – For organizations that rely on DNSSEC, Neustar recommends ensuring that your DNS provider does not respond to “ANY” queries or has a mechanism in place to identify and prevent misuse.