bookmark_borderUnderstanding DNSSEC and How It Secures DNS

What is DNSSEC, why is it important?

DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) is a critical security protocol that authenticates and ensures the integrity of DNS responses. It protects users from malicious actors trying to spoof DNS information or launch man-in-the-middle attacks that could lead to data theft or other online risks. DNSSEC prevents DNS attacks by using digital signatures, authentication chains, and other security measures to verify that DNS responses are valid and have not been tampered with. Its importance in protecting against a wide range of online threats is why many organizations have begun deploying DNSSEC as part of their overall security strategies.

How does it perform?

DNSSEC works by using cryptographic signatures and authentication chains to protect DNS responses from attackers. First, it helps verify that the end user receives the original DNS response by ensuring that it has not been tampered with during transmission. This is accomplished by creating digital signatures for DNS data, which are then stored in a chain of trust with the organization’s public key responsible for the DNS records. Then, when a DNS response is sent back to the user, it is checked to ensure it matches the chain of trust. If any part of the chain or the response does not match, the request is discarded, preventing an attacker from hijacking or tampering with the response.

Is DNSSEC advantageous?

DNSSEC is a robust security protocol that offers advantages over traditional methods of protecting DNS information. The most noticeable benefit is its ability to protect against various types of online attacks, such as DNS poisoning, spoofing, and man-in-the-middle attacks. Additionally, it is also more reliable and secure than traditional methods since its authentication mechanisms are more difficult to hack. Here are some other advantages of DNSSEC:

  • Increased reliability: DNSSEC helps ensure that DNS responses are valid and have not been tampered with.
  • Improved integrity: DNSSEC ensures that the integrity of DNS responses is maintained, preventing attackers from hijacking or tampering with them.
  • Enhanced authentication: Digital signatures and authentication chains provide robust authentication mechanisms that make online attacks more difficult.
  • Improved usability: The protocol is designed to be easier to use and more intuitive than other DNS security protocols, making it easier for organizations to deploy and manage.

Understanding the challenges of deploying DNSSEC and Secondary DNS together

Deploying DNSSEC and Secondary DNS together can be a complicated process, especially for organizations new to DNSSEC. This is because the two protocols run on different systems, making them challenging to deploy and manage together. In addition, Secondary DNS relies on the primary server for data, meaning that if the primary is down or overloaded, the Secondary DNS will also be affected.

Furthermore, to provide more details, given the current standard for securely operating DNSSEC across multiple providers, ZSKs must be signed with all private keys and stored on all authoritative name servers to ensure that resolvers can access the RRSIG from any name server. Such private key material, however, cannot be shared between name servers due to the lack of support for private key transfer via AXFR, meaning that key rotations must be done manually. Ultimately, while this is a workable solution, it is not guaranteed to work as resolvers may end up accessing the DNSKEY and RRset + RRSIG from different authoritative name servers.


In conclusion, DNSSEC is a powerful security protocol that provides organizations with critical protection against malicious actors. However, it also introduces several challenges, such as technical complexity and needing more usability features. Therefore, organizations looking to deploy DNSSEC should understand the process’s complexities and plan accordingly to reap the protocol’s benefits.