Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) S. Dickinson
Request for Comments: 8310 Sinodun
Updates: 7858 D. Gillmor
Category: Standards Track ACLU
ISSN: 2070-1721 T. Reddy
March 2018 Usage Profiles for DNS over TLS and DNS over DTLS
This document discusses usage profiles, based on one or more
authentication mechanisms, which can be used for DNS over Transport
Layer Security (TLS) or Datagram TLS (DTLS). These profiles can
increase the privacy of DNS transactions compared to using only
cleartext DNS. This document also specifies new authentication
mechanisms -- it describes several ways that a DNS client can use an
authentication domain name to authenticate a (D)TLS connection to a
DNS server. Additionally, it defines (D)TLS protocol profiles for
DNS clients and servers implementing DNS over (D)TLS. This document
updates RFC 7858.
Status of This Memo
This is an Internet Standards Track document.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has
received public review and has been approved for publication by the
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on
Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.
Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
document authors. All rights reserved.
This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
(https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
publication of this document. Please review these documents
carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must
include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
described in the Simplified BSD License.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ....................................................42. Terminology .....................................................63. Scope ...........................................................74. Discussion ......................................................85. Usage Profiles ..................................................85.1. DNS Resolution ............................................116. Authentication in DNS over (D)TLS ..............................116.1. DNS-over-(D)TLS Startup Configuration Problems ............116.2. Credential Verification ...................................126.3. Summary of Authentication Mechanisms ......................126.4. Combining Authentication Mechanisms .......................156.5. Authentication in Opportunistic Privacy ...................156.6. Authentication in Strict Privacy ..........................166.7. Implementation Guidance ...................................167. Sources of Authentication Domain Names .........................177.1. Full Direct Configuration .................................177.2. Direct Configuration of ADN Only ..........................177.3. Dynamic Discovery of ADN ..................................177.3.1. DHCP ...............................................188. Credential Verification Based on Authentication Domain Name ....188.1. Authentication Based on PKIX Certificate ..................188.2. DANE ......................................................198.2.1. Direct DNS Meta-Queries ............................208.2.2. TLS DNSSEC Chain Extension .........................209. (D)TLS Protocol Profile ........................................2010. IANA Considerations ...........................................2111. Security Considerations .......................................2111.1. Countermeasures to DNS Traffic Analysis ..................2212. References ....................................................2212.1. Normative References .....................................2212.2. Informative References ...................................24Appendix A. Server Capability Probing and Caching by DNS Clients ..26
Authors' Addresses ................................................27
DNS privacy issues are discussed in [RFC7626]. The specific issues
described in [RFC7626] that are most relevant to this document are
o Passive attacks that eavesdrop on cleartext DNS transactions on
the wire (Section 2.4 of [RFC7626]) and
o Active attacks that redirect clients to rogue servers to monitor
DNS traffic (Section 2.5.3 of [RFC7626]).
Mitigating these attacks increases the privacy of DNS transactions;
however, many of the other issues raised in [RFC7626] still apply.
Two documents that provide ways to increase DNS privacy between DNS
clients and DNS servers are
o "Specification for DNS over Transport Layer Security (TLS)"
[RFC7858], referred to here as simply "DNS over TLS".
o "DNS over Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)" [RFC8094],
referred to here as simply "DNS over DTLS". Note that [RFC8094]
is an Experimental specification.
Both documents are limited in scope to communications between stub
clients and recursive resolvers, and the same scope is applied to
this document (see Sections 2 and 3). The proposals here might be
adapted or extended in future to be used for recursive clients and
authoritative servers, but this application was out of scope for the
DNS PRIVate Exchange (dprive) Working Group charter at the time this
document was published.
This document specifies two usage profiles (Strict Privacy and
Opportunistic Privacy) for DTLS [RFC6347] and TLS [RFC5246] that
provide improved levels of mitigation for the attacks described above
compared to using only cleartext DNS.
Section 5 presents a generalized discussion of usage profiles by
separating the usage profile, which is based purely on the security
properties it offers the user, from the specific mechanism or
mechanisms that are used for DNS server authentication. The profiles
o A Strict Privacy profile, which requires an encrypted connection
and successful authentication of the DNS server; this mitigates
both passive eavesdropping and client redirection (at the expense
of providing no DNS service if an encrypted, authenticated
connection is not available).
o An Opportunistic Privacy profile, which will attempt, but does not
require, encryption and successful authentication; it therefore
provides limited or no mitigation for such attacks but maximizes
the chance of DNS service.
The above usage profiles attempt authentication of the server using
at least one authentication mechanism. Section 6.4 discusses how to
combine authentication mechanisms to determine the overall
authentication result. Depending on that overall authentication
result (and whether encryption is available), the usage profile will
determine if the connection should proceed, fall back, or fail.
One authentication mechanism is already described in [RFC7858].
[RFC7858] specifies an authentication mechanism for DNS over TLS that
is based on Subject Public Key Info (SPKI) in the context of a
specific case of a Strict Privacy profile using that single
authentication mechanism. Therefore, the "out-of-band key-pinned
privacy profile" described in [RFC7858] would qualify as a "Strict
Privacy profile" that used SPKI pinning for authentication.
This document extends the use of authentication based on SPKI
pin sets, so that it is considered a general authentication mechanism
that can be used with either DNS-over-(D)TLS usage profile. That is,
the mechanism for SPKI pin sets as described in [RFC7858] MAY be used
with DNS over (D)TLS.
This document also describes a number of additional authentication
mechanisms, all of which specify how a DNS client should authenticate
a DNS server based on an "authentication domain name". In
particular, the following topics are described:
o How a DNS client can obtain the combination of an authentication
domain name and IP address for a DNS server. See Section 7.
o What acceptable credentials a DNS server can present to prove its
identity for (D)TLS authentication based on a given authentication
domain name. See Section 8.
o How a DNS client can verify that any given credential matches the
authentication domain name obtained for a DNS server. See
This document defines a (D)TLS protocol profile for use with DNS; see
Section 9. This profile defines the configuration options and
protocol extensions required of both parties to (1) optimize
connection establishment and session resumption for transporting DNS
and (2) support all currently specified authentication mechanisms.
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
"OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
capitals, as shown here.
Several terms are used specifically in the context of this document:
o DNS client: A DNS stub resolver or forwarder. In the case of a
forwarder, the term "DNS client" is used to discuss the side that
o DNS server: A DNS recursive resolver or forwarder. In the case of
a forwarder, the term "DNS server" is used to discuss the side
that responds to queries. Note that, as used in this document,
this term does not apply to authoritative servers.
o Privacy-enabling DNS server: A DNS server that implements
DNS over TLS [RFC7858] and may optionally implement DNS over DTLS
[RFC8094]. The server should also offer at least one of the
credentials described in Section 8 and implement the (D)TLS
profile described in Section 9.
o (D)TLS: Used for brevity; refers to both Transport Layer Security
[RFC5246] and Datagram Transport Layer Security [RFC6347].
Specific terms will be used for any text that applies to either
o DNS over (D)TLS: Used for brevity; refers to both DNS over TLS
[RFC7858] and DNS over DTLS [RFC8094]. Specific terms will be
used for any text that applies to either protocol alone.
o Authentication domain name: A domain name that can be used to
authenticate a privacy-enabling DNS server. Sources of
authentication domain names are discussed in Section 7.
o SPKI pin sets: [RFC7858] describes the use of cryptographic
digests to "pin" public key information in a manner similar to
HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP) [RFC7469]. An SPKI pin set is a
collection of these pins that constrains a DNS server.
o Authentication information: Information a DNS client may use as
the basis of an authentication mechanism. In this context, this
information can be either
* an SPKI pin set or
* an authentication domain name
o Reference identifier: A reference identifier as described in
[RFC6125], constructed by the DNS client when performing TLS
authentication of a DNS server.
o Credential: Information available for a DNS server that proves its
identity for authentication purposes. Credentials discussed here
* a PKIX certificate
* a DNSSEC-validated chain to a TLSA record
but may also include SPKI pin sets.
This document is limited to describing
o Usage profiles based on general authentication mechanisms.
o The details of domain-name-based authentication of DNS servers by
DNS clients (as defined in Section 2).
o The (D)TLS profiles needed to support authentication in
DNS over (D)TLS.
As such, the following topics are out of scope for this document:
o Authentication of authoritative servers by recursive resolvers.
o Authentication of DNS clients by DNS servers.
o The details of how to perform authentication based on SPKI
pin sets. This is defined in [RFC7858].
o Any server identifier other than domain names, including IP
addresses, organizational names, country of origin, etc.
One way to mitigate eavesdropping on cleartext DNS transactions by
passive attackers is to encrypt the query (and response). Such
encryption typically provides integrity protection as a side effect;
this means that on-path attackers cannot simply inject bogus DNS
responses. To also mitigate active attackers pretending to be the
server, the client must authenticate the (D)TLS connection to the
This document discusses usage profiles, which provide differing
levels of attack mitigation to DNS clients, based on the requirements
for authentication and encryption, regardless of the context (for
example, which network the client is connected to). A usage profile
is a concept distinct from a usage policy or usage model; a usage
policy or usage model might dictate which profile should be used in a
particular context (enterprise vs. coffee shop), with a particular
set of DNS servers or with reference to other external factors. A
description of the variety of usage policies is out of scope for this
document but may be the subject of future work.
The term "privacy-enabling DNS server" is used throughout this
document. This is a DNS server that
o MUST implement DNS over TLS [RFC7858].
o MAY implement DNS over DTLS [RFC8094].
o SHOULD offer at least one of the credentials described in
o Implements the (D)TLS profile described in Section 9.
5. Usage Profiles
A DNS client has a choice of usage profiles available to increase the
privacy of DNS transactions. This choice is briefly discussed in
both [RFC7858] and [RFC8094]. These usage profiles are
o Strict Privacy profile: The DNS client requires both an encrypted
and authenticated connection to a privacy-enabling DNS server. A
hard failure occurs if this is not available. This requires the
client to securely obtain authentication information it can use to
authenticate the server. This profile mitigates both passive and
active attacks, thereby providing the client with the best
available privacy for DNS. This profile is discussed in detail in
o Opportunistic Privacy profile: The DNS client uses Opportunistic
Security as described in [RFC7435].
* "... the use of cleartext as the baseline communication
security policy, with encryption and authentication negotiated
and applied to the communication when available."
As described in [RFC7435], it might result in
* an encrypted and authenticated connection
* an encrypted connection
* a cleartext connection
depending on the fallback logic of the client, the available
authentication information, and the capabilities of the DNS
server. In all these cases, the DNS client is willing to continue
with a connection to the DNS server and perform resolution of
queries. The use of Opportunistic Privacy is intended to support
incremental deployment of increased privacy with a view to
widespread adoption of the Strict Privacy profile. It should be
employed when the DNS client might otherwise settle for cleartext;
it provides the maximum protection available, depending on the
combination of factors described above. If all the configured DNS
servers are DNS privacy servers, then it can provide protection
against passive attacks and might protect against active ones.
Both profiles can include an initial meta-query (performed using
Opportunistic Privacy) to obtain the IP address for the privacy-
enabling DNS server to which the DNS client will subsequently
connect. The rationale for permitting this for the Strict Privacy
profile is that requiring such meta-queries to also be performed
using the Strict Privacy profile would introduce significant
deployment obstacles. However, it should be noted that in this
scenario an active attack on the meta-query is possible. Such an
attack could result in a Strict Privacy profile client connecting to
a server it cannot authenticate (and therefore not obtaining DNS
service) or an Opportunistic Privacy client connecting to a server
controlled by the attacker. DNSSEC validation can detect the attack
on the meta-query, which may result in the client not obtaining DNS
service (for both usage profiles), depending on its DNSSEC validation
policy. See Section 7.2 for more discussion.
To compare the two usage profiles, Table 1 below shows a successful
Strict Privacy profile alongside the three possible outcomes of an
Opportunistic Privacy profile. In the best-case scenario for the
Opportunistic Privacy profile (an authenticated and encrypted
connection), it is equivalent to the Strict Privacy profile. In the
worst-case scenario, it is equivalent to cleartext. Clients using
the Opportunistic Privacy profile SHOULD try for the best case but
MAY fall back to the intermediate case and, eventually, the worst-
case scenario, in order to obtain a response. One reason to fall
back without trying every available privacy-enabling DNS server is if
latency is more important than attack mitigation; see Appendix A.
The Opportunistic Privacy profile therefore provides varying
protection, depending on what kind of connection is actually used,
including no attack mitigation at all.
Note that there is no requirement in Opportunistic Security to notify
the user regarding what type of connection is actually used; the
"detection" described below is only possible if such connection
information is available. However, if it is available and the user
is informed that an unencrypted connection was used to connect to a
server, then the user should assume (detect) that the connection is
subject to both active and passive attacks, since the DNS queries are
sent in cleartext. This might be particularly useful if a new
connection to a certain server is unencrypted when all previous
connections were encrypted. Similarly, if the user is informed that
an encrypted but unauthenticated connection was used, then the user
can detect that the connection may be subject to active attacks. In
other words, for the cases where no protection is provided against an
attacker (N), it is possible to detect that an attack might be
happening (D). This is discussed in Section 6.5.
| Usage Profile | Connection | Passive Attacker | Active Attacker |
| Strict | A, E | P | P |
| Opportunistic | A, E | P | P |
| Opportunistic | E | P | N, D |
| Opportunistic | | N, D | N, D |
P == Protection; N == No protection; D == Detection is possible;
A == Authenticated connection; E == Encrypted connection
Table 1: Attack Protection by Usage Profile and Type of Attacker
The Strict Privacy profile provides the best attack mitigation and
therefore SHOULD always be implemented in DNS clients that implement
the Opportunistic Privacy profile.
A DNS client that implements DNS over (D)TLS SHOULD NOT be configured
by default to use only cleartext.
The choice between the two profiles depends on a number of factors,
including which is more important to the particular client:
o DNS service, at the cost of no attack mitigation (Opportunistic
o Best available attack mitigation, at the potential cost of no DNS
service (Strict Privacy).
Additionally, the two profiles require varying levels of
configuration (or a trusted relationship with a provider) and DNS
server capabilities; therefore, DNS clients will need to carefully
select which profile to use based on their communication needs.
A DNS server that implements DNS over (D)TLS SHOULD provide at least
one credential (Section 2) so that those DNS clients that wish to use
the Strict Privacy profile are able to do so.
5.1. DNS Resolution
A DNS client SHOULD select a particular usage profile when resolving
a query. A DNS client MUST NOT fall back from Strict Privacy to
Opportunistic Privacy during the resolution of a given query, as this
could invalidate the protection offered against attackers. It is
anticipated that DNS clients will use a particular usage profile for
all queries to all configured servers until an operational issue or
policy update dictates a change in the profile used.
6. Authentication in DNS over (D)TLS
This section describes authentication mechanisms and how they can be
used in either Strict or Opportunistic Privacy for DNS over (D)TLS.
6.1. DNS-over-(D)TLS Startup Configuration Problems
Many (D)TLS clients use PKIX authentication [RFC6125] based on an
authentication domain name for the server they are contacting. These
clients typically first look up the server's network address in the
DNS before making this connection. Such a DNS client therefore has a
bootstrap problem, as it will typically only know the IP address of
its DNS server.
In this case, before connecting to a DNS server, a DNS client needs
to learn the authentication domain name it should associate with the
IP address of a DNS server for authentication purposes. Sources of
authentication domain names are discussed in Section 7.
One advantage of this domain-name-based approach is that it
encourages the association of stable, human-recognizable identifiers
with secure DNS service providers.
6.2. Credential Verification
Verification of SPKI pin sets is discussed in [RFC7858].
In terms of domain-name-based verification, once an authentication
domain name is known for a DNS server, a choice of authentication
mechanisms can be used for credential verification. Section 8
discusses these mechanisms -- namely, PKIX certificate-based
authentication and DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE)
-- in detail.
Note that the use of DANE adds requirements on the ability of the
client to get validated DNSSEC results. This is discussed in more
detail in Section 8.2.
6.3. Summary of Authentication Mechanisms
This section provides an overview of the various authentication
mechanisms. Table 2 below indicates how the DNS client obtains
information to use for authentication for each option: either
statically via direct configuration or dynamically. Of course, the
Opportunistic Privacy profile does not require authentication, and so
a client using that profile may choose to connect to a
privacy-enabling DNS server on the basis of just an IP address.
| # | Static | Dynamically | Short name: Description |
| | Config | Obtained | |
| 1 | SPKI + IP | | SPKI: SPKI pin set(s) and IP |
| | | | address obtained out of band |
| | | | [RFC7858] |
| | | | |
| 2 | ADN + IP | | ADN: ADN and IP address obtained |
| | | | out of band (see Section 7.1) |
| | | | |
| 3 | ADN | IP | ADN only: Opportunistic Privacy |
| | | | meta-queries to a NP DNS server |
| | | | for A/AAAA (see Section 7.2) |
| | | | |
| 4 | | ADN + IP | DHCP: DHCP configuration only (see |
| | | | Section 7.3.1) |
| | | | |
| 5 | [ADN + IP] | [ADN + IP] | DANE: DNSSEC chain obtained via |
| | | TLSA record | Opportunistic Privacy meta-queries |
| | | | to NP DNS server (see Section |
| | | | 8.2.1) |
| | | | |
| 6 | [ADN + IP] | [ADN + IP] | TLS extension: DNSSEC chain |
| | | TLSA record | provided by PE DNS server in TLS |
| | | | DNSSEC chain extension (see |
| | | | Section 8.2.2) |
SPKI == SPKI pin set(s); IP == IP Address;
ADN == Authentication Domain Name; NP == Network-Provided;
PE == Privacy-Enabling; [ ] == Data may be obtained either
statically or dynamically
Table 2: Overview of Authentication Mechanisms
The following summary attempts to present some key attributes of each
of the mechanisms (using the "Short name" from Table 2), indicating
attractive attributes with a "+" and undesirable attributes
with a "-".
+ Minimal leakage (note that the ADN is always leaked in the
Server Name Indication (SNI) field in the ClientHello in TLS
when communicating with a privacy-enabling DNS server)
- Overhead of ongoing key management required
+ Minimal leakage
+ One-off direct configuration only
3. ADN only
+ Minimal one-off direct configuration; only a human-recognizable
domain name needed
- A/AAAA meta-queries leaked to network-provided DNS server that
may be subject to active attack (attack can be mitigated by
+ No static config
- Requires a non-standard or future DHCP option in order to
provide the ADN
- Requires secure and trustworthy connection to DHCP server if
used with a Strict Privacy profile
The ADN and/or IP may be obtained statically or dynamically, and
the relevant attributes of that method apply.
+ DANE options (e.g., matching on entire certificate)
- Requires a DNSSEC-validating stub implementation (the
deployment of which is limited at the time of this writing)
- DNSSEC chain meta-queries leaked to network-provided DNS server
that may be subject to active attack
6. TLS extension
The ADN and/or IP may be obtained statically or dynamically, and
the relevant attributes of that method apply.
+ Reduced latency compared with DANE
+ No network-provided DNS server required if ADN and IP
+ DANE options (e.g., matching on entire certificate)
- Requires a DNSSEC-validating stub implementation
6.4. Combining Authentication Mechanisms
This document does not make explicit recommendations about how an
authentication mechanism based on SPKI pin sets should be combined
with a domain-based mechanism from an operator perspective. However,
it can be envisaged that a DNS server operator may wish to make both
an SPKI pin set and an authentication domain name available to allow
clients to choose which mechanism to use. Therefore, the following
text provides guidance on how clients ought to behave if they choose
to configure both, as is possible in HPKP [RFC7469].
A DNS client that is configured with both an authentication domain
name and an SPKI pin set for a DNS server SHOULD match on both a
valid credential for the authentication domain name and a valid SPKI
pin set (if both are available) when connecting to that DNS server.
In this case, the client SHOULD treat individual SPKI pins as
specified in Section 2.6 of [RFC7469] with regard to user-defined
trust anchors. The overall authentication result SHOULD only be
considered successful if both authentication mechanisms are
6.5. Authentication in Opportunistic Privacy
An Opportunistic Privacy Profile (based on Opportunistic Security
[RFC7435]) that MAY be used for DNS over (D)TLS is described in
[RFC7858] and is further specified in this document.
DNS clients that issue queries under an Opportunistic Privacy profile
and that know authentication information for a given privacy-enabling
DNS server SHOULD try to authenticate the server using the mechanisms
described here. This is useful for detecting (but not preventing)
active attacks, since the fact that authentication information is
available indicates that the server in question is a privacy-enabling
DNS server to which it should be possible to establish an
authenticated and encrypted connection. In this case, whilst a
client cannot know the reason for an authentication failure, from a
security standpoint the client should consider an active attack in
progress and proceed under that assumption. For example, a client
that implements a nameserver selection algorithm that preferentially
uses nameservers that successfully authenticated (see Section 5)
might not continue to use the failing server if there were
alternative servers available.
Attempting authentication is also useful for debugging or diagnostic
purposes if there are means to report the result. This information
can provide a basis for a DNS client to switch to (preferred) Strict
Privacy where it is viable, e.g., where all the configured servers
support DNS over (D)TLS and successfully authenticate.
6.6. Authentication in Strict Privacy
To authenticate a privacy-enabling DNS server, a DNS client needs to
know authentication information for each server it is willing to
contact. This is necessary to protect against active attacks that
attempt to redirect clients to rogue DNS servers.
A DNS client requiring Strict Privacy MUST use either (1) one of the
sources listed in Section 7, to obtain an authentication domain name
for the server it contacts or (2) an SPKI pin set as described in
A DNS client requiring Strict Privacy MUST only attempt to connect to
DNS servers for which at least one piece of authentication
information is known. The client MUST use the available verification
mechanisms described in Section 8 to authenticate the server and MUST
abort connections to a server when no verification mechanism
With Strict Privacy, the DNS client MUST NOT commence sending DNS
queries until at least one of the privacy-enabling DNS servers
A privacy-enabling DNS server may be temporarily unavailable when
configuring a network. For example, for clients on networks that
require registration through web-based login (a.k.a. "captive
portals"), such registration may rely on DNS interception and
spoofing. Techniques such as those used by dnssec-trigger
[dnssec-trigger] MAY be used during network configuration, with the
intent to transition to the designated privacy-enabling DNS servers
after captive-portal registration. If using a Strict Privacy
profile, the system MUST alert by some means that the DNS is not
private during such a bootstrap operation.
6.7. Implementation Guidance
Section 9 describes the (D)TLS profile for DNS over (D)TLS.
Additional considerations relating to general implementation
guidelines are discussed in both Section 11 and Appendix A.
7. Sources of Authentication Domain Names
7.1. Full Direct Configuration
DNS clients may be directly and securely provisioned with the
authentication domain name of each privacy-enabling DNS server -- for
example, using a client-specific configuration file or API.
In this case, direct configuration for a DNS client would consist of
both an IP address and an authentication domain name for each DNS
server that were obtained via an out-of-band mechanism.
7.2. Direct Configuration of ADN Only
A DNS client may be configured directly and securely with only the
authentication domain name of each of its privacy-enabling DNS
servers -- for example, using a client-specific configuration file
A DNS client might learn of a default recursive DNS resolver from an
untrusted source (such as DHCP's DNS Recursive Name Server option
[RFC3646]). It can then use meta-queries performed using an
Opportunistic Privacy profile to an untrusted recursive DNS resolver
to establish the IP address of the intended privacy-enabling DNS
resolver by doing a lookup of A/AAAA records. A DNSSEC-validating
client SHOULD apply the same validation policy to the A/AAAA
meta-queries as it does to other queries. A client that does not
validate DNSSEC SHOULD apply the same policy (if any) to the A/AAAA
meta-queries as it does to other queries. Private DNS resolution can
now be done by the DNS client against the pre-configured privacy-
enabling DNS resolver, using the IP address obtained from the
untrusted DNS resolver.
A DNS client so configured that successfully connects to a privacy-
enabling DNS server MAY choose to locally cache the server host IP
addresses in order to not have to repeat the meta-query.
7.3. Dynamic Discovery of ADN
This section discusses the general case of a DNS client discovering
both the authentication domain name and IP address dynamically. At
the time of this writing, this is not possible by any standard means.
However, since, for example, a future DHCP extension could (in
principle) provide this mechanism, the required security properties
of such mechanisms are outlined here.
When using a Strict Privacy profile, the dynamic discovery technique
used as a source of authentication domain names MUST be considered
secure and trustworthy. This requirement does not apply when using
an Opportunistic Privacy profile, given the security expectation of
In the typical case today, a DHCP server [RFC2131] [RFC3315] provides
a list of IP addresses for DNS resolvers (see Section 3.8 of
[RFC2132]) but does not provide an authentication domain name for the
DNS resolver, thus preventing the use of most of the authentication
methods described here (all of those that are based on a mechanism
with ADN; see Table 2).
This document does not specify or request any DHCP extension to
provide authentication domain names. However, if one is developed in
future work, the issues outlined in Section 8 of [RFC7227] should be
taken into account, as should the security considerations discussed
in Section 23 of [RFC3315].
This document does not attempt to describe secured and trusted
relationships to DHCP servers, as this is purely a DHCP issue (and
still open, at the time of this writing). Whilst some implementation
work is in progress to secure IPv6 connections for DHCP, IPv4
connections have received little or no implementation attention in
8. Credential Verification Based on Authentication Domain Name
8.1. Authentication Based on PKIX Certificate
When a DNS client configured with an authentication domain name
connects to its configured DNS server over (D)TLS, the server may
present it with a PKIX certificate. In order to ensure proper
authentication, DNS clients MUST verify the entire certification path
per [RFC5280]. The DNS client additionally uses validation
techniques as described in [RFC6125] to compare the domain name to
the certificate provided.
A DNS client constructs one reference identifier for the server based
on the authentication domain name: a DNS-ID, which is simply the
authentication domain name itself.
If the reference identifier is found (as described in Section 6 of
[RFC6125]) in the PKIX certificate's subjectAltName extension, the
DNS client should accept the certificate for the server.
A compliant DNS client MUST only inspect the certificate's
subjectAltName extension for the reference identifier. In
particular, it MUST NOT inspect the Subject field itself.
DANE [RFC6698] provides various mechanisms using DNSSEC to anchor
trust for certificates and raw public keys. However, this requires
the DNS client to have an authentication domain name (which must be
obtained via a trusted source) for the DNS privacy server.
This section assumes a solid understanding of both DANE [RFC6698] and
DANE operations [RFC7671]. A few pertinent issues covered in these
documents are outlined here as useful pointers, but familiarity with
both of these documents in their entirety is expected.
Note that [RFC6698] says
Clients that validate the DNSSEC signatures themselves MUST use
standard DNSSEC validation procedures. Clients that rely on
another entity to perform the DNSSEC signature validation MUST use
a secure mechanism between themselves and the validator.
Note that [RFC7671] covers the following topics:
o Sections 4.1 ("Opportunistic Security and PKIX Usages") and 14
("Security Considerations") of [RFC7671], which both discuss the
use of schemes based on trust anchors and end entities (PKIX-TA(0)
and PKIX-EE(1), respectively) for Opportunistic Security.
o Section 5 ("Certificate-Usage-Specific DANE Updates and
Guidelines") of [RFC7671] -- specifically, Section 5.1 of
[RFC7671], which outlines the combination of certificate usage
DANE-EE(3) and selector SPKI(1) with raw public keys [RFC7250].
Section 5.1 of [RFC7671] also discusses the security implications
of this mode; for example, it discusses key lifetimes and
specifies that validity period enforcement is based solely on the
TLSA RRset properties for this case.
o Section 13 ("Operational Considerations") of [RFC7671], which
discusses TLSA TTLs and signature validity periods.
The specific DANE record for a DNS privacy server would take the form
_853._tcp.[authentication-domain-name] for TLS
_853._udp.[authentication-domain-name] for DTLS
8.2.1. Direct DNS Meta-Queries
The DNS client MAY choose to perform the DNS meta-queries to retrieve
the required DANE records itself. The DNS meta-queries for such DANE
records MAY use the Opportunistic Privacy profile or be in the clear
to avoid trust recursion. The records MUST be validated using DNSSEC
as described in [RFC6698].
8.2.2. TLS DNSSEC Chain Extension
The DNS client MAY offer the TLS extension described in
[TLS-DNSSEC-Chain-Ext]. If the DNS server supports this extension,
it can provide the full chain to the client in the handshake.
If the DNS client offers the TLS DNSSEC chain extension, it MUST be
capable of validating the full DNSSEC authentication chain down to
the leaf. If the supplied DNSSEC chain does not validate, the client
MUST ignore the DNSSEC chain and validate only via other supplied
9. (D)TLS Protocol Profile
This section defines the (D)TLS protocol profile of DNS over (D)TLS.
Clients and servers MUST adhere to the (D)TLS implementation
recommendations and security considerations of [RFC7525], except with
respect to the (D)TLS version.
Since encryption of DNS using (D)TLS is a greenfield deployment, DNS
clients and servers MUST implement only (D)TLS 1.2 or later. For
example, implementing (D)TLS 1.3 [TLS-1.3] [DTLS-1.3] is also an
Implementations MUST NOT offer or provide TLS compression, since
compression can leak significant amounts of information, especially
to a network observer capable of forcing the user to do an arbitrary
DNS lookup in the style of the Compression Ratio Info-leak Made Easy
(CRIME) attacks [CRIME].
Implementations compliant with this profile MUST implement the
o TLS session resumption without server-side state [RFC5077], which
eliminates the need for the server to retain cryptographic state
for longer than necessary. (This statement updates [RFC7858].)
o Raw public keys [RFC7250], which reduce the size of the
ServerHello and can be used by servers that cannot obtain
certificates (e.g., DNS servers on private networks). A client
MUST only indicate support for raw public keys if it has an SPKI
pin set pre-configured (for interoperability reasons).
Implementations compliant with this profile SHOULD implement the
o TLS False Start [RFC7918], which reduces round trips by allowing
the TLS second flight of messages (ChangeCipherSpec) to also
contain the (encrypted) DNS query.
o The Cached Information Extension [RFC7924], which avoids
transmitting the server's certificate and certificate chain if the
client has cached that information from a previous TLS handshake.
Guidance specific to TLS is provided in [RFC7858], and guidance
specific to DTLS is provided in [RFC8094].
10. IANA Considerations
This document does not require any IANA actions.
11. Security Considerations
Security considerations discussed in [RFC7525], [RFC8094], and
[RFC7858] apply to this document.
DNS clients SHOULD implement (1) support for the mechanisms described
in Section 8.2 and (2) offering a configuration option that limits
authentication to using only those mechanisms (i.e., with no fallback
to pure PKIX-based authentication) such that authenticating solely
via the PKIX infrastructure can be avoided.
11.1. Countermeasures to DNS Traffic Analysis
This section makes suggestions for measures that can reduce the
ability of attackers to infer information pertaining to encrypted
client queries by other means (e.g., via an analysis of encrypted
traffic size or via monitoring of the unencrypted traffic from a DNS
recursive resolver to an authoritative server).
DNS-over-(D)TLS clients and servers SHOULD implement the following
relevant DNS extensions:
o Extension Mechanisms for DNS (EDNS(0)) padding [RFC7830], which
allows encrypted queries and responses to hide their size, making
analysis of encrypted traffic harder.
Guidance on padding policies for EDNS(0) is provided in
DNS-over-(D)TLS clients SHOULD implement the following relevant DNS
o Privacy election per [RFC7871] ("Client Subnet in DNS Queries").
If a DNS client does not include an edns-client-subnet EDNS0
option with SOURCE PREFIX-LENGTH set to 0 in a query, the DNS
server may potentially leak client address information to the
upstream authoritative DNS servers. A DNS client ought to be able
to inform the DNS resolver that it does not want any address
information leaked, and the DNS resolver should honor that
12.1. Normative References
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
[RFC5077] Salowey, J., Zhou, H., Eronen, P., and H. Tschofenig,
"Transport Layer Security (TLS) Session Resumption without
Server-Side State", RFC 5077, DOI 10.17487/RFC5077,
January 2008, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5077>.
[RFC5246] Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security
(TLS) Protocol Version 1.2", RFC 5246,
DOI 10.17487/RFC5246, August 2008,
Appendix A. Server Capability Probing and Caching by DNS Clients
This section presents a non-normative discussion of how DNS clients
might probe for, and cache capabilities of, privacy-enabling DNS
Deployment of both DNS over TLS and DNS over DTLS will be gradual.
Not all servers will support one or both of these protocols, and the
well-known port might be blocked by some middleboxes. Clients will
be expected to keep track of servers that support DNS over TLS and/or
DNS over DTLS, as well as those that have been previously
If no server capability information is available, then (unless
otherwise specified by the configuration of the DNS client) DNS
clients that implement both TLS and DTLS should try to authenticate
using both protocols before failing or falling back to an
unauthenticated or cleartext connection. DNS clients using an
Opportunistic Privacy profile should try all available servers
(possibly in parallel) in order to obtain an authenticated and
encrypted connection before falling back. (RATIONALE: This approach
can increase latency while discovering server capabilities but
maximizes the chance of sending the query over an authenticated and
Thanks to the authors of both [RFC8094] and [RFC7858] for laying the
groundwork for this document and for reviewing the contents. The
authors would also like to thank John Dickinson, Shumon Huque,
Melinda Shore, Gowri Visweswaran, Ray Bellis, Stephane Bortzmeyer,
Jinmei Tatuya, Paul Hoffman, Christian Huitema, and John Levine for
review and discussion of the ideas presented here.
Sinodun Internet Technologies
Oxford Science Park
Oxford OX4 4GA
Daniel Kahn Gillmor
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States of America
Embassy Golf Link Business Park
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071